Retro Re-release Roundup, week of December 10, 2020
The best retro revival of its era returns to modern consoles.
Sorry, Pac-Man Championship Edition, but the truth be what it be.
- Platform: Nintendo Switch (worldwide)
- Price: $7.99 / €6.99 / £6.29
- Publisher: Hamster / Sunsoft
What's this? A horizontally-scrolling shooting game with a sorta-Antarctic setting, developed and distributed in arcade by Sunsoft in 1983; moving the player-ship up or down tilts the angle of the ship, altering the trajectory of your shots and allowing you to hit the enemies from all points on the screen.
Why should I care? You'd like to try one of the rare horizontal takes on Xevious, or you're just part of the massive majority of people who have no real experience with Sunsoft's arcade catalog.
Helpful tip: For whatever reason, this released was pushed back to next week on PS4, so please be patient, Markham maniacs.
- Platform: Nintendo Switch (Japan)
- Price: ¥500
- Publisher: G-MODE
What's this? A virus-themed action-puzzle game, originally released for Japanese feature phones by G-MODE in 2003 and released internationally to some acclaim the following year; each circuit-like stage is infected with viruses that can only be destroyed my manipulating them into colliding with each other, and viruses will multiply and mutate if left unchecked.
Why should I care? This might be the first G-MODE Archives release that more than a tiny handful of people outside of Japan have actually played, so it's less of a gamble than their usual reissue selections. It was also awarded with an ever-so-prestigious "Mobie" GOTY award in 2004, which proclaimed it to be "a product of mathematical and spatial genius, turned from abstraction into reality", and who am I to question the authority of the Mobies?
Helpful tip: G-MODE confirmed to me that they're planning to release TOPOLON on the international Switch eShop early next year, so you may want to wait for that version.
Space Invaders Forever
- Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 (North America, Europe)
- Price: $29.99 / €29.99
- Publisher: ININ Games / Taito
What's this? A truncated and more affordable version of Taito's Space Invaders Invincible Collection, released earlier this year. This version ditches all the emulated classics and solely contains the more modern works: Space Invaders Extreme HD (the 2018 remaster of the 2008 DS/PSP game), Space Invaders Gigamax 4SE (an arranged conversion of a 2018 super-wide game originally designed to be projected onto the side of a building) and Arkanoid vs. Space Invaders (a port of a recent well-received mobile game that was initially released as a free-to-play game and later found success when converted to a single-purchase app).
Why should I care? Space Invaders Extreme was an extremely successful fusion of advanced scoring systems and contemporary club chic with the classic fixed-screen shooting formula, and I feel like a lot of people aren't even aware it was remastered recently, so here's yet another excuse to revisit the ultimate Space Invaders game. (Arkanoid vs. SI, are certainly nothing to scoff at, either.)
Useless fact: The version of Arkanoid vs. Invaders released with the Invincible Collection was a slapdash mobile port that could only be played on the Switch's touchscreen, so I have no idea how the PS4 version's going to work.
Nope, these aren't remasters a la the recent (and, by most accounts, excellent) Sam & Max reissue: these are the versions Telltale sold until they died, and now that their husk has been reanimated, they're back on their respective storefronts, simple as that.
SOUNDTRACKS & VINYL
Actraiser Original Soundtrack & Symphonic Suite by Wayo Records
- Format: vinyl (2LP), 2CD
- Price: 32,50 € (vinyl) / 18,50 € (CD)
- Availability: ships March 2021
Yuzo Koshiro's goal when creating the music for Actraiser was to compose something so harmonically and technically dense that it would remain unmatched by other Super Famicom developers for at least ten years; by his own admission, Yasunori Mitsuda managed to pip him just four years later with Chrono Trigger, but Actraiser's accomplishments remain untarnished and are being celebrated once more with this vinyl & CD soundtrack from Wayo Records. These soundtracks contain both the original SNES music,remastered by Super Sweep's Shinji Hosoe, and a professional recording of a 2018 symphonic performance, and the packages are adorned with liner notes from Yuzo Koshiro and brand-new illustrations from original Actraiser designer & artist Ayano Koshiro (Yuzo's sister, not his wife!)