Hope everyone's staying warm! Last week, I wrote about a film noir/graphic novel/gun-fu mix.
This week, I'm taking a look at an N64 game that most of us didn't get to play until 2007.
Sin and Punishment was developed by Treasure, masters of the shoot-em-up genre (Ikaruga, Radiant Silvergun). Originally, Sin and Punishment was a Japan exclusive for the N64, and it didn't make its way to the U.S. until 2007, when it popped up on the Wii Virtual Console. You play as Saki and Airan, who belong to a group determined to fight against the Armed Volunteers, a faction that fights off Ruffians, who are a new species created in a lab to serve as food.
In typical Japanese fashion, the story starts off bonkers, and just gets crazier from there. Pretty soon, you'll be dealing with double crosses, glimpses into the future, and more double crosses. Any anime fan will feel right at home.
The game starts up the second you hit "begin." It's up to you to figure out the controls, which are initially confusing. Because Sin and Punishment is no ordinary shooter, even by today's standards. It's mostly a rail shooter, except you have to control your character's position even as they run at top speed. While they run automatically, you're responsible for jumping, dodging, and knocking back enemy projectiles. Oh, and you have to move your targeting reticle around and shoot the hundreds of enemies that appear on screen.
It's a tremendous rush when you master it. What's great about Sin and Punishment is that it's easy to look awesome while playing it. After some practice, you're jumping over enemies and sending a flurry of missiles back to the opponent who fired them at you. And racking up a huge combo, increasing your high score, in case you're one of those people who care about high scores. (I am) Even better is doing it without taking a hit.
You can tell from the screenshots, too, that Sin and Punishment clearly benefited from being released late in the N64's life. Despite having that blocky N64 "look", the game looks pretty good for it's time. The blocky, pointy look seems to help in some spots, if you ask me. But not a lot of N64 games have the color palette Sin and Punishment has, save for a few later titles. Of course, by then nobody was paying attention to the N64 anyway.
Not that it mattered to most U.S. gamers. Sin and Punishment came out in Japan in 2000, and by then the N64 was more or less dead in America. Save for importing, there was no way to play the game until 2007, when Nintendo released Sin and Punishment on the Wii Virtual Console for just 12 bucks, which was far cheaper than importing a copy.
And the game's dialogue is bizarrely in English, due to the game almost being localized for a Western release. Subtitles are in Japanese, though. It's weird. The English dialogue is hysterically poor, but charming, in that badly-dubbed anime way.
But you're not playing for the dialogue, you're playing for the adrenaline. Much like another game I wrote up some time ago, called GunValkyrie, Sin and Punishment is a game with complex but rewarding controls, and it's filled to the brim with nonstop action. No wussy stealth here; the game is a pure shooter, with each boss encounter topping the last-and a final one I won't spoil here. You wouldn't believe me if I told you about it, anyway.
Dust off the Wii or Wii U and play Sin and Punishment. There's a sequel for Wii, called Sin and Punishment: Star Successor. It's also very good, but it just doesn't match the heart-pumping highs of the original. Pro tip: find a GameCube controller.
Thanks to, uh, the internet for the images.
Hit the comments for, y'know, comments. Also questions, future Game of The Week suggestions, and lotto number picks.
Next week, I'll check out a simpler, but no less intense, game that Aikage picked last week.