Wii: Sin and Punishment (Virtual Console)
Published by Nintendo
Developed by Treasure
Sin and Punishment was highly praised when released seven years ago on the Nintendo 64. It seemed destined to become developer Treasure’s next hit classic, but something happened along the path to greatness. For reasons we may never know, the game was never released outside of Japan…. until now. Thanks to the Wii’s Virtual Console gamers around the world are finally able to enjoy an incredible arcade-style shooter, and it doesn’t disappoint.
Set in the not-to-distant future world of 2007, Sin and Punishment follows the story of Earth’s last hope against a mutant invasion. This is, of course, where you come in. Taking the role of a Japanese youth named Saki, it’s up to you to defeat these mutants and save humankind. Known as the Ruffians, the mutant army is comprised mostly of insect-like creatures but their ranks also include many former humans. For the most part, you won’t care too much about the story mostly because it’s difficult to follow and secondly because it takes a backseat to the action which is where the game really shines.
If you’re used to playing on the more powerful systems of today the graphics of Sin and Punishment will appear, well, underwhelming, to say the least. Although it has a nice art style, playing against the rough textures of yesterday can be painful at first. Thankfully, the frame rate never drops which is impressive considering just how much can be going on at once. On the audio side of things the music has a distinct Japanese feel to it. The worst element of this game may be the voice acting which often includes cheesy dialogue, and cheap, emotionless voices. Despite this shortcoming it doesn’t detract from the overall mood or game itself.
The arcade inspired game play of Sin and Punishment is both unique and fun to experience. Saki will run in an on-rails path throughout the levels while occasionally stopping when required to defeat a squad of enemies or a boss. As the dramatic camera angles swirl around the action you are given limited, but sufficient, control over your character. You must strafe, roll, and jump over objects in your way to avoid damage causing collisions, which will result in your eventual death. These are mapped to the D-pad and although strafing and rolling are slightly awkward at first; you should have the hang of it after the tutorial. Jumping is controlled by the R shoulder button. While less used, it is equally important to learn to time your jumps correctly if you want to survive. The most difficult aspect of control, however, is learning to shoot while dodging. Because your aim has no correlation with where you move, control of your character can be especially confusing at times. It also doesn’t help that enemies come in swarms, rarely letting up.
Perhaps it is this constant frantic action that makes Sin and Punishment so appealing. Even after conquering the short campaign you’ll want to keep coming back for more of the intense action sequences. For those who enjoy besting their previous records the game keeps record of your score up until you die, at which point it is submitted to the high score list. Also, after completing the game you can replay it on harder difficulty levels than the standard Easy and Normal if you want more of a challenge.
All said and done, Sin and Punishment is a solid shooter that can be enjoyed by anyone looking for an action experience. Although it is the highest priced game on the Virtual Console, consider $12 a bargain compared to the upwards of $100 that it can cost to import the original. That said, this a near must buy for Wii owners, the only exception being those who just don’t like having fun.