Retro Re-release Roundup, week of February 6, 2020
A pair of cult favourites from a couple of arcade underdogs.
You're going to be overwhelmed with classic games to visit and revisit in a week or two, so enjoy this relatively relaxed week while it lasts. I mean, any week with Snow Bros. is one to be thankful for, even if it's being delivered in the least optimal fashion possible.
- Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 (worldwide)
- Price: $7.99 / €6.99 / £6.29
- Publisher: Hamster / City Connection
What's this? A horizontally-scrolling shooter starring a cybernetic serpentine dragon, developed by NMK and distributed in arcades by Jaleco in 1989, with subsequent ports for the ZX Spectrum, CPC Amstrad, Commodore 64, Amiga, Atari ST and MSX, as well as the PC Engine; the game centers around the dragon's long, indestructible tail which trails behind the ship and can be used as a shield to strategically guard against enemy attacks.
Why should I care? Saint Dragon's not nearly as meticulously designed as the games that inspired it — namely, Irem's output, in particular R-Type — but it's one one of the least derivative pretenders to follow in R-Type's wake, and the upside to that lack of refinement is that it's actually a relatively easy game (once you, y'know, memorize everything).
Useless fact: Despite the obvious similarities to Irem's Dragon Breed and NMK's unabashed attempt at emulating Irem's style, Saint Dragon actually predates Dragon Breed by a few months.
iOS & ANDROID
Snow Bros. Classic
- Platform: iOS, Android (worldwide)
- Price: free with ads & in-app purchases
- Publisher: Mobirix / Tatsujin
Mobirix's mobile rollout of classic Toaplan arcade games continues with Snow Bros., a respectable take on the fixed-screen co-op action subgenre established by Taito's Bubble Bobble and possibly Toaplan's most beloved and recognized game outside of the world of shooting games; this version's weighed down by seemingly unremovable ads, way-too-finnicky virtual buttons and a hideous front-end, and the genuine arcade difficulty modes need to be paid for, but Mobirix finally sorted out their aspect ratio issues, so that's nice. (Truxton and Twin Cobra were just patched with aspect ratio options, by the way.)
SOUNDTRACKS & VINYL
Metal Slug 3 Original Soundtrack by Wayo Records
- Formats: CD, vinyl (2LP)
- Price: 20,00 € (CD) / 32,50 € (vinyl)
- Availability: estimated to ship in late March/early April
Fresh off their soundtrack release for the latest Samurai Shodown game, the French label Wayo Records has teamed up with SNK once again to release a 20th anniversary soundtrack for Metal Slug 3, the bloated apotheosis of Nazca's Metal Slug series and one often singled out as a fan favorite to this day. Wayo's first-edition vinyl comes in a red/white splatter variant and both versions of the soundtrack will include a newly-penned card by longtime series illustrator TONKO while stocks last, with shipping estimated to begin in late March.