Retro Re-release Roundup, week of February 25, 2021
Hail the heros of the Revolution!
Aside from the games featured in today's roundup, this week also saw a trio of Japanese PS4/Switch releases that I held off from mentioning due to the fact that they're scheduled for international release, albeit without release dates: G-Darius HD and Dariusburst Another Chronicle EX+, which are the two halves of the new Darius Cozmic Revelation compilation and already contain an English localization, and Cotton Reboot!, a remastered version of the enhanced X68000 port of the cult arcade shooting game, which very much doesn't.
Guerrilla War (Guevara)
- Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 (worldwide)
- Price: $7.99 / €6.99 / £6.29
- Publisher: Hamster / SNK
What's this? An overhead run-and-gun game built around the rotary "loop lever" joystick famously employed by Ikari Warriors, originally developed and distributed in arcades by SNK and later ported and converted for NES, Apple II, various European microcomputers and PlayStation Portable; this game most notably sets itself apart from Ikari et al by being themed around the Cuban Revolution, with player-characters who may or may not be Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, depending on which version you play.
Why should I care? Guerrilla War is the Ikari Warriors successor people wanted but perhaps never played, as opposed to the two official sequels they got and probably didn't like; a lot of the post-Ikari loop lever games coasted on spectacle or felt wildly unpolished, but I'd say Guerrilla War is the most conventionally well-designed of the bunch and is perhaps the easiest game in this tiny niche to recommend.
SNK 40th Anniversary Collection crossover watch: This game's also on SNK40th, alongside its fantastic, in-house NES/Famicom adaptation.
- Platform: Nintendo Switch (Japan)
- Price: ¥500
- Publisher: G-MODE
What's this? A crossword-style puzzle game in which players swap the position of katakana characters on the board in order to complete words, originally released for Japanese feature phones by G-MODE in 2008; the game includes time, score and free-play modes with online leaderboards.
Why should I care? I'm sure y'all can see the appeal of the premise and central mechanic, even if you can't actually read and therefore play the game itself.
Useless fact: This game is part of a broad series of language- and logic-based games starring mascot "Hina-chan", one of which (the nonogram puzzle game Pucchin Puzzle) was released as part of G-MODE Archives several months ago.
- Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC via battle.net (worldwide)
- Price: $19.99 or equivalent
- Publisher: Blizzard / Digital Eclipse
What's this? A surprise collection that dropped at the end of last week, developed by the emulation specialists Digital Eclipse; this collection features three of Blizzard's more beloved pre-Warcraft games — 1993's Rock n' Roll Racing and The Lost Vikings and 1994's Blackthorne, none of which are arcade games — in multiple variants, including some some newly-produced and significantly-enhanced versions, each equipped with rewind, save states, playable replays, multi-language localization and more, with the collection bolstered by a sound test and a ton of archival and interview material. (This game is included with every tier of Blizzard Celebration Collection on PC, and there's also a Blizzard 30th Celebration bundle available on consoles that adds a bunch of exclusive items for other Blizzard games, should you desire them. )
Which games are included? Rock 'n Roll Racing comes in SNES and Genesis variants alongside a 4-player SNES version and a "definitive edition" that runs in widescreen, includes genuine versions of the classic rock songs licensed/"homaged" in the original soundtrack and a new announcer voice, among other things; The Lost Vikings comes in SNES and Genesis variants alongside a "definitive edition" that merges the unique extra content from the Genesis version back into the SNES version; Blackthorne comes in SNES and 32X versions, with the "definitive edition" being the SNES version with an automap, pretty much.
Why should I care? This collection doesn't come anywhere near close to making up for the travesty that was the Warcraft III remaster but it does lavish a baffling amount of care and attention on games that the unimaginative among us might consider unworthy of such commemoration, and that ought to be celebrated no matter the content or the circumstances. (That said: where's Lost Vikings 2, I wonder....)
Helpful tip: RnRR's "definitive" soundtrack is not DCMA-friendly, so bear that in mind if you plan on streaming your time with the collection. (I haven't checked so forgive me if I'm wrong but I feel Digital Eclipse may have snuck a few extra songs onto the soundtrack for the hell of it, too.)
- Platform: PlayStation 4 (worldwide)
- Price: $19.99 each or equivalent
- Publisher: Night Dive Studios
What're these? Long-awaited ports of Night Dives' two Turok remasters, which already made the jump from N64 to PC, Switch and Xbox One some time ago; these versions include 4K support and gyro aiming, and Turok 2's online multiplayer supports cross-play with the Switch version.(Also note: the Switch version has just been patched with online multiplayer. Took 'em long enough!)
Why should I care? Turok 2 is one of an incredibly small handful of console-exclusive FPS games of its era that offered something both distinct from and of equivalent quality to its PC counterparts, and freeing it from the constraints of the N64 alone was enough to make it a comfortable experience for the players of today, let alone all the thoughtful enhancements made for the remaster. The first one's fine, I guess.
Helpful tip: These games were intended to launch with a discounted bundle but, due to their somewhat abrupt release, the bundle isn't ready yet, so maybe wait a few days if you'd like to save some money.
WAIT THIS IS STILL HAPPPENING
System Shock remake demo
Could this tumultuous crowdfunded remake have finally found its way? Alongside pre-order pages for various PC storefronts, Night Dive Studios has offered up what they assure people will be the final demo of their System Shock remake before their planned release this summer — and if it wins you over, pre-ordering will get you System Shock 2: Enhanced Edition for your trouble.