Retro Re-release Roundup, week of August 25, 2022
This is Pac-Man's world once again, and we're all just living in it.
The headliner for this week's update, dear readers, is a remake of one of the standout games from a very specific movement of platformer reinventions of characters that weren't necessarily destined for platformer success, and one might imagine it might inspire revivals of other games in its ilk... but the only one that springs to mind is the wretched Frogger PS2 platformer, so on second thought, let's hope this is a one-and-done.
Super Volley Ball
- Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 (worldwide)
- Price: $7.99 / €6.99 / £6.29
- Publisher: Hamster / Video System
What's this? The first entry in Video System's side-view volleyball series, originally released in arcades by Data East in 1989 and ported to Sega Mega Drive/Genesis and PC Engine/Turbografx-16, with a later emulation-based reissue on PlayStation 2 in 2005; this game presents volleyball in a side-view format, presented as a relatively realistic world cup between all your favorite late-'80s sporting juggernauts, complete with thinly-veiled imitations of contemporary athletes.
Why should I care? Given that most of the volleyball games of this era used a more overhead angle, you'd be forgiven for thinking this particular series might be some sort of quirky experiment or abberation, but the simple two-button controls combined with the side-view perspective allow for a very snappy and unambigous game that offers immediate fun.
Useless fact: You might know this series better by the international name for its arcade sequels, Power Spikes, or the SNES entry Hyper V'Ball. (The final entry in the series, Power Spikes II, has been available on Arcade Archives Neogeo for quite a while.)
- Platform: Playstation 4+5, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, PC via Steam (worldwide)
- Price: $29.99 or equivalent
- Publisher: Bandai-Namco
What's this? A remake of Namco Homotek's Pac-Man World, a 1999 PlayStation game that mixes 3D platforming with occasional maze-y bits; this remake sports completely new visual, remade cutscenes (now starring alternate members of Pac-Man's family due to legal disputes with the owners of Ms. Pac-Man), redesigned boss fights, a new easy mode, additional moves for Pac-Man and more. (The Switch version runs at 30FPS and up to 1080p, whereas the other versions run at 60FPS and up to 4K resolution.)
Why should I care? Pac-Man World was never an especially ambitious game but it offered a more-or-less linear 3D platformer in an era bereft of them, and the game's many minor shortcomings (certain boss fights chief among them) seem to have been addressed by this remake, at least nominally.
Helpful tip: One change for this remake is that rescuing Pac-Man's family is now optional — clearing the game without them leads one to the game's original "bad" ending, whereas rescuing them all allows one to see a new "good" ending that I fail to believe will be anywhere near as entertaining, but y'all tell me.
EARLY ACCESS UPDATES
Wizardry: The Five Ordeals (Itsushi no Shiren) English scenario update (Steam)
This remaster of the final Japan-only Wizardry Gaiden title has been available on Steam Early Access for several month now, and this update adds the long-awaited English translation of the game's five official scenarios, making it virtually complete to those with no interest in creating or playing user-generated content... and for those who are interested in making or playing user-generated content, you'll be glad to know that the original game's scenario editor, which was delayed indefinitely due to legal complications with a certain rights holder of classic Wizardry titles, is now back on the agenda and will be released in the future as a web-based application.
LIMITED-EDITION PHYSICAL PRINT RUNS
Ninja JaJaMaru cartridge reissues (NES, SNES, Game Boy Color) from Strictly Limited Games
- Price: 39.99€ (Game Boy) / 49.99€ (NES, SNES)
- Availability: limited to 4000 copies (Game Boy) / 2400 copies (NTSC NES/SNES) / 1600 copies (PAL NES/SNES)
If digital collections aren't your thing, you'll be glad to know that Strictly Limited Games has followed up last week's Ninja JaJaMaru Collection orders with separate orders for the games newly added to their international version of the collection: a SNES version of Super Ninja-kun (NTSC / PAL), translated NES versions of the Famicom games Ninja JaJaMaru: Ninpouchou (NTSC / PAL) and Ninja JaJaMaru Gekimaden (NTSC / PAL) and a newly-colorized Game Boy Color version of Oira JaJaMaru! (aka Maru's Mission).
Shantae (PS5, PS4) physical versions from Limited Run Games
- Price: $34.99 (standard) / $84.99 (collectors' edition)
- Availability: open pre-order from August 26, 10:00 Eastern
Shantae's 20th-anniversary run continues with disc versions of the emulated reissue of the GBC original for both PS4 and PS5, complete with customary collectors edition. (Some of the more egregious extras you'd expect from a LRG release, like Shantae-themed skateboard decks and POGS, are available for separate purchase.)