Retro Re-release Roundup, week of November 15, 2018

"Gotta Catch Roughly 19% Of 'Em All!"TM

There are a lot of games out this week, as it turns out, including a massively anticipated and hugely-hyped Pokemon remake that I... completely forgot about. What can I say? My house is a Robopon house.


Atomic Robo Kid

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch (worldwide)
  • Price: $7.99 / €6.99 / £6.29
  • Publisher: Hamster

What's this? One of the more well-known shooting games developed by the always-weird UPL, released in arcades in 1988 and ported to several computers and home systems since, including a remixed "special" version for PC Engine; players control an oddly cute robot through maze-like manually scrolling stages on an irradiated planet in order to defend the last stragglers of humanity against an invasion of alien mutants.

Why should I care? Mr. Heli-esque push-scroll shooters are few and far between, and this one has a lot of additional quirks like robo-rival duels that make for a memorable experience.

Useless fact: The planned ZX Spectrum conversion of Atomic Robo Kid was never released, but a demo was released on a Your Sinclair demo tape and has been archived online, should you be curious to see how it may have turned out.


Stakes Winner 2

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, Xbox One (worldwide)
  • Price: $7.99 / €6.99 / £6.29
  • Publisher: Hamster

What's this? The second of Saurus' horse-racing games, released on Neo Geo in 1996; the sequel builds on the simple foundation of the original via a shop system, training events for both your horse and jockey, rival challenges and a lot more races per circuit.

Why should I care? You want something that leans just a tiny bit closer to a simulation game than the previous Stakes Winner.

Useless fact: By complete coincidence, one of the arists who worked on Stakes Winner 2 was recently able to comment on his work, particularly the dot-art image of the girl on the shop screen, as seen above. His appraisal? Not high, apparently. Oh well.


Heavy Barrel

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch (North America)
  • Price: $7.99
  • Publisher: Flying Tiger Entertainment / G-Mode

What's this? An overhead run-and-gun action game by Data East, released in arcades in 1987; while it has a few unique touches like the inclusion of an assemblable super-weapon, the titular Heavy Barrel, it's first and foremost a direct imitation of SNK's Ikari Warriors, upto and including the use of a rotary "loop lever" joystick for eight-way aiming. (I have no idea how Johnny Turbo saw fit to map the controls, but I can confirm a vertical display option.)

Why should I care? You've developed a taste for loop lever games and you recognise there are only so many of them out there. (Good luck beating the red helicopter, that's all I'm sayin'.)

Useless fact: Data East games were known for their over-the-top Americanisms but Heavy Barrel is one of their only games to feature an equally bombastic set of Japanese voices, so set the ROM version to Japanese for some good ol' kansai-ben.


November NSO update: Gradius SP, Metroid, Mighty Bomb Jack, Twinbee

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch (worldwide)
  • Price: available as part of Nintendo Switch Online
  • Publisher: Nintendo, Koei-Tecmo, Konami

What're these? Nintendo's beloved sidescrolling exploration game, Tecmo's peculiar jump-action game and a Japan-only port of Konami's arcade cute-em-up, with a Gradius savestate thrown in for good measure. (If you happen to also have a Japanese account, you can also grab a "SP" savestate for Mario Open Golf.)

Why should I care? You're getting at least one game you haven't already bought and played to death, which is always nice.

Helpful tip: Gradius' savestate starts you at the beginning of the fifth stage with a full set of powerups — with Laser, that is. Double fans, you're on your own.



  • Platform: PC via Steam (worldwide)
  • Price: $17.99 or equivalent
  • Publisher: NISA

What's this? A brand-new port of Grasshopper Manufacture's on-rails, anime-noir adventure game, originally developed for Gamecube and Playstation 2 under the stewardship of Capcom's Shinji Mikami and published in 2005; this version adds support for higher resolutions, higher framerate and widescreen displays.

Why should I care? killer7 is the game that broke Suda51 in the west and one with a very different tone to his later works, and it's a game long presumed to never leave Capcom's vault, so it's a welcome arrival under any circumstances (and, from early accounts, it's a solid port to boot).

Helpful tip: The remastered soundtrack offered as DLC includes quite a few tracks that were inexplicably cut from previous OST releases.

Pokemon Let's Go! Pikachu & Pokemon Let's Go! Eevee

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch (worldwide)
  • Price: $59.99 / €59.99 / £54.99
  • Publisher: Nintendo

What're these? Fully 3D reimaginings of the first-generation Pokemon games — specifically, Pokemon Yellow — that have been redesigned in synergy with Pokemon Go; these games do away with random encounters and feature a new motion-controlled system for capturing wild Pokemon that works in conjunction with the new and optional Poke Ball Plus peripheral, as well as the ability to sync your Pokemon Go account in order to collect bonus items or transfer Kanto Pokemon (and only Kanto Pokemon, save for the brand-new Meltan) to or from each game.

Why should I care? You want a Pokemon game that'll bridge generation gaps and you can live without access to 80% of the current menagerie, or you really just want to put silly glasses on an Eevee.

Helpful tip: Pikachu, even Sanitized, Unrealistic Body Image Pikachu, is cooler than Eevee and even Jolteon.

SNK 40th Anniversary Collection

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch (North America/Europe)
  • Price: $39.99 / €39.99 / £35.99 (standard), $64.99 (limited)
  • Publisher: NISA

What's this? Digital Eclipse's commemorative collection of pre-Neo Geo SNK games spanning arcade and NES, equipped with save states, a rewind feature, an extremely accomodating replay viewer, several screen settings and inventive control options for the less conventional arcade titles, and augmented with a voluminous museum filled with developer documents, advertisements and promotional material and a timeline that touches on every SNK game from 1978 to 1990.

Which games are included? 21 games are included at launch — Alpha Mission (arcade & NES), Athena (arcade & NES), Crystalis (NES), Ikari Warriors (arcade & NES), Ikari III (arcade & NES), Guevara (arcade & NES), POW (arcade & NES), Prehistoric Isle (arcade), Psycho Soldier (arcade), Street Smart (arcade), TNKIII (arcade & NES), Vanguard (arcade) and Victory Road (arcade & NES) — with a further 10 arcade titles — Munch Mobile, Fantasy, Sasuke vs. Commander, Chopper, Time Soldiers, Bermuda Triangle, Paddle Mania, ZMA Wars, Beast Busters, SAR Search and Rescue and World Wars — coming later as free DLC.

Why should I care? Jeremy's already explained why, but I'll tag in and say some of the collection's best titles are in the DLC, so even if you think you aren't interested right now, keep an eye on the upcoming updates.

Helpful tip: You can skip the NES version of Ikari Warriors if you want, it's okay.

Spyro Reignited Trilogy

  • Platform: Playstation 4, Xbox One (worldwide)
  • Price: $39.99 / €39.99 / £34.99
  • Publisher: Activision

What're these? Unreal Engine 4-powered remasters of Insomniac's original Playstation trilogy of 3D action-exploration games, now featuring revised camera controls, re-recorded voice acting, an optional rearranged dynamic soundtrack and a very obvious visual overhaul, both in terms of fidelity and character design.

Why should I care? You're looking for a nostalgia hit that won't taint your memories or brutalize your children the way Crash N-Sane Trilogy may have... just be prepared for a hefty download, as most of the data isn't present on the disc.

Helpful tip: Activision USA is also releasing a Crash/Spyro double-pack with both remastered trilogys for $60, should you need to grab both.


The Winter Power-Up Game Bundle

  • Format: digital (worldwide)
  • Price: play-what-you-want, bonus tier starts at $15
  • Publisher: Storybundle

StoryBundle's back with yet another collection of videogame writing, this time curated by David L. Craddock and featuring books from the likes of Unseen64, Boss Fight Books and... Jeremy Parish?!