Retro Re-release Roundup, week of September 5, 2019
w h a t e v e r
There's plenty to keep us all occupied this week, not least of which being the long-overdue addition of SNES games to Nintendo Switch Online and the even-longer-overdue remaster of Final Fantasy VIII, but I'd be remiss for not also mentioning the surprise release of Deadly Premonition Origins on Switch, a port produced as an appetizer for an unlikely Switch-exclusive sequel and one that maintains the Deadly Premonition tradition of being broken beyond belief. Never change, Greenvale.
- Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 (worldwide)
- Price: $7.99 / €6.99 / £6.29
- Publisher: Hamster / Irem
What's this? A sidescrolling brawler developed and distributed in arcades by Irem in 1988, with later ports to Turbografx-16, Sega Master System and various microcomputers. Think Kung-Fu Master, minus the kung fu and plus a heaping serve of late-'80s urban aggression.
Why should I care? You're in the mood for no more than fifteen minutes of unadorned, to-the-point violence.
Helpful tip: If you don't keep the pressure on bosses they will regenerate health, so once you think you have a strategy, don't waste any time employing it.
NINTENDO SWITCH ONLINE - SUPER NINTENDO ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEM
September '19 NSO update: Super Nintendo! (September 6)
- Platform: Nintendo Switch (worldwide)
- Price: available as part of Nintendo Switch Online
- Publisher: Nintendo, Capcom, City Connection, G-Mode, Sega, Spike-Chunsoft
What're these? The first twenty games available for the Nintendo Switch Online SNES app, out tomorrow; the core emulator has all the features of the existing NES app, including online multiplayer, button mapping, save states and the recently-added rewind feature.
Which games are included? In alphabetical order: Brawl Brothers, Breath of Fire, Demon's Crest, F-ZERO, Joe & Mac 2, Kirby's Dream Course, Kirby's Dream Land 3, Pilotwings, Starfox, Stunt Race FX, Super E.D.F. Earth Defense Force, Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts, Super Mario World, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, Super Metroid, Super Puyo Puyo 2, Super Soccer, Super Tennis and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.
Why should I care? Putting aside the fact that there's a good handful of undisputed classics available from day one, they've also sprinkled in a few lesser-seen titles, some more high-profile than others (Stunt Race FX! Super Puyo Puyo 2!), which one might choose to interpret as a positive sign of things to come. Either way, Kirby's Dream Course with online play is nothing to be scoffed at.
Helpful tip: There's an official SNES controller coming for Switch, too!
Come on Baby! (September 6)
- Platform: PC via Steam (worldwide)
- Price: TBA
- Publisher: Expotato Corp.
What's this? That one random arcade game that seems to have appeared in, and disappeared from, every two-bit arcade since the early-'00s... you know, the really loud one with the ugly CG babies and all the button-mashing. No? Well, here it is, available for your personal computer without the big buttons you all know and love.
Why should I care? You should definitely care just enough to ask "why?".
Useless fact: This game contains a non-zero amount of exposed, poorly-rendered infant genitalia.
Darius Cozmic Collection (digital versions)
- Platform: Nintendo Switch eShop (Japan)
- Price: ¥5200 (regular edition), ¥6500 (consumer edition)
- Publisher: Taito
What're these? Long-awaited digital versions of the M2-developed Darius compilations that were released at retail earlier in the year; these collections contain emulated versions of almost every major classic arcade and console entry in Taito's Darius series, complete with specialized "gadgets" that display extra game-specific info on the borders of the screen, controller and display options, save states, online leaderboards and customizable dip-switch settings for the arcade games.
Which games are included? The standard package includes the "old", "new" and "extra" revisions of the original three-screen arcade Darius, the two-screen arcade version of Darius II, both revisions of the overseas-only remix Sagaia and the arcade version of Darius Gaiden; the special edition contains all of the above and also includes the Super Famicom and SNES versions of Darius Twin, the Super Famicom game Darius Force (released overseas as Super Nova), the Mega Drive version of Darius II, the Master System version of Sagaia and the PC Engine title Darius Alpha, a boss rush game produced in extremely limited quantities as a sweepstakes price for the PC Engine CD port Super Darius. (Sagaia for Game Boy, which was previously distributed as a time-limited download-only promo item via Amazon, seems to have been lost to time.)
Why should I care? Quality of these collections aside (they're excellent, as it happens), many of these games were previously confined to a pricey and low-print collectors edition that is already selling for hundreds of dollars over the initial asking price, so these digital releases are welcome if only so that one might at least have the option of checking them out at any point in the near or distant future.
Helpful tip: If you did buy the physical version earlier in the year, they've also released a patch that improves the Darius Gaiden emulation core, adds HD rumble to certain games and revamps the online leaderboard options, among other things.
- Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One PC via Steam (worldwide)
- Price: $19.99 / €17.99 / £15.99
- Publisher: Square-Enix.
What's this? The seemingly eternal gap in Square-Enix's Final Fantasy remaster series, finally plugged with a remaster for modern hardware that features newly-made, high-definition character models and a bevy of modern options including triple-speed and the ability to disable random battles (as well as some additional PC-exclusive options like the ability to max out all items, abilities and stats),
Why should I care? What do you know, a podcast on this very topic went up just this week! As for this particular version, by many accounts it's less a remaster and more an inelegant conversion of the ancient PC version that they've crammed HD models into, but at least they finally tried, I suppose.
Squaresoft Bug Report: The specific and pervasive audio bug that plagued multiple Final Fantasy remasters for many years is not present here, but there is a new and exciting audio bug that occurs if you watch the credits between saving and loading your data, so don't do that.
- Platform: Nintendo Switch, PC via Steam (worldwide)
- Price: $39.99 / €39.99 / £34.99
- Publisher: Activision
What's this? Last year's well-received anthology of PlayStation-era Spyro the Dragon remakes, now available on Switch and PC with... nothing, really; they're more or less the same, save for some PC-centric (and rather buggy) options like uncapped framerate.
Why should I care? You want a burst of PlayStation nostalgia that doesn't require even a fraction of the commitment needed to beat a Crash game.
Helpful tip: There was some contention around the previous console release and how much of the collection was present on the physical disc, and if anything, the situation on Switch is even worse: the bulk of the collection is not present on the card and you'll have to download a free but rather large update in order to play the second and third games, or even just to complete the first game.
MUSIC & SOUNDTRACKS
The Unbreakable Unity (album) by Hiroki Kikuta
- Platform: Bandcamp (worldwide)
- Price: $9.99
Inspired by Czech artist Alfons Mucha's The Slav Epic, long-time RPG composer Hiroko Kikuta has put together an album of music inspired by the timbre and constraints of the music he wrote during the Super Nintendo era, particularly his works on Secret of Mana and the recently-translated Trials of Mana; whether the Mana collection whetted your appetite or you're looking for something to tide you over until Kikuta's next game, Indivisible, this album's got you covered.