Retro Re-release Roundup, week of February 13, 2020

The Yakuza Everywhere Project is finally winding down.

Another relatively slow week, dear readers, but rest assured, next week might potentially leave you with enough games to keep you occupied for next year... and if you've never touched a Yakuza game before, this week's triple-pack is good for at least 150 hours, and that's without mahjong.


Sasuke vs. Commander

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 (worldwide)
  • Price: $7.99 / €6.99 / £6.29
  • Publisher: Hamster / SNK

What's this? A fixed-screen shooting game in the Space Invaders/Galaxian vein, distributed in arcades by SNK in 1980 and unofficially recreated as a hidden game within the Famicom version of Guevara; unlike most of its contemporaries, Sasuke vs. Commander adopted a relatively ornate feudal Japan motif, and its handful of stages included not just fights against generic ninjas but also a boss battle against a rival ninja with a surprisingly wide array of possible attacks.

Why should I care? You want to try one of the less derivative post-Invaders shooting games, or you're just curious to see what the cutting edge of game cinematography looked like in 1980.

Useless fact: Sasuke vs. Commander is historically significant for several reasons: it's widely credited as being the first game to officially adopt the term "boss" for powerful individual enemy encounters, it's among the very first shooting games to introduce the concept of "revenge bullets" (shots fired by an enemy upon being defeated) and it's the earliest game known to have been developed by the immensely prolific and very secretive white-label development studio TOSE.


Brave Prove (PlayStation) English patch

  • Format: .ppf (apply using ppf-o-matic)
  • Translator: aishsha

Fans of post-Link to the Past 2D action-RPGs may want to check out the recent translation patch for Data West's obscure 1998 PlayStation title Brave Prove, a game remembered by some western game fans for looking a lot like Beyond Oasis and remembered by slightly more Japanese fans for being... well, kinda dull, says the five minutes I just spent on Google, but fun is in the eye of the beholder, right? (By sheer coincidence, Data West has suddenly turned their attention back to games after decades in unrelated industries and is currently selling what seems to be recently-unearthed physical stock on their website, including sealed copies of Brave Prove.The store's entirely in Japanese and there's no indication that they'll ship overseas but go ahead and roll the dice.)


Yakuza Remastered Collection Day One Edition

  • Platform: PlayStation 4 (North America, Europe)
  • Price: $59.99 or equivalent
  • Publisher: Sega

Sega's pledge to bring remastered (and in some respects, re-localized) versions of the three main-line PS3 Yakuza titles to PS4 has been quickly upheld, with the third and final remaster, Yakuza 5, hitting PSN this week. Those with a preference for physical games haven't been forgotten, either, as the Yakuza Remastered Collection has received a fairly modest 2-disc retail run, with Yakuzas 3 & 4 on one disc and Yakuza 5 on the other — and what's more, the first-print version comes with an official PS3 case for Yakuza 5, for all those PS3 collectors who are still bugged by the fact that Yazuka 5's original PS3 release was digital-only. (Patrons can also look forward to hearing more Bob and Jeremy's take on these games in the very near future.)


Sega Arcade: Pop-Up History by Read Only Memories

  • Format: hardcover
  • Price: £35.00

Crowdfunded in mid-2018, this three-dimensional celebration of Sega's early "taikan" arcade cabinets is finally available for general purchase, with design images and pop-up models for six of Sega's earliest and most definitive taikan games — Hang-On, Space Harrier, Thunder Blade, After Burner, Out Run and Power Drift — and behind-the-scenes info from Sega legend Yu Suzuki all contained therein. A Toylet pop-up would have been a nice cherry on top but alas, gotta save something for book #2.

Okami yunomi teacups by Fangamer

  • Price: $29

These traditional Japanese teacups are genuinely stylish, and if they're true to the game they'll hold five times more tea than you'd ever want to drink.