The Virtual Console has now gone live on PAL Wii systems, but all isn't as rosy as it might have been. We tested SEGA's Mega Drive classic Sonic The Hedgehog, and we weren't pleased with what we saw. Every PAL gamer's worst fear has been realised: Virtual Console games on the Wii are like they were when we originally played them. In Sonic's case, this means that it runs noticeably slower than the NTSC version and features sizeable borders at the top and bottom of the screen.
This is certainly a kick in the teeth for PAL gamers, who have only recently crawled out from under the heavy 50Hz rock that has plagued games for years. Now PAL gamers are used to proper PAL conversions and 60Hz gameplay options, and being forced to return to the 50Hz dark ages isn't something Wii owners expected.
All our efforts to force the game to run in 60Hz and borderless proved futile, with the game forcing the slow speed and borders despite the 60Hz option being set in the Wii's video settings menu.
Update: After further testing it seems that not all PAL Virtual Console games will suffer the borders and slower speed. According to UK video game website CVG, both Super Mario 64 and Donkey Kong Country run at full speed and without borders. So, unless Nintendo add some information to the download pages, it seems the quality of each game won't be known until you've spent your Wii Points.