Retro Re-release Roundup, week of December 20, 2018
Barf's back on the menu.
I present to you, the final pre-xmas re-release roundup! If you're still scrambling to pick up a gift for a friend or a loved one, fear not: Sonic 4 is as cheap as it's ever been.
- Platform: Nintendo Switch (worldwide)
- Price: $7.99 / €6.99 / £6.29
- Publisher: Hamster / Nintendo
What's this? The generation-hopping sequel to Nintendo's arcade juggernaut, released in 1982;
players control the unholy spawn of Donkey the first on a quest to save pops from the evil Mario,
with a new climbing action available in both the one- and two-handed variety.
Why should I care? The Arcade Archives release of DK Jr. is yet another arcade-emulation first for
Nintendo, and the game itself adds a fun splash of complexity to the fixed-screen platforming
with the new climbing mechanic.
Useless fact: While the name "Mario" was first adopted for the external marketing of the original
Donkey Kong, it wasn't christened in-game until the sequel.
ARCADE ARCHIVES NEOGEO
- Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One (worldwide)
- Price: $7.99 / €6.99 / £6.29
- Publisher: Hamster / Taito
What's this? The first entry in Taito's long-running and long-imitated series of fixed-screen
action-puzzle games, originally released in arcades in 1994; players are tasked with erasing the
endless morass of bubbles that descend from the top of the screen by shooting same-colored
bubbles from the bottom, with quick movements and steady aim being the key to success.
Why should I care? You like the cutesy Bobble Bubble characters, or you're just curious to try
that one game that "inspired" every second browser/mobile game for the last fifteen years.
Useless fact: The original arcade version of Puzzle Bobble ran on dedicated Taito arcade
hardware, with the Neogeo version being produced specifically for the overseas audience, but
even in Japan the MVS version is significantly more common than the arcade board.
- Platform: PC via Steam (worldwide)
- Price: ¥1,480 or equivalent
- Publisher: Mindware
What's this? Yet another Japanese microcomputer remake from the maniacs at Mindware, this one
taken from the very first issue of Micom BASIC Magazine released back in 1981; in addition to the
original PC-8001 game, this procedurally-generated dot-eater also includes a new version arranged to a slightly enhanced hardware spec and a brand new remake with contributions by, among other people, renowned golden-age Namco composer Junko Ozawa.
Why should I care? While I can't speak to this particular game, I can say that Mindware's track record for unearthing interesting and important Japanese microcomputer games is solid and the additional modes produced for these ports usually elevate the game to being something non-fanatics can endure.
Useless fact: While Mindware's bread-and-butter consists of scrappy remakes of BASIC games, they
also occasionally moonlight on higher-profile projects — the virtual pinball table present in the
new Yakuza spinoff Judge Eyes is a Mindware joint, for example.
- Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One (Japan)
- Price: ¥5,800 (physical), ¥5,390 (digital)
- Publisher: Arc System Works
What's this? A bumper collection that contains almost every Famicom & NES game in the Kunio-kun
library, with the NES Double Dragon trilogy thrown in for good measure; in addition to online
multiplayer for every title, this collection also features unlockable profile pictures/quotes and
an optional enhanced version of each game that disables sprite flicker, fixes bugs and adds other
game-specific tweaks. (The announced Steam version seems to have been delayed...)
Which games are included? Strap yourselves in: the NES portion of the game includes Renegade,
Super Dodge Ball, River City Ransom, Crash 'n The Boys Street Challenge and the three Double
Dragon games, while the Japanese portion includes Nekketsu Kouha Kunio-kun, Nekketsu Koukou
Dodgeball Bu, Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari, Nekketsu Koukou Dodgeball Bu: Soccer Hen, Downtown
Nekketsu Koushinkyoku: Soreyuke Daiundoukai, Downtown Special: Kunio-kun no Jidaigeki da yo
Zen'in Shuugou!, Ike Ike! Nekketsu Hockey Bu: Subette Koronde Dairantou, Bikkuri Nekketsu
Shinkiroku: Harukanaru Kin Medal, Nekketsu Kakutou Densetsu, Kunio-kun no Nekketsu Soccer League
and Nekketsu! Street Basket: Ganbare Dunk Heroes. (Physical pre-orders and digital purchases
before January 7 also include an edited version of the first dodgeball game starring the team of
Kunio's rival, Riki.)
Why should I care? This package promises a very convenient way to experience a varied, and in
some cases quite rare, selection of consistently entertaining action games across a variety of
Useless fact: There are, by my blurry-eyed 3AM count, three Kunio-adjacent games missing from
this collection. Care to guess what they might be?
- Platform: PlayStation 4 (worldwide)
- Price: $14.99 / €14.99 / £13.49
- Publisher: Tozai Games
What's this? A double-pack containing ports of the first two entries in Irem's classic horizontal
shooting game series, originally released in the late '80s and remade for this particular
collection way back in 2009; in addition to Dimensions' signature gimmick — the ability to toggle
between the original graphics and HD visuals in real time — this particular iteration includes
local two-player co-op and several optional tweaks to make the games easier to clear, including
infinite lives, instant respawns, a rewind function and a stage select. (Yes, this is the same
one that hit Switch and PC a couple weeks back.)
Why should I care? These ports mightn't be the least bit arcade-authentic but they nonetheless
provide a perfectly fine and extremely beginner-friendly avenue to experience a pair of classic
and widely imitated arcade games... just don't be surprised if the HD visuals come off as even
more dated than the '80s dot art.
Useless fact: Despite being ported to over a dozen platforms and reissued in various formats on
Virtual Console, the original arcade version of R-Type has only ever been re-released in emulated
form as a smartphone app.
DISCOUNTS & DEALS
- Platform: PC via Steam & Humble Store (worldwide)
- Price: play-what-you-want, everything for $15
- Publisher: Say-gah
You've all bought Sonic Mania by now, right? No? Well then, now's your chance to pick it up and
get a dozen other Sonic games for your trouble, almost half of which are quite good!