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Wii U Virtual Console nabs NES Double Dragon, Ninja Gaiden trilogies

The Wii U gets a triple-dose of 8-bit action this week with the Virtual Console debuts of NES classics Ninja Gaiden 2, Ninja Gaiden 3 and Double Dragon 3.

This week’s Virtual Console lineup joins an expansive slate of new eShop releases, including Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright, Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest, and Project X Zone 2.

Related: The 50 best NES games of all time

Originally released for the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System in 1990, Ninja Gaiden 2: The Dark Sword of Chaos is a tough-as-nails action game in which players control an acrobatic ninja character outfitted with an arsenal of powerful weaponry. Ninja Gaiden 2‘s side-scrolling gameplay requires players to maintain a consistent momentum throughout, or else they’ll find themselves quickly overwhelmed by enemy swarms.

Ninja Gaiden 3: The Ancient Ship of Doom, released in 1991, is what many players consider to be the most difficult entry in the original Ninja Gaiden trilogy. Adding to the challenge, the game’s North American localization ramped up its difficulty significantly compared to its initial Japanese release, giving players a limited number of continues and reducing the game’s allotment of mid-level checkpoints.

Difficulty appears to be a focus for this week’s eShop Virtual Console lineup, as the classic co-op brawler Double Dragon 3 is also widely regarded as one of the hardest Nintendo Entertainment System games ever released. Double Dragon 3 gives players no continues whatsoever for its entire quest, leaving little room for error.

Arriving on the Nintendo 3DS eShop, meanwhile, is the latest entry in Nintendo’s long-running Fire Emblem series of strategy-RPGs. Fire Emblem Fates hits retail and the eShop this week in both Conquest and Birthright editions, each offering a unique single-player campaign. A concluding chapter, Fire Emblem Fates: Revelation, will soon be available for purchase from the eShop for players who have finished both Conquest and Birthright.

Other eShop releases for this week include Bandai Namco’s crossover tactical RPG Project X Zone 2, music creation toolkit Musicverse: Electronic Keyboard, and minigame compilation Tap Tap Arcade.