Retro Re-release Roundup, week of March 26, 2020
Enter the dragoon.
What initially promised to be a quiet week turned out to be nothing but, thanks to a pair of last-second releases: the console remaster of Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy. which comfortably scratch that early-'00s Quake III-derivative itch, and the Panzer Dragoon remake, which I cannot in all certainty declare a disappointment until I sit down and beat it for myself, but nothing I've seen or heard up until this point makes me feel particularly confident about what's to come. If nothing else, it's a paycheck for Saori Kobayashi, I guess.
- Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 (worldwide)
- Price: $7.99 / €6.99 / £6.29
- Publisher: Hamster / SNK
What's this? The third and final game in SNK's very loose trilogy of Ikari Warriors games, originally released in arcades in 1989 and ported to NES and home computers in 1990; this version returns to a somewhat similar setting to the original Ikari, but the run-and-gun action has largely been eschewed in favor of hand-to-hand combat — think Double Dragon from an overhead perspective. (There are two versions of the arcade game, one that used the signature Ikari "loop lever" rotary joystick and one with a more standard control scheme, and my understanding is that the Arcade Archives release includes both versions.)
Why should I care? It's not the OG Ikari sequel you might be looking for (that'd be Guevara/Guerrilla War) but there is a certain novelty to playing a brawler with a loop lever, and at no point do wield a broadsword, become a robocop or get sucked into a hell portal, so it has that going for it over Ikari II.
SNK 40th Anniversary Collection crossover watch: This is another game that's present on SNK40, alongside the NES version (which, unlike the previous Ikari conversions for NES, is actually pretty good).
NO MORE 2AM DIRECTS, NINTENDO
- Platform: Nintendo Switch (North America, Europe)
- Price: $24.99 or equivalent
- Publisher: Forever Entertainment / Sega
What's this? Just as the title says, a remake of Sega's original fantasy-themed 3D rail shooter and Sega Saturn launch title; developed and published by Polish studio Forever Entertainment, this looks to be a fairly straightforward remake of the original game with modern HD graphics, nothing more and nothing less. (The game is currently exclusive to Switch, but it will eventually come to other platforms including PC.)
Why should I care? Honestly, I'm hoping one of you can answer that question for me: none of the pre-release footage or impressions were especially positive and I'm not at all prepared to give this sudden release the benefit of the doubt, but if any of you take the plunge, I'm all ears. (This studio's already on the hook for remakes of Panzer Dragoon Zwei and House of the Dead 1 & 2, so let's hope they don't disappoint right out of the gate.)
Helpful tip: If you have the faith I lack, you can buy a physical version of Panzer Dragoon: Remake (including a deluxe version in a Saturn-style case) from the trunk of Jeremy's car from 10AM tomorrow.
- Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 (worldwide)
- Price: $19.99 or equivalent
- Publisher: Aspyr Media / LucasArts
What's this? A port of the fourth and final game in Raven Software's Jedi Knight series of Star Wars first/third-person shooters, originally released for PC, Mac and Xbox in 2003; this game moves the traditional protagonist Kyle Katarn into a supporting role and puts a greater focus on character customization, as well as a greatly-expanded multiplayer suite (which, unlike the recent Jedi Outcast port, was retain for this version.)
Why should I care? Star Wars maniacs can probably list a dozen reasons why, but I'm not the least bit informed about Star Wars, so all I can tell you is this game is much quicker in getting to the elements I most want from a Star Wars deathmatch game — the flippy-dippy Jedi powers and the lightsaber duels — than Jedi Outcast ever was, and you're of all the Quake III-derived games to port to consoles, this one's probably the best match.
Helpful tip: I feel like it will be forever necessary to outline the silly, silly subtitle scheme used by this series: game #1 is Dark Forces, game #2 is Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight, game #3 is Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast and game #4 is Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy.
- Platform: Nintendo Switch (Japan)
- Price: ¥5,720 (standard edition) / ¥16,800 (limited edition)
- Publisher: Taito / Square-Enix
What's this? Taito's second classic franchise anthology, following in the heels of the recent Darius Cozmic Collection; this collection, which missed the series' 40th anniversary by two whole years, contains a mix of classic games running via emulation (handled by the capable hands at Gotch) and ports of more modern entries of the series, each equipped with display settings and other configs (including vertical orientation in handheld mode where relevant), unique challenge modes for each game, online leaderboards, save states and more. (Unlike Darius Cozmic Collection, this collection is available digitally day-and-date; there's also a retail-only limited edition that comes with all the swag seen below: a replica arcade coin pouch, a collection of replica how-to-play arcade cards, an interview/documents book and a board game.)
Which games are included? The standard edition includes eight games: both the black-and-white and color variants of the original Space Invaders (arcade, 1978), Space Invaders Part 2 (arcade, 1979), Majestic Twelve (arcade, 1990) and its overseas variant Super Space Invaders '91, Space Invaders Extreme (specifically, the 2018 HD version for PC) and Space Invaders Gigamax 4SE, a home arrangement of an ultra-wide (as in, projected-onto-the-side-of-a-building wide) installation game from 2019, as well as a bonus download for the 2017 standalone version of the mobile app Arkanoid vs. Space Invaders. Additionally, the retail-only limited edition includes three exclusive games: Taito's Invader-derivative arcade games Lunar Rescue (1979) and Space Cyclone (1980), plus the 1993 arcade remake Space Invaders DX.
Why should I care? The immense legacy of Space Invaders should have been commemorated in this fashion a long, long time ago, and the inclusion of modern games like Space Invaders Extreme keep the collection from feeling too much like a museum piece for anyone not Japanese or under 40.
Helpful tip: As with the Darius collection, there's one game that was given away as an Amazon Prime Day promotional item that can't be bought or acquired any other way: the Sega Mega Drive game Space Invaders 90.
iOS & ANDROID
Rose and Camellia
You might vaguely remember this silly "matriarch slapping" game from Flash portals of ten-plus years ago, but what you might not know is that Rose and Camellia was the work of Nigoro, the developers behind the La-Mulana series, an they've just rescued their game from the dying Flash platform and made it available on mobile devices. After two minutes with it, I can't say it works all that well, but free's free.
LIMITED-PRINT PHYSICAL RUNS
Shadowgate remake from Limited Run Games
- Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4
- Price: $34.99 (standard edition) / $54.99 (collectors edition)
- Availability: from 10AM March 27
I never did play this remake but I do know it was crowdfunded by the original developers and the backers seemed overwhelmingly pleased with the outcome, so perhaps it deserves to be preserved on that basis alone.
SOUNDTRACKS & VINYL
- Format: vinyl LP
- Price: $27
- Availability: available
Available in both orange splatter and clear vinyl variants, this new Life Force vinyl from Ship to Shore features the NES tunes you're probably most familiar with on side A, and the SCC-enhanced tunes from the MSX version of Salamander that you've probably never heard on side B. (Why STS tends to forego the arcade tunes with these Konami shooter vinyl, I cannot say.) If Life Force doesn't take your fancy, STS has also discounted several other Konami vinyl for a limited time, including the Gradius trilogy, the Famicom-exclusive, FM-powered Lagrange Point soundtrack and an EP based on everybody's favorite Mario bootleg, Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa.