Retro Re-release Roundup, week of March 12, 2020

Sing the warsong once more.

I promise not to make a habit of recommending gacha games in the roundup, but hear me out: if Langrisser I&II whets your appetite for more Langrisser, I'd genuinely recommend trying the Chinese-made, recently-localized mobile game — it's arguably better-looking than the console remake, it covers a ton of truncated scenarios from the five canonical games and the battle system is more authentic to the originals than a certain other high-profile SRPG gacha adaptation.


KiKi KaiKai

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch (worldwide)
  • Price: $7.99 / €6.99 / £6.29
  • Publisher: Hamster / Taito

What's this? An overhead run-and-gun shooting game set in a world of Japanese folklore, originally developed and distributed near-exclusively in Japanese arcades by Taito in 1986 and succeeded by a small handful of console sequels known internationally as Pocky & Rocky; players guide the shrine maiden Sayo-chan through several free-scrolling levels, searching for hidden items and fighting traditional yokai by tossing talismans at a distance or swinging her shinto ritual want up close. (This game's been available on PS4 for years now, in case you missed it.)

Why should I care? KiKi KaiKai may feel a little simple compared to the SNES sequels most will be more familiar with, but it was a worthy contemporary to the likes of Commando and Ikari Warriors in its day, and the weird-cute aesthetic and almost childish pop tunes from Hisayoshi Ogura make the game feel a lot less difficult than it actually is.

Useless fact: Sayo-chan was one of Taito's first attempts at producing an explicitly marketable "image character", and their affection for her went so far that a certain chip on the arcade PCB is emblazoned with her image.


Langrisser I & II

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PC via Steam (worldwide)
  • Price: $44.99 or equivalent
  • Publisher: NIS America / extreme co. ltd

What's this? A remake of the first two games in the long-dormant strategy-RPG series Langrisser, both of which originated on the Sega Mega Drive and were remade and ported in various forms in Japan and wider Asia during the 1990s. (Remember the Genesis game Warsong? That's the original Langrisser, and the only classic game in the series to ever be officially localized into English.) These remakes retain the traditional grid-based strategy combat and the branching story system introduced with certain versions of Langrisser II and now feature full Japanese voice acting, rebalanced damage systems and small tweaks to minimize unit micromanagement, new high-definition visuals, the choice of original Mega Drive music or new arrangements by longtime composer Noriyuki Iwadare, and the choice between new character portraits by Ar Tonelico artist Ryo Nagi or classic-style portraits by original illustrator Satoshi Urushihara. (There is also paid DLC that adds music from the PC Engine CD, Super Famicom, PC-FX and Windows versions of the respective games.)

Why should I care? Questionable modern visuals aside, this package offers a fine introduction to a pair of classic strategy games whose battle systems split the difference between Fire Emblem and Advance Wars, and the new story tree feature makes it much simpler to experience all the content and each games' many branching paths. (If you're looking for pedigree, know that the original Langrisser games were developed by the team that now makes Shin Megami Tensei Devil Survivor and once made Growlanser.)

Helpful tip: The Steam version's busted right now, with no mouse or gamepad support, no full-screen support and frequent crashes, but I'm sure you saw that coming once you saw NISA was involved.


Command & Conquer: Remastered Collection (PC) pre-orders from Limited Run Games

Platform: PC via Steam (worldwide)
Price: $49.99 (standard edition) / $149.99 (25th Anniversary edition)
Availability: orders end April 10

To call these physical print runs would be a little misleading, seeing as the collection itself (a 4K remaster of both Tiberian Sun and Red Alert) are being distributed as Steam codes, but if you ever wanted a USB stick shaped like a tiberium crystal, this may be your only chance to nail one down. (The regular digital release for Steam and Origin is scheduled for June.)

Samurai Shodown V Special (PS4) & Samurai Shodown VI (PS2 Classics on PS4) from Limited Run Games

Platform: PlayStation 4 (worldwide)
Price: $29.99 (standard editions) / $59.99 (SSVS collector's edition)
Availability: from 10AM & 6PM Eastern, March 13

The Code Mystics-ported version of Samsho VS offered here is a fantastic port of a fantastic game and one that comes equipped with the rollback netcode that was recently added to Garou: Mark of the Wolves to great acclaim, so despite the fact that it overlaps somewhat with the impending Digital Eclipse-produced Samsho collection, it remains worthy of attention. Samsho VI is a marginally entertaining trashfire running via Sony's typically underwhelming PS2-to-PS4, but if you really want to play as former US slave owner Andrew Jackson in a Samsho game then you should think about grabbing Samsho VI because I suspect he won't be coming back.


Data Discs' Streets of Rage remastered soundtracks on Bandcamp

  • Format: .mp3, FLAC & more
  • Price: £6 each

3 > 1 > 2. It's been almost thirty years, let's not front.