the N64 game sin and punishment was fairly well known among nintendo devotees as a highlight of the system, even though it was only released in japan. the game received more attention when it was released on wii’s virtual console in october 2007 in north america, and a few months later when one of its main characters, saki, appeared as an assist trophy in super smash bros. brawl. both were probably in preparation for the release of a sequel to the game, sin and punishment: star successor, two years later (in june 2010 in north america).
phew. with that out of the way, although i had downloaded the original game ages ago i only recently got around to playing through it. although the original voice overs were in english, the new translation of the tutorial for the virtual console rerelease removes any possible remaining roadblocks. the game’s controls do take some getting used to, but the game includes several different control options, and they work quite well on the gamecube and classic controllers (and no doubt on the original N64 controller also).
my experience with run ‘n gun-type shooters has been limited to 2-D games, mostly focused on the contra series, but the game is immediately enjoyable. i started off on the normal mode, but realized it would be easier to learn the ins and outs of the game on easy mode first. finishing easy mode isn’t completely trivial, and the thrills come at a pretty constant rate thanks in large part to the extensive amount of boss battles. the highlight of the game is without a doubt level 2-1, in which you zoom around an aircraft carrier on a hovercraft, but there’s a lot to enjoy even outside of the boss battles.
there’s some cheapness and the second half of the game (including the side-scrolling stage near the end) is definitely not as brilliant as the first, and the story is completely nonsensical and impossible to follow. still, all in all this is an excellent game and ends up earning a place fairly high on my list of best N64 games. don’t be put off by people claiming that the game is too short. although there are only 7 stages including the prologue, beating the normal mode will definitely take more practice. i didn’t manage to beat all of the normal mode, but i left it for another day because i’m more eager to play through the sequel; the wii is absolutely ideal for this gameplay. by all accounts it sounds like the sequel improves on the original in every way, so given the amount i enjoyed this game i’m definitely looking forward to it.
punishing sin and punishment links:
– great FAQ at gamefaqs, including a translation of the background story so you have at least a clue about what’s going on
– entry at wikipedia
– entry on the series at hg1010
– wikipedia entry on the co-developer, treasure