Retro Re-release Roundup, week of August 29, 2O19
We've awaited your return, saviors.
Am I out of touch for not wanting to immerse myself in a decade-plus reversion of a ubiquitous MMORPG? No, perhaps it's the millions of extremely contented quadgenerians who are wrong.
- Platform: Nintendo Switch (worldwide)
- Price: $7.99 / €6.99 / £6.29
- Publisher: Hamster / Nintendo
What's this? The arcade conversion of Nintendo's black-box NES Pinball game, released in 1984; the coin-op version tweaks the sound effects, alters the scoring somewhat and adds a smattering of new and very of-the-era music.
Why should I care? Pinball never boasted the most sophisticated table and the "versus" descriptor doesn't really apply to this conversion, but it nailed the basic ball-whacking that few video pinball games had successfully captured before that point and remains perfectly playable today.
Useless fact: Nintendo's Pinball was co-programmed by then-HAL employee Satoru Iwata in tandem with HAL's own MSX pinball title Rollerball, and the basic programming routines written at that time continued to be reused in various other titles for fifteen years, culminating with the 1999 Game Boy Color game Pokemon Pinball.
- Platform: Nintendo Switch (Japan)
- Price: ¥1200 (¥960 until September 23)
- Publisher: City Connection
What's this? The final mainline entry in Psikyo's staple Strikers series of aggressive vertical shooting games, released in arcades some point between 1998 and 2000 and reissued on consoles for the first time this year; this entry ditches the World War II motif for a more modern setting and prominently features a "technical bonus" system that allows players to instantly defeat bosses by shooting a briefly-exposed, hard-to-access weak point at point-blank range.
Why should I care? You liked the previous Strikers games and want something more immediately ruthless and shamelessly hardcore-oriented, or you already bought all the other Psikyo ports piecemeal and sunk cost fallacy demands you complete the set.
Helpful tip: This game got an early physical-only release as part of the third volume of the Asian Psikyo compilation series and the first volume of the Japanese Psikyo compilation series (with the second volume launching in Japan today also), and it'll also be part of the first western Psikyo compilation due out early next year. Who knew these games were so popular?
The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors (August 30)
- Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 (Europe)
- Price: €29.99 / £25.99 (physical) / €19.99 / £16.99 (digital)
- Publisher: ININ Games / Taito
What's this? A high-definition remaster of Natsume-Atari's 1994 sidescrolling SNES brawler The Ninja Warriors Again, itself a reimagining of Taito's classic robo-ninja arcade brawler The Ninja Warriors; the 2019 version includes all the content from the SNES game and adds new, high-fidelity graphics and audio, online time attack leaderboards, two-player local co-op, new moves for the three returning characters and two brand-new characters, the stretchy-limbed shortstack Yaksha and the behemoth war-machine Raiden. (The North American versions received a last-minute delay to October 15.)
Why should I care? The original SNES version was among the absolute deepest and most well-designed brawlers of its console generation and this remaster, developed by the same three-man team that made the original and reunited for 2017's Wild Guns Reloaded, boasts a level of craftsmanship that few modern dot-art remasters and revivals can match. (Much like Wild Guns Reloaded, it's also not an especially casual-friendly co-op game, so be warned.)
Helpful tip: The two new characters, as well as other features like the original arcade soundtrack, will need to be unlocked by beating the game multiple times with different characters.
BECAUSE YOU DEMANDED IT
- Platform: PC via battle.net
- Price: free with standard WoW subcription
- Publisher: Blizzard
It took almost a decade of requests and over 750,000 people playing on unofficial servers to get Blizzard to play ball but it finally happened: a classic, warts-and-all vanilla server for WoW that plays identically to the game as it existed immediately prior to the release of the first expansion pack, 2006's The Burning Crusade. I don't know that it's possible to truly relive the zeitgeist of boom-era WoW but all those players can't be wrong, can they?
- Platform: Nintendo Switch (North America, Europe)
- Price: $39.99 / €39.99 / £34.99
- Publisher: Square-Enix
After enduring a 25-year wait for an official localization of Trials of Mana (a.k.a. Seiken Densetsu III), I don't suspect many people opted to wait the few extra months it's taken to get the classic Mana collection on card, but for those who did, have at it.