Retro Re-release Roundup, week of May 30, 2019

Thy Flesh Resumed.

Forgive me for betraying Retronauts tradition by jettisoning a terrible decades-old reference but I'd like to make one thing clear: the only thing John Romero's presently making (for) us is a fun megawad, and if you absolutely need to poke fun at a washed-up FPS designer today, I'd recommend starting with the Duke 3D mapper who's currently finding newer and more ridiculous ways to flush his and his company's reputation down the toilet.


Alpine Ski 

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

What's this? A vertically-scrolling racing game set on a ski slope, developed and distributed in arcades by Taito in 1982; race down the slope as fast as you can, collect point pickups to earn more time and go for big jumps in the bonus round.

Why should I care? There were a spate of similar skiing games during the early '80s and, simple as they all are, this one's at least the most forgiving.

Useless fact: Alpine Ski's two music tracks were both lifted from pop culture: one track is based on the Japanese nursery rhyme "Ski no Uta", the other a rendition of the track "Ich bin der glücklichste Mensch auf der Welt" from the musical film Twelve Girls and One Man starring real-life olypian ski champion Toni Sailer, a movie with surprising cache in Japan. 


Crossed Swords

  • Platform: PlayStation 4 (North America)
  • Price: $7.99 / €6.99 / £6.29
  • Publisher: Hamster

What's this? Alpha Denshi's behind-the-shoulder fantasy combat game, released for the Neo Geo in 1990; one or two players can take on a variety of monsters and adversaries with reflex-based thrust-and-parry combat, with defeated enemies earning the player experience points and gold which can be used to strengthen their character or purchase more powerful weapons.

Why should I care? You're curious to see how Punch-Out!! might adapt to an adventure game format, and you're prepared for enemies that hit really friggin' hard a few stages in.

Useless fact: Crossed Swords and its little-played Neo Geo sequel take place in the same universe as another early Alpha Denshi Neo Geo game, Magician Lord.

Ninja Commando

  • Platform: PlayStation 4 (North America)
  • Price: $7.99 / €6.99 / £6.29
  • Publisher: Hamster

What's this? An overhead shooting game starring a trio of time-hopping ninjas, developed by ninja afficionados ADK and published in arcades by SNK in 1992; in addition to traditional vertically-scrolling action, each character has addtional moves like an evasive dash and special attacks that are performed with fighting game-style directional commands.

Why should I care? The action's a little simpler and more immediate than comparable late-era Neo Geo games like Shock Troopers, and there's a cheerful abundance of hammy, barely-translated dialogue to keep you entertained between and even during each stage.

Helpful tip: Ryu's "Triple Wave Break" attack, performed with the ↑ ↙ ↘ ↖ ↗ ↓ + A command, is not only extremely powerful but is also relatively easy to input thanks to a surprisingly lenient input buffer, so abuse this move if you want to have a very easy time of an otherwise tough game.

The Ultimate 11: SNK Football Championship 

  • Platform: PlayStation 4 (North America)
  • Price: $7.99 / €6.99 / £6.29
  • Publisher: Hamster

What's this? The fourth and final(ish) Super Sidekicks game, released in 1996 and now sporting even heavier rotoscoping and faux-3D elements, a new meter-based mechanic that allows you to make extremely powerful kicks when full, a simplified player type system and a whopping 80+1 teams.

Why should I care? You've seen how much the cartridge goes for, or you just want a reminder of how 2D game design could sometimes bend a little too hard to accommodate the latest takes on character animation. (Translation: the sprites are too dang big.)

Helpful tip: If you can score 15 goals and concede none within the first three rounds of the SNK Championship mode you'll get to face the hidden "SNK Superstars", a team of individuals named after characters from SNK's various fighting games. Look out for the bless-em-they-tried Joe & Yuri sprites in the stands whenever you score!


Psikyo Collection Volume 3

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch (Asia)
  • Price: $34.99 or equivalent (standard edition / $84.99 or equivalent (limited edition
  • Publisher: Arc System Works Asia

What's this? The final Asian compilation of Psikyo's Switch eShop shooting game ports, featuring the brick breaker/shooter hybrid Gunbarich, the transparently faulty port of the Dreamcast omnidirectional helicopter shooter Zero Gunner 2, the much-maligned PSP original Sengoku Cannon and the final Strikers series title, Strikers 1945-III (aka Strikers 1999), a game that has yet to be ported individually or previously. (All games/menus offer a full English translation.)

Why should I care? You bought the other two collections and thus must compulsively acquire the third, no matter how inessential. (A two-volume Psikyo compilation series with six titles per collection has been announced for release in Japan, so even if any or all of these games look appealing, I'd suggest waiting a few months and grabbing those collections instead.)

Useless fact: Arc System Works Asia offering a Flip Grip as part of a sweepstakes promotion for this collection and, as far as I'm aware, they are doing so entirely of their own voliton. Ain't that somethin'? 


  • Platform: take your pick (megawad requires Ultimate DOOM .WAD)
  • Price: free! (May 31), €6.66 (deluxe version, available now)
  • Publisher: Romero Games

What's this? A new nine-map megawad for Ultimate DOOM, designed by id software co-founder and original DOOM designer John Romero as a would-be "episode five"; these maps constitue Romero's first major contribution to the DOOM scene since... well, those two maps he made to promote a failed kickstarter a few years ago, but before that he hadn't touched DOOM since wrapping up Ultimate DOOM's exclusive episode over twenty-five years ago. (The deluxe version includes a selection of tunes taken from the catalogue of gonzo shredder Buckethead.) 

Why should I care? Romero's weaknesses are many and well-documented but his aptitude for mapmaking remains undiminished; if you enjoyed maps like E4M2 or E4M6 then this megawad is designed specifically for you, and if you don't know what that means then just know that these maps are designed for veteran players.

Useless fact: As one might expect, the music featured in the deluxe megawad is sequenced renditions of Buckethead's music; if you like what you hear and want to sample the original tunes, they're available on Bandcamp alongside some 250 other Buckethead albums. 

Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap  

  • Platform: iOS / Android (worldwide)
  • Price: $8.99 or equivalent
  • Publisher: Dotemu / Lizardcube / Playdigious

What's this? The critically-acclaimed and highly-ported HD remake of the classic 1989 Master System sidescrolling adventure game Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap, now available for phones with virtual controls and gamepad support alongside all the features of the console versions, including a neat swipe-based implementation of the neat HD/8-bit art toggle

Why should I care? You still haven't found the time to try this remake and you could use a low-cost version that you can carry with you at all times.

Helpful tip: Wonder Boy in Monster Land, the arcade game that serves as the direct and immediate predecessor to The Dragon's Trap, was just released on the Japanese eShop as part of the Sega Ages series; it'll show up overseas at some point but if you'd rather not have to wait for Sega of America to clear their backlog of unpublished Sega Ages titles, have at it. 


Dead of the Brain (PC-98) English translation patch

  • Format: patched PC-98 disk image
  • Price: free!
  • Publisher: Retronomicom Games on Patreon

Retronomicom Games presents a hotly-requested translation patch for the 1992 horror adventure Dead of the Brain, an attempt by the prolific eroge studio Fairytale to broaden their output after intense media scrutiny threatened to destroy their business and jeopardize the social standing of their entire industry. Along with a mad-libbed plot from all your favorite zombie horror movies, Dead of the Brain trades Fairytale's usual uncomfortable porn scenes with all-american gore and replaces the wanton nudity with... wait, that's still there, but they really did rein it in, I swear.