Retro Re-release Roundup, week of July 30, 2020
IT'S NOT MUCH OF I EXPECTED.
I figure this info is probably self-evident, seeing as it's in reference to a re-release of a Japanese game that's currently only available on a Japanese storefront, but the arguable highlight of this week's release schedule — the "legendary kusoge" Hoshi wo Miru Hito — remains entirely untranslated save for front-end menus, and previous reports about an international release seem to have been, at the least, premature, but rest assured, I've enquired with the publishers to get to the bottom with this and come hell or high I water I will get answers.
- Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 (worldwide)
- Price: $7.99 / €6.99 / £6.29
- Publisher: Hamster / G-MODE
What's this? Data East's breakout game, released in arcades in 1982 and ported as far as the eye could see from then on; in this six-stage fixed-screen action game, the player is tasked with assembling giant burgers by walking over their constituent parts, dodging and/or trapping sentient foodstuffs all the while.
Why should I care? All the elements that made Data East an unlikely heavy-hitter during the '80s and '90s are present in BurgerTime: it's immediately engaging, a little clunky and more than a little weird.
Useless fact: G-MODE made a new BurgerTime game for Switch just last year — it's called BurgerTime Party and I'm quite sure it has yet to be played by a single human being. It seems... fine.
- Platform: Nintendo Switch (Japan)
- Price: ¥500
- Publisher: G-MODE
What's this? The second entry in G-Mode's popular series of Japanese feature phone RPGs, originally released in 2007 and later remade for iOS and Android; this game follows the events of the original and adds convenient features like an in-game map and the ability to pause cutscenes, on top of refinements to the game's battle system.
Why should I care? Given the level of excitement I've seen for these reissues among Japanese players, I'm confident these games are interesting for those who are able and willing to give them a shot... but I barely touched the original and haven't spent a second with this one so I can offer nothing in the way of a first-hand endorsement. The music's jammin', I can say that much.
Useless fact: This is the second game in a trilogy, and there's at least one additional game in the series that you can expect to grace G-MODE Archives at some point, so strap yourselves in.
- Platform: Nintendo Switch (Japan)
- Price: ¥990
- Publisher: City Connection
What's this? A cyberpunk-tinged sci-fi RPG, published for Famicom by Hot-B in late 1987, which immediately cemented itself as one of the system's most notorious kusoge due to its brutally unforgiving and nigh-random battle system, opaque means of game progression, unnecessarily cumbersome and inaccurate password system and a litany of ridiculous bugs; this deluxe reissue adds several quality-of-life features including save states, a rewind function, an option to increase walk speed and a handful of optional character enhancements that can be applied to a new game, as well as screen size and wallpaper settings (including wallpapers designed and submitted by fans), a gallery containing the original game manual and other art and an option to rewatch any endings you achieve, with a special bonus teased for those who watch all three endings. (My guess is they've implemented the original unused fourth ending, but that's just a hunch.)
Why should I care? This hour-and-change speedrun should tell you most everything you need to know about the wondrous agony of Hoshi wo Miru Hito, and this surprisingly lavish reissue commemorates the game in a manner that all games deserve, and that this particular game and its fanatical, decades-old community has undeniably earned.
Helpful tip: City Connection's also selling Hoshi wo Miru Hito shirts and a reissued soundtrack, should you need even more Hoshimiru in your life. (The soundtrack is actually a 4-disc anthology of music from various Hot-B titles, much of which is quite good and quite overlooked.)
- Platform: PC via Epic Store (worldwide)
- Price: free until 11AM Eastern, June 18; standard price $39.99 or equivalent
- Publisher: SNK / Digital Eclipse
What's this? A late-to-consoles collection of all five-and-change mainline Neogeo entries in SNK's venerable fighting game series, Samurai Shodown, originally released between 1993 and 2005; this collection, developed by the Digital Eclipse team responsible for Capcom's Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection, includes online play with rollback netcode, save states, various visual options, an extensive museum filled with official artwork, developer documents and interviews and other video content, and a music player with other 200 tracks spanning the series, capped off with the first ever release of a barely-seen and unsanctioned revision to Samurai Shodown V Special, now officially endorsed and playable worldwide. (The PS4 and XB1 versions also feature a clever 4K supersampling option that allows for super-smooth sprite scaling.)
Which games are included? This collection includes both the English and Japanese Neogeo MVS versions of all six Samurai Shodown games — OG Samsho, II, III, IV, V and its revision V Special — with online play available for the English versions only. Additionally, this collection also includes both the Japanese version and a freshly-translated and online-enabled version of the never-released update to Samsho V Special titled Samurai Shodown V Perfect, which adds story content and minor bugfixes. (For those completely unaware, the recent un-numbered Samsho game is entry #7, so there's only one game missing between this collection and the newest game.)
Why should I care? You're looking for a convenient way to play a handful of classic and timeless fighting games offline with friends, or you just want to peruse the voluminous museum of inconsistently-annotated but otherwise fascinating archival material. (I have no idea what the online experience will be on consoles, but it hasn't been pretty on PC, so prepare for disappointment.)
Helpful tip: From now until August 25, buying this collection digitally on the PlayStation Store will net you a free copy of the emulated PS2 port of Samurai Shodown VI.
DON'T BUY THQ NORDIC GAMES
- Platform: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One (worldwide)
- Price: $29.99 / €29.99 / £24.99 (PC) / $39.99 / €39.99 / £34.99 (PS4/XB1)
- Publisher: THQ Nordic / Black Forest Games
Far be it from me to question other peoples' proclivities but is anyone out there clamoring for a $400 collectors' package for Destroy All Humans?
ROM HACKS & TRANSLATIONS
This 2006 remake of the original Megami Tensei is one of the few Megaten feature phone games to be preserved online, and now the Chinese version is available to play in English. You can find the relevant emulator here, and you can find the game itself by punching "女神轉生 jar" into the search engine of your choice.
SOUNDTRACKS & VINYL
- Format: vinyl
- Price: $42.99 each
- Availability: from Friday 10AM Eastern July 31
Open Your Heart > Live and Learn. Someone has to be with me on this.