Retro Re-release Roundup, week of July 18, 2019

The Ninja Warriors come out to play.

It's been available for quite some time on PS4 but today sees the long-awaited release of Taito's mega-wide arcade classic The Ninja Warriors on Switch, a game perfectly suited to the modern wide-screen TV format and less-suited to being played on a 6" handheld screen; to those with the oculat fortitude to take out Banglor in tabletop mode, I salute you.



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

What's this? One of Sunsoft's earliest arcade games, published overseas by Centuri in 1981; players have to dodge rival cars as they race to grab money from inside a handful of fixed-screen mazes — 16 of 'em, as it happens — with the entrances and exits of each maze leading to a hub map viewed in ultra-zoomed-out "radar mode".

Why should I care? You're curious to see how Sunsoft managed to approximate Namco's Rally-X using extremely basic arcade hardware.

Useless fact: Sunsoft's first-generation arcade hardware was barely more advanced than the hardware that powered Taito's Space Invaders and didn't even support features as basic as sprites, so for as rough as Route-16 looks now and even back then, it's a reasonably accomplished work of craftsmanship.

The Ninja Warriors

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

What's this? Taito's triple-monitor, single-plane cyborg ninja brawler, originally released in arcades in 1987 and converted for several home platforms since with limited degrees of accuracy; players control one or two totally-not-terminators on a mission to defeat a hostile militia and assassinate an oppressive dictator by any means necessary.

Why should I care? You've never experienced the game in all its ultra-wide glory, you're curious about the origin of many of Zuntata's most beloved tunes or you're just looking for something to tide you over while you wait for the remastered sequel. 

Helpful tip: Get out of the habit of blocking unnecessarily — if the game decides you've been blocking for too long it'll spawn extra enemies to put you in your place.


3 Count Bout

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

What's this? The Neo Geo's one true wrestling game, released in 1993 by SNK as part of the first wave "100 Mega Shock" games; ten relatively copyright-friendly wrestlers square off in and outside the ring in a fast-moving wrestlefest not entirely unlike rival Capcom's Saturday Night Slam Masters.

Why should I care? You're looking for a wrestling game with a quick pace and a touch of fighting game flair and you're willing to endure a lot, and I mean a lot, of button-mashing.

Useless fact: After decades of obscurity, posterboy Red Dragon made his return to the SNK universe with an ever-so-brief cameo in Sylvie Paula Paula's SNK Heroines story mode ending.

Savage Reign

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

What's this? One of the lesser-known titles from SNK's fighting game stable, released in arcades in 1995; set in the near-future of the Fatal Fury/Art of Fighting universe, Savage Reign features an all-original cast of weapon-wielding weirdoes and a hodgepodge of amped-up systems cribbed from other SNK games, including environmental hazards, exploding costumes and a more over-the-top implementation of the plane-switching system.

Why should I care? You're invested in the chronicles of that random goober with the boomerang who showed up in KOFXI.

Useless fact: Master Roshi ripoff Chung wears a baseball cap that was gifted to him as a child by the Legendary Wolf himself, so one can understand why he gets so mad when it's knocked off his head.


July '19 NSO update: Donkey Kong 3, Wrecking Crew plus Mighty Bomb Jack SP and rewind

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch (worldwide)
  • Price: available as part of Nintendo Switch Online
  • Publisher: Nintendo, Koei-Tecmo

What're these? The classic Donkey Kong game you probably haven't played and the black-box action-puzzler you've probably bounced off a hundred times, plus a savestate for Mighty Bomb Jack that places you at the final level with all the required items. (Also featured in this month's update: a NES-wide rewind function that lets you manually revert to a previous game state by holding ZL+ZR.)

Why should I care? Nintendo's fast running out of NES games to trickle out every month, so that's somethin'.

Helpful tip: The home version of Wrecking Crew is perhaps the most substantially different to its arcade forebear than any of Nintendo's vs. System adaptations, so if you enjoy this one, you've got something extra to look forward to you once the arcade version hits Arcade Archives... and if you don't care for the NES version, you might find something, however minor, to enjoy about the arcade version.


Hellsinker. (July 20)

  • Platform: PC via Steam (worldwide)
  • Price: $9.99-ish
  • Publisher: Henteko Doujin / Ruminant's Whimper

What's this? A cult PC-exclusive bullet-hell shooter, developed by one-man doujin circle Ruminant's Whimper and released in extremely limited physical quantities in 2007; the game received a surprise digital release on a Japanese storefront a few months ago and is now coming to Steam with a host of new features including higher-resolution rendering, new tutorial and training modes and a new UI that adds a multitude of sorely-needed on-screen system displays, as well as English and Chinese language support.

Why should I care? Hellsinker. has attained notoriety and prestige in certain circles for its metatextual elements, its attempts at synaesthesia and its extremely dense and intertwined game systems; this Steam version seeks to make it more accessible to more people, both in terms of providing multiple avenues by which the game's arcane elements can be more easily decoded and by literally just making it easier to obtain.

Helpful tip: The soundtrack DLC option isn't just straight music files or bonus tracks, it's lossless audio remastered from the original source that will automatically replace the original lower-bitrate tunes once purchased.


Majin Tensei translation patch

  • Format: .bps & .ips patch files for SNES ROM
  • Price: free!
  • Patched by: DDSTranslation & co.

The final untranslated original Megami Tensei series game for Super Famicom is by no means essential — it's a clunky first entry in a strategy-RPG spinoff series that was immediately bettered by its sequel — but it's nice to be able to crossanother franchise off the ol' list, if nothing else.


SDCC-exclusive Metal Gear Solid vinyl variant from Mondo

  • Format: vinyl LP
  • Price: $30
  • Availability: exclusive to San Diego Comic Con, limited to 1000 copies

You'll have an opportunity to buy a regular ol' Snake-adorned copy of Mondo's Metal Gear Solid vinyl later this year, but if you're hopelessly compelled to collect every variant or you just really like Grey Fox, you'd best find a way to Mondo's booth at this weekend's Comic Con... that or Ebay, whichever option strikes you as the least undignified.