Ring in the new year with Metal Storm, 2020's first new NES release
No, really, it's technically new.
Hello and welcome to 2020, a period of human history that will come to be known as the Year of Hindsight. That doesn't necessarily bode well as an omen for us, but hey, at least the year is starting well on the retrogaming reissues front. This week we have a rare case of NES Works reviewing a brand new release: The Metal Storm CE package from Retro-Bit/Limited Run/Castlemania (which is currently still available for preorder at Castlemania). Of course, Metal Storm already shipped out in the U.S. nearly 30 years ago, but this version of Metal Storm counts as a new release (and qualifies for NES Works Gaiden status) because it's fairly different than the American NES release from 1991 and has only ever appeared in Japan before.
Metal Storm CE brings the Japanese Famicom version of the game to the U.S. for the first time, complete with a new localization. The Famicom cart came out a full year after the NES game, which gave developer Tamtex the opportunity to spruce it up with some small visual tweaks, a few level design modifications, and a full intro and epilogue. This new CE brings that version home to Americans for the first time.
Regardless of the version contained here, Metal Storm CE is a welcome sight. Both the American and Japanese versions of Metal Storm have become obnoxiously expensive thanks to collector demand (it's a great game, you see), and the $70 price tag on the deluxe reissue package is a lot less pricey than the $100+ both cartridges on their own currently sell for. The $40 standard release is even more affordable. I know there's some cynicism about latter-day NES cartridge reissues licensed by the original publisher but not by Nintendo, but as long as releases like this are making rare or costly games more accessible, I'm all for it.
Especially as Metal Storm has long been a favorite of mine, and the new release finally allows me to own my very own M-308 Gunner. I figure any year that starts by fulfilling an impossible childhood ambition can't be too shabby. Roll on with the good stuff, 2020. Maybe you're not going to be so grim after all.