Retro Re-release Roundup, week of June 20, 2019
Crash Team Racing returns to dump more dirt on Mario Kart 64's grave.
As always, old and old-esque games continue to trickle in, but let's not front: you'd rather be playing Bloodstained right now, wouldn't you? If you haven't yet beaten it and aren't presently waiting for the Switch version, I heartily recommend... waiting a few days for a bug fix or two, and then giving the game its due. That IGA fella sure knows his way around a castleroid, huh?
- Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 (worldwide)
- Price: $7.99 / €6.99 / £6.29
- Publisher: Hamster / Taito
What's this? A vertically-oriented cowboys-and-bandits shooting game, developed and distributed in arcades by Taito in 1982; players control a sheriff on his horse as he thwarts bandits from jacking a moving train, either by shooting them off their horses or by jumping onto the train and throwing them off, with a rotary dial used to aim shots in a manner similar to Taito's more popular Front Line. (The Arcade Archives version allows you to map the function of the dial to the right analog stick.)
Why should I care? You remember the coin-op version and want to give it a shot with an immeasurably more comfortable control scheme, or you just want to hear a corny by-ear chiptune rendition of "Riders in the Sky".
Helpful tip: The train will absorb enemy shots but your own shots will ricochet in the opposite horizontal direction, allowing you to shoot hard-to-reach enemies by bouncing bullets off the train at convenient angles.
Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC via Steam (worldwide)
Price: $39.99 / €39.99 / £34.99 (standard) / $39.99 / €39.99 / £34.99 ("Nitrous Oxide" edition)
What's this? Crash Bandicoot's return to the kart racing genre, having been MIA since 2005; using the original Crash Team Racing (1999) as a foundation, developer Beenox has amalgamated and reimagined content from across the entire Crash racing series, including every character, track and battle arena from CTR and Crash Nitro Kart, original and "nitro-fueled" versions of CTR's adventure mode, a toggle for remastered or original music where applicable, online multiplayer and the promise of regular free content updates that'll add brand-new tracks and new and returning characters, including Spyro the Dragon. (The "Nitrous Oxide" edition comes with a few exclusive character skins and early unlocks for several characters that can otherwise be accessed through regular play.)
Why should I care? You need a reminder that kart racers didn't and don't begin and end with Mario Kart and that the Crash racing sub-series didn't begin and end with that one PS game.
Helpful tip: CTR Nitro Fueled is capped at 30FPS no matter the platform, but if you're still not sure which version to get, the PS4 version has some exclusive retro-themed content including low-poly skins for a few characters and an exclusive low-poly version of CTR's Turbo Track.
- Platform: PC via Steam (worldwide)
- Price: $9.99 or equivalent
- Publisher: SNK / Code Mystics
What's this? The final Samurai Shodown game for Neo Geo, originally re-released in 2003 and constantly re-released over the last year or so; this PC port is based on Code Mystics PS4/Vita version and comes with additional features including a training mode, an art gallery and, perhaps most importantly, brand-new netcode based on the rollback code that debuted with KOF97 Global Match.
Why should I care? Now's probably not the ideal time to jump into SamSho VSP, given that there's a brand new SamSho dropping next week that'll undoubtedly have peoples' attention, but this is the first Code Mystics Neo Geo port to launch with genuinely functional netcode, so if and when you're done with the new game, this release should serve as a safe chaser.
Helpful tip: Code Mystics has also patched their new netcode into the PS4 version. Better late than never!
UPDATES & PATCHES
Konami Anniversary Collection patches
As promised, Konami's recent arcade, Castlevania and Contra collections have been patched to include some much-requested features, including button mapping, unaltered/untranslated gallery images and, perhaps most importantly, other-region versions of most of the games on each collection (that is, Japanese-version ROMs for the overseas collections and vice-versa). Rejoice, arcade fans! Despair, Japanese Castlevania fans who still don't have a version of Castlevania II in their native language!
That's right, the best Neo Geo flash cartridge on the market is now even better — the latest firmware update allows you to load Neo Geo CD game images from SD, which is not only convenient but allows for dramatically shorter load times, albeit with the compromise of mono-only audio. There are very few CD-exclusive games and only a small number of CD ports with enough new or additional content to compensate for their drawbacks, but if you want quick access to that exclusive Neo Turf Masters course, here ya go.
SOUNDTRACKS & MISCELLANEA
- Format: hardcover
- Price $45-ish, but it's discounted!
- Availability: now!
This decade-old and rather pricey book of Mega Man Zero series illustrations, designs and behind-the-scenes info is now back in print, so grab it while it's relatively cheap and hope the games themselves see a reprint soon, too.
- Platform: Sega Mega Drive/Genesis & pals
- Price: €232.00 or equivalent
- Availability: shipping begins in August
The inevitable has finally happened: the MegaSD, a Mega Drive flash cartridge with an in-built FGPA core that'll allow you to load and play Sega CD game images on your plain ol' Genny (or Analogue Sg), as well as the now-customary features like support for all types of save data & save states, support for games of any region and the ability to load Master System ROMs (with optional FM music) and 32X ROMs (32X hardware required). The MegaSD is also configured to accommodate audio hacks in the vein of the MSU-1 hacks that are currently popular among SNES enthusiasts, so if you've ever wanted to add CD-quality voice clips to Dick Vitale's "Awesome Baby" College Hoops, your time is now.
NJBP Concert Archives 1 - Koshiro Matsuri CD/BD by Super Sweep
- Format: CD/bluray (2-disc)
- Price: ¥5,460 or equivalent
- Availability: shipping begins in June
Filmed at last year's "Ancient Festival", Japanese VGM label Super Sweep has released a CD/Bluray recording of the New Japanese BGM Philharmonic Orchestra's performance of the works of legendary game composer Yuzo Koshiro, which includes a full orchestral arrangement of the Actraiser soundtrack and medleys from the Etrian Odyssey and Streets of Rage series. Early reservations are now available, with general sales and shipping scheduled to begin in early July.
Like all great portable devices, Bandai's Wonderswan eked out a modest existence entirely without a headphone jack, and with official adapters in short supply, Flash Masta's offering an alternative for a cool $20. Finding a Wonderswan game with tunes that warrant such an expense may be another matter entirely, but you do you.