Retronauts Re-release Roundup, week of May 23, 2019

Not enough cash, stranger.

Three classic Resident Evil games, on the go! What could be better? ᵖʳⁱᶜᵉᵖᵃʳⁱᵗʸʷⁱᵗʰᵉˣⁱˢᵗⁱⁿᵍᵖᵒʳᵗˢⁿᵉʷᶠᵉᵃᵗᵘʳᵉˢᵖʳᵒᵖᵉʳᵖʰʸˢⁱᶜᵃˡʳᵉˡᵉᵃˢᵉˢᴰⁱⁿᵒᶜʳⁱˢⁱˢ²ᴴᴰ


Image Fight 

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

What's this? A vertically-scrolling sci-fi shooter set primarily inside a holodeck-style simulator, released in arcades 1988 as a followup to their smash hit R-Type; the orientation's changed but Irem's typical terrain-dense, memorization-heavy sensibilities remain.

Why should I care? You're looking for a vertical take on the brutal rigidity of R-Type and you're happy to admit defeat after the first loop. (Alternatively, you want to try the game that inspired, however obliquely, Treasure's Radiant Silvergun.)

Helpful tip: Image Fight's nasty mid-game surprise catches a lot of people unawares, so I'll spoil it upfront: if you clear the fifth stage with an average grade of less than 90% you'll be sent to an extra-hard "penalty area" that's tougher than anything else in the game — in other words, getting to the end of each stage isn't enough to smoothly proceed, you also need to destroy pretty much every enemy on the way.


Stakes Winner 2

  • Platform: PlayStation 4 (North America)
  • 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.


Resident Evil Origins Collection

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch (worldwide)
  • Price: $59.99 / €59.99 / £59.99 (bundle), $29.99/ €29.99 / £29.99 individually
  • Publisher: Capcom

What's this? A double-pack containing the 2016 remasters of the superlative 2002 Resident Evil remake  and the somewhat less beloved prequel,Resident Evil 0 — nothing more, nothing less. (You can also elect to buy them individually from the eShop; the retail collection is not available in Europe.)

Why should I care? You somehow avoided picking up any of the last five versions of this set of remasters and you're not yet put off by the customary pointless price hike tacked onto every other Switch port.

What's on the cart? Resident Evil 0, that's what! REmake requires a separate download.

Resident Evil 4

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch (worldwide)
  • Price: $29.99/ €29.99 / £29.99
  • Publisher: Capcpom

What's this? The seminal action-horror refresh that spawned a hundred imitators and inadvertently ruined the franchise for a decade, originally released on Gamecube in early 2005 and ported over Shinji Mikami's decapitated body to many other platforms since; this version is based on the PS4/XB1 versions released in 2016 which feature 1080p resolution support, upgraded textures and a framerate bump to 60FPS... but again, nothing new for Switch.

Why should I care? You somehow avoided picking up any of the... okay, you get the idea.

Helpful tip: I recently learned there are people out there who've played RE4 without ever saving the dog at the beginning of the game. SAVE. THE. DOG.

Wonder Boy Returns Remix

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch (worldwide)
  • Price: $14.99 / €14.99 / £14.99
  • Publisher: CFK Games

What's this? The 2016 high-definition remake of the original 1986 Wonder Boy arcade game, now available on Switch in "remixed" form, adding a new charge shot, slight visual tweaks, a different set of playable characters with different parameters and individual level and movement adjustments that seek to bring this version more closely in line with the arcade original.

Why should I care? I've not yet touched this version but, unlike the previous release, series creator Ryuichi Nishizawa was genuinely involved with supervising the adjustments, so I'm willing to take it on faith that he fixed whatever could realistically be fixed.

Useless fact: The arcade game referred to the player-character as simply "Boy" and to his girlfriend as "Tina", as did the original version of the remake, but Remix changes their names to "Tom-Tom" and "Tanya", the names invented by Sega for the Master System version, because this is a Wonder Boy game and nothing's allowed to be simple.


Gunlord X

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch (North America, Europe)
  • Price: $9.99 / €9.99 / 8.99
  • Publisher: NG:Dev

Between the uncut version of Super Turrican being included on the Analogue Super Nt and the resurrection of DICE's unreleased Mega Drive game Hard Core, there's been a surprising amount of activity around Europe's particular strain of run-and-gun action lately, and now there's one more game to add to the mix: Gunlord X, an overhauled port of the shameless Turrican clone that graced the Neo Geo and Dreamcast back in 2012. Along with conversion to 16:9, scanline options and modern particle effects, this version also features heavily revised level design, additional bosses, the option for twin-stick controls, permanent save points and more.


Skies of Arcadia Eternal Soundtrack by Wayô Records 

  • Format: CD (3-disc), vinyl (3LP), music box (box that plays music)
  • Price: 30,00 € (CD) / 60,00 € (vinyl) / 210,00 € (music box)
  • Availability: ships this summer

The Dreamcast remaster everybody expected a decade ago has yet to eventuate but y'all can settle for a soundtrack, right? French label Wayô Records is offering a trio of musical items for Skies of Arcadia fans, including a 3-disc CD soundtrack, a 3LP vinyl set and, as is customary for a Wayô Records project, an ornate and pricey music box. The soundtrack includes all the tunes from the original soundtrack release as well as an original piano suite produced specifically for this release, as well as new artwork and liner notes from the original developers; shipment begins this summer.


Xbox Backwards Compatibility Sale

  • Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox 360 (North America)
  • Price: cheap!
  • Duration: ends May 27

Microsoft's commitment to backwards compatibility is now both laudable and affordable, with over 250 backwards-compatible OG Xbox and X360 games currently on heavy discount. (A few games I'd recommend that aren't available outside of the Xbox ecosystem: the Radiant Silvergun and Guardian Heroes XBLA remasters, the OG Xbox's Panzer Dragoon Orta and the Dreamcast-cum-XBLA shooter Triggerheart Exelica, a game by a now-dead publisher that's doomed to be stuck in Xbox limbo forever.)