Retro Re-release Roundup, week of August 27, 2020

Experience the Love.

Anyone who's been around since the dawn of fan translation will need no introduction to moon, a game that's intrigued monolingual RPG fans for decades and been subjected to many arduous but ultimately fruitless translation projects, so today's official worldwide release is exciting for two reasons: one, that long-suffering audience will finally get to play the game they've wondered about for twenty years, and two, one of the final remaining monoliths of the translation-beggar era can finally be put to rest.


Super Dodge Ball

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

What's this? The first in-universe successor to Technos' influential brawler Nekketsu Kouhai Kunio-kunoriginally released in arcades in 1987 and quickly followed up with conversions for NES, PC Engine and the Sharp X68000 computer; Kunio and co. are settling their scores on the dodge ball court, but they're as scrappy as ever. (Nekketsu Kouhai Kunio-kun is better known internationally as Renegade, but the international version of Super Dodge Ball is not positioned as a sequel to Renegade, not that it matters..)

Why should I care? You've only played the NES version and you're curious to experience this game without absurd amounts of sprite flicker. Be warned: most of your teammates are completely worthless in the arcade version.)

Useless fact: Beating the Japanese version sees the Kunio crew presented with a trophy by a barely-legally-distinct Superman; he's not present in the international version which, for whatever reason, replaced him with a ninja.



  • Platform: Nintendo Switch (Japan)
  • Price: ¥500
  • Publisher: G-MODE

What's this? The third and final game in the loose Senbazuru trilogy of branching-choice horror adventure games, released on Japanese feature phones in 2011, but who's keeping tab?); passengers board the mysterious last train at a mysterious train station and mysterious things happen...

Why should I care? Time for that broken record to skip once more: you're into narrative horror and you can read Japanese why am I still introducing these games as if people are playing them

Useless fact: If you do, in fact, have some interest in trying the bakers' dozen games released as part of G-Mode Archives, they'll be receiving modest, sequential discounts over the month of September.


Retro Classix 2in1: Bad Dudes & Two Crude Dudes, Retro Classix 4in1: Sly Spy, Shoot Out, Wizard Fire & Super Real Darwin & Retro Classix 2in1: Express Raider & Shoot Out

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch (North America, Europe)
  • Price: from $9.99 / €9.99 / £8.99
  • Publisher: Golem Entertainment

What're these? Emulated bundles of assorted vintage Data East arcade games, released today with no warning; the names and faces have changed but as far as I can tell (without, y'know, spending money) is that these are Johnny Turbo's Arcade collections in all but name.

Why should I care? Their previous Data East reissue series did a huge disservice to an interesting and under-appreciated catalog and I don't expect anything better from these versions, but I can at least give them props for realizing the Johnny Turbo co-sign wasn't the money-maker they thought it might be.

Helpful tip: Yes, two of those three bundles feature Express Raider. No, I cannot explain why.


Commander Keen in Keen Dreams: Definitive Edition

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch (North America, Europe)
  • Price: $14.99 / €14.99 / £13.49
  • Publisher: Diplodocus Games

What's this? A "deluxe" reissue of the unwanted child of the Commander Keen series, originally developed by id Software in just one month to fulfill a contract, acquired for pennies decades later and reissued to oblivion; this particular version promises 12 all-new levels, revised game structure, a new audio score and widescreen support.

Why should i care? This game is awful and I've only recommended previous versions on the basis that it seemed like something that'd disappear from sale at any given sale... and it has, more than once, so after the third goddamn Switch release in as many years I'm gonna go ahead and say, don't even bother.

Useless fact: The previous Keen Dreams reissue came courtesy of the ever-reliable Night Dive Studios, but this version, as far as I'm aware, comes from the maniac who originally got Keen Dreams pulled from Steam by hurling expletives at Gabe Newell.

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered Edition

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, iOS, Android (worldwide)
  • Price: $29.99 or equivalent
  • Publisher: Square-Enix

What's this? A remaster of Square's multiplayer-centric action-RPG Final Fantasy spinoff, released exclusively on the Nintendo Gamecube and notorious for its reliance on Game Boy Advance connectivity; this new version boasts HD visuals and a revised UI, new, remixed and re-recorded music, English voicework, a new suite of post-game dungeons and online multiplayer with cross-play between platforms (as well as a cornucopia of paid DLC). In addition to the standard version, there's also a lite version that allows you to play three dungeons for free, or up to 13 dungeons if played with somebody who owns the full game.

Why should I care? Crystal Chronicles' burdensome and impractical requirement of a GBA and link cable for each player meant that very few people were able to properly experience the game even when it was new, so a 2020 re-do should ideally give people the most practical and optimised version of the game now that it's unshackled from an ill-advised peripheral gimmick. I say "ideally" because by all accounts, the online multiplayer experience is cumbersome and unnavigable in ways no longer thought possible in this day and age, and this feature came at the expense of the complete removal of local multiplayer, so this mightn't be the slam dunk it really should've been.

Helpful tip: Some of the irritating and arcane restrictions around multiplayer include: region-locked servers, an extreme reliance on game-specific friend codes that may or may not expire; game progression being host-only; the automatic disbanding of a party after completing a dungeon, requiring manual regrouping; and several elements from the original game no longer accessible in multiplayer, including town item trading.


  • Platform: Nintendo Switch (North America, Europe)
  • Price: $18.99 / €15.99 / £14.49
  • Publisher: Onion Games

What's this? A cult "anti-RPG" adventure game, released exclusively in Japan for the Sony PlayStation in 1997, reissued for the first time on Switch in Japan last year and released for the first time in English today; developed by a team of former Square developers who'd worked together on Super Mario RPG, moon essentially sees the player sucked into a the world of the parodical JRPG they'd just played and forced to confront the somewhat psychopathic behavior he'd engaged in as the "hero". (Aside from some relatively minor technical enhancements and the aforementioned localization, this is essentially a straight port of the PS original with no major new content,)

Why should I care? moon's influence can be felt, directly and indirectly, across many of the most adored and sharply-written games of the last twenty years, from the Paper Mario and Chibi-Robo series to Mother 3 to Freshly-Picked Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland to its most direct mechanical successor, Chulip, and even to Undertale — if the premise seems played out or trite, just remember, moon did it first and its progeny didn't necessarily do it better. (That said, it's really not an RPG: they warned you, and they ain't goofin', even when they're goofin'.)

Helpful tip: An international physical release for moon has yet to be confirmed but Onion Games has prepared an authentic PS-style game manual that you can peruse here.


Battletoads: Smash Hits 2LP from iam8bit

  • Format: vinyl (2LP)
  • Price: $42.99
  • availability: available

iam8bit's newest addition to their surprisingly extensive selection of Battletoads vinyl mixes the old with the new, with one record comprised of classic NES tunes and another of cuts from the just-released reboot game. (They also put up a Battletoads NES cartridge reissue package between the last roundup and this one, but it sold out in approximately half a second, so better luck next time.)

The Legend of the Mystical Ninja vinyl soundtrack from Ship to Shore (is sold out, but here's a link anyway)

  • Format: vinyl (2LP)
  • Price: I don't know, because it's sold out
  • availability: unavailable

Okay, who puts things up for order on a Wednesday? Work with me here.