Retro Re-release Roundup, week of January 17, 2019
Sengoku Biohazard is back!
It took far longer than anybody anticipated but after Resident Evil port after Resident Evil port, the world has finally been graced with the quickie Onimusha up-res we all expected five years ago. What can Capcom dredge up next? Dino Crisis? Haunting Ground? Gregory Horror Show? Viewtif—okay, that's too far.
ARCADE ARCHIVES NEOGEO
- Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One (worldwide)
- Price: $7.99 / €6.99 / £6.29
- Publisher: Hamster
What's this? The final game in ADK's unofficial "ninja trilogy", released in arcades in 1996; this Zipangu-themed fighting game sets itself apart from superficially similar games like Samurai Shodown and The Last Blade by allowing players to holster their weapon at will, providing substantially different fighting styles depending on whether the character is armed or bare-handed. (Don't ask me to explain the possessive apostrophe in the title.)
Why should I care? Ninja Master's simple and overly permissive dial-a-combo system is easy to grasp and easier to abuse, and the game's overly serious and dramatic tone is an interesting change from ADK's usual tomfoolery.
Helpful tip: The two boss characters, fictionalized versions of actual real-life dracula Oda Nobunaga and his faithful underling Mori Ranmaru, need to be unlocked using hidden commands on the character select screen: for P1, highlight Kamui, press ←↓←↑←↓←↑→↓→↑ and then press C+D to make them appear; for P2, highlight Sasuke, press →↓→↑→↓→↑←↓←↑ and then press C+D to make them appear.
NINTENDO SWITCH ONLINE - NINTENDO ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEM
January '19 NSO update: Blaster Master, Ghosts 'n Goblins SP, Ninja Gaiden SP, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, Joy Mech Fight
- Platform: Nintendo Switch (worldwide)
- Price: available as part of Nintendo Switch Online
- Publisher: Nintendo, Koei-Tecmo, Sunsoft
What're these? Your monthly dose of NES comfort food, including a pair of punishing multi-perspective action-adventure game and a couple of save states that'll let you start at the very end of a pair of very hard platformers, thus robbing one of any sense of accomplishment they might otherwise have gained from, y'know, playing the games. (The Famicom app was also graced with Joy Mech Fight, a peculiar 1993 fighting game plucked straight out of a student developer seminar and published by Nintendo as their final original Famicom cartridge title.)
Why should I care? You've been waiting for a push to download the NSO Famicom app and now you have one. (In case you need a little more encouragement, Joy Mech Fight is an ambitious attempt to approximate a Street Fighter II-esque experience using disembodied multi-sprite characters — think Ballz 3D with character customization and fewer balls, both literal and figurative.)
Useless fact: The copyright status of Joy Mech Fight was in limbo for some fifteen years after its release, a fact that went completely unnoticed by co-creator and copyright holder Koichiro Eto — upon reading online about the supposed copyright issues keeping Joy Mech Fight from being released on the Wii Virtual Console or represented in Super Smash Bros., Eto was surprised to find out that the copyright documents he thought he'd submitted in the early '90s sat unsigned in his desk drawer.
- Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC via Steam (worldwide)
- Price: $19.99 / €19.99 / £15.29
- Publisher: Capcom
What's this? A high-definition remaster of Capcom's fantastical samurai-era "survival action" game, originally released for PlayStation 2 in 2001; much like the HD REmake port of years past, this remaster includes upscaled assets and allows for a panning widescreen display format, optional analog controls and other tweaks like button-based weapon switching, as well as an updated Japanese dub and a new soundtrack that replaces the original music composed by the now-disgraced Mamoru Samuragochi. (Curiously, the additions and changes made for the enhanced Xbox version Genma Onimusha seem to have been ommited from this remaster.)
Why should I care? You want an authentic, Capcom-recipe fixed-camera survival game that you can blow through before REmake drops next week, and you're not bothered by the fact that the visual touch-ups are incredibly slight.
Useless fact: Onimusha's production was aided by designers from Toei and writers from the tokusatsu industry and the Japanese version of the game includes a small wink in their direction — the optional extra-challenging Dark Realm area is called "Makuu Kuukan" in Japanese, a nod to the evil dimension that entered the tokusatsu universe via the flagship Metal Hero series Space Sheriff Gavan.
PRE-ORDER PROMOTIONS, PT. DEUX
Ace Combat 5 on PS4: the saga continues
When I wrote last week's warning about the Ace Combat 7 legacy title promotion, my presumption was that they'd become available as standalone titles and that my warning was unnecessary but as it turns out, I was only half right: the X360 version of Ace Combat 6 is now backwards-compatible on Xbox One via conventional means but Bandai-Namco has stressed that Ace Combat 5 will only be available as an exclusive early-buyer bonus for Ace Combat 7 on PS4. What's more, the PS4 version of Ace Combat 5 appears to go beyond the standard PS2-on-PS4 emulator suite by including uncompressed textures and other assets, greatly increasing the image quality beyond what can be achieved via Sony's usual process. It seems strange that they'd put so much work into something they won't or can't sell directly but Bandai-Namco's done the same thing with other digital pre-order bonuses, so it wouldn't be out of character. If you'd rather not risk missing out on what may end up being the definitive version of Ace Combat 5 but you haven't pre-ordered Ace Combat 7 on PS4, never fear — the "pre-order" bonus will be applied to all digital copies purchased before February 18.