Retro Re-release Roundup, week of January 2, 2020
The eternal struggle between penguin and dodgeball rages on.
2020 is now upon us and there's no better way to ring in the new decade than with a lively bout of Penguin Wars! Like, there's literally nothing better, because that's pretty much all that's on offer this week, unless poking away at questionably-functional builds of unreleased Mega Drive ports is more your fancy. (Too-new-for-Retronauts recommendation: CROSSNIQ+, the imaginary Dreamcast arcade-puzzle game you wish you'd played twenty years ago, down to just a buck for the next day or so.)
- Platform: Nintendo Switch (worldwide)
- Price: $7.99 / €6.99 / £6.29
- Publisher: Hamster
What's this? A frantic dodgeball-esque game starring cutesy animals, developed and distributed in arcades by UPL in 1985 and later converted to Famicom, MSX and Game Boy. Each player starts at the end of a table with five balls in front of them, with the aim of the game being to toss all ten balls onto the opponent's side for a clean win or to have as few balls on your own side at the end of a 60-second round; the balls can be tossed directly at the opponent to stun them or at incoming balls in order to deflect them.
Why should I care? If you want a genuine multiplayer experience then I'd recommend the recent Penguin Wars remake instead, but the arcade original still holds up as a single-player game — and, crucially, one that remains fun even as the game turns the tables against you in ways that might seem unfair in other games.
Useless fact: The original arcade version of Penguin-kun Wars, but not all of the conversions, features a chiptune rendition of the song "Motto Sekin Shimasho" by former Japanese pop singer Hidemi Ishikawa, and judging by the JASRAC notice on the store page, it seems Hamster's shelled out to retain the tune for this reissue.
PROTOTYPE ROM DUMPS
Following the success of the Sonic-related prototype-reveal event staged earlier in the year, games preservation website Hidden Palace has trickled out some dozen unreleased prototypes between Christmas and New Years Day, including a build of the unreleased Mega Drive conversion of the SNES Super Star Wars game, yet another early build of the notoriously unreleased Robotech N64 game, an unfinished version of the undumped, Sega Channel-exclusive Mega Drive conversion of Ocean Software's Flintstones the Movie and, most notably, what may be the only remaining prototype of Black Pearl Software's Akira game for Mega Drive, one of a handful of cancelled Akira games announced by THQ in the early-'90s, and purportedly the only one to ever come anywhere close to being finished.