Virtually Overlooked: Spiritual Warfare

Welcome to our weekly feature, Virtually Overlooked, wherein we talk about games that aren't on the Virtual Console yet, but should be. Call it a retro-speculative.

Saying that Spiritual Warfare is the best game Wisdom Tree ever made doesn't really encourage anyone to give it a look. Wisdom Tree doesn't exactly have a reputation for excellence, and most unlicensed NES games in general were spectacularly bad. So, to put a finer point on our meaning, here's a controversial statement: Spiritual Warfare is mostly not terrible.

Why the game hasn't been announced for Virtual Console yet:

This is one of the rare games that we are absolutely certain will never, ever, ever appear on the Virtual Console. Nintendo did not appreciate companies who published games on their consoles without approval (approval, of course, coming at a price). Even after fifteen years, we doubt Nintendo is willing to forgive and forget. We'd like to encourage them to bury the hatchet and make up with their unlicensed publishers. Or, for that matter, Nintendo, just put them on the Virtual Console without approval! It would be poetic justice.

Why we think it should be on the Virtual Console:

Wisdom Tree, if you haven't previously come across their work, is a developer and publisher of Bible-themed video games, who formerly made bad NES games as Color Dreams. They made a lot of games for the NES, and also ported them to the Genesis, Game Boy, and PC. Some of their best-known titles include Bible Adventures, also known as The One Where You Throw Baby Moses Into The River, and Super 3D Noah's Ark, a SNES game that used the Wolfenstein 3D engine to depict the classic Bible parable about Noah pelting animals with fruit. Most are exactly as good as you would imagine. We would recommend picking up any Wisdom Tree game for ironic appreciation. Despite the handicap of being a Wisdom Tree game, Spiritual Warfare somehow manages to be pretty fun, and competent in ways most unlicensed games aren't.

Spiritual Warfare is a Zelda clone in a modern-looking setting (with some kind of infinite black void in the place of pavement), where you throw fruit at knife-wielding thugs. If you've spent any time on the mean streets, you know that being hit in the head with a pear often causes people to start praying immediately, and in many cases, the fruit physically expels demons from their bodies. Also, you know that there are explosive vases everywhere. Okay, so it sounds ridiculous, but Spiritual Warfare is at the very least a completely playable game in the style of Crystalis, with better control than most. It doesn't randomly crash, and the graphics don't constantly flicker and glitch out. The novelty factor puts it right over the top.

You may be interested in hearing that not only does Wisdom Tree still seem to be in business, you can still buy the PC versions of many Wisdom Tree games from the convenience of your very own home! Unless they just haven't updated their website in ten years or something.

Other than Spiritual Warfare, we don't think you should bother. For that matter, we aren't sure if $10 is the right price for Spiritual Warfare. It's best to pray for a Virtual Console miracle.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.