Retro Re-release Roundup, week of September 15, 2022
Treasure's legendary Saturn shooter re-emerges for a new generation.
There's something bittersweet, dear readers, about every occasional reissue from the Treasure oeuvre: Treasure themselves owned and controlled very few of their games and the company itself exists as a mere shell to continue managing the few licenses it does own, so one can interpret re-releases like this new Radiant Silvergun port as either a faint sign of life or a lingering death twitch, and until the company formally goes under, nobody will ever quite know which is which. Until then, keep banging your forks and knives on the dinner table for more Bangai-O and hope for the best.
- Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 (worldwide)
- Price: $7.99 / €6.99 / £6.29
- Publisher: Hamster / Namco
What's this? An overhead maze game starring a doofy dude in a straw hat on a quest to save his kidnapped girlfriend from demons, originally released in Japanese arcades in 1989 and ported to PlayStation via the Japan-exclusive Namco Museum Encore compilation, with a later emulated reissue on the Japanese Wii Virtual Console. The player is tasked with collecting all the keys in each stage; the mazes are littered with walls that can be pushed and toppled by player and enemy alike, causing a domino-like effect with other walls or otherwise crushing whatever they happen to land on.
Why should I care? The basic premise is dressed up in a straightforwardly cute way, complete with occasional interstitial art and plentiful voice samples, and despite often being described as a puzzle game, the game doesn't really demand any degree of lateral thinking or exacting methods to clear any particular maze.
Useless fact: One of the reasons this game was not proliferated overseas may be that one of the enemy variants routinely stops to take a drag from a cigarette. (Another reason may be that it generally wasn't popular.)
- Platform: Nintendo Switch (worldwide, sort of)
- Price: $19.99 or equivalent
- Publisher: Live Wire / Treasure
What's this? A surprise Switch port of the Xbox 360 remaster of Treasure's dense, RPG-esque vertical shooting game Radiant Silvergun, originally released in Japanese arcades in 1998, with a Japan-only Sega Saturn port released soon thereafter; ported by Live Wire, this version largely conforms to the X360 version and features enhanced textures and effects, a training mode, online leaderboards, replay sharing and a new mode tha allows you to play with the game system of Treasure's later shooting game, Ikaruga, now unlocked by clearing either the arcade or story mode. (The game was almost immediately pulled from the North America eShop, seemingly due to ESRB ratings issues, but it should be back soon.)
Why should I care? Beyond the mere fact that it's a reissue of a post-Mega Drive Treasure game that isn't Ikaruga, Radiant Silvergun is an extremely methodical game that requires the player to not only know which of their many weapons to use at any given moment but how to optimally deploy them in order to level them up, while also juggling the several interlocking scoring systems — it was made as a deliberate contrast to the more aggressive and frenetic bullet hell games of its day, and even now, there are very few games that offer a similar experience, mechanically or otherwise. (This port does currently suffer from various audio issues, so you may want to wait on a patch.)
Useless fact: Hiroshi Iuchi, creator of both Radiant Silvergun and Ikaruga, currently works at the emulation studio M2 and has been working on a followup titled Ubusana for the better part of the last decade, but recent reports suggest it might finally be going into full production after years of budget-related stagnation.
- Platform::PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox (worldwide)
- Price: $14.99 or equivalent
- Publisher: WayForward Technologies / Limited Run Games
What's this? An emulated reissue of the somewhat obscure Super Famicom Kunio-kun entry Shin Nekketsu Kouha: Kunio-tachi no Banka, dressed up here to emphasize its ties to WayForward's recent popular gaiden title, River City Girls; in addition to offering a translated version of the original game with Kunio- or River City-flavored scripts, this version also includes a new animated intro, interstitial comic-style cutscenes and additional music, all with the River City Girls aesthetic.
Why should I care? This particular Kunio-kun game was one of a very small handful of follow-ups that tried to adhere to the less silly and more straightforward tack established by the very first arcade game and as such, it may not feature nearly as many of the signature systems or gimmicks that one might expect coming from River City Girls or even River City Ransom, but that not-entirely-intentional misalignment is something that both River City Girls and River City Girls Zero don't shy away from, for better or worse, so maybe your expectations have already been sufficiently tempered.
Helpful tip: If you'd rather hold out for a PC version, you'll only have to wait a week.
FINALLY, MASTER SYSTEM GAMES ON STEAM
Following in the time-honored tradition of Yakuza (sorry, Like a Dragon) games using long-request Sega ports as minigame fodder, the just-released Lost Judgment PC port contains a dozen or so emulated Master System games (including those relegated to DLC on consoles), most of which need to be manually discovered before they can be played and all of which would be welcome for general purchase but probably never will be because Sega's gotta Sega.
LIMITED-EDITION PHYSICAL PRINT RUNS
Valis: The Fantasm Soldier Collection II(Switch) physical run & merch from Limited Run Games
- Price: $44.99 (standard edition) / $89.99 (collectors edition) / $59.99 (3LP vinyl OST) / $74.99 (skateboard deck) /$29.99 (wall scroll) / $5.99 (trading cards)
- Availability: open pre-order from September 16, 10:00 Eastern until September October 16, 23:59 Eastern
Edia's first crowdfunded Valis collection was such a hit that they very quickly and successfully crowdfunded a second one, and while many could and have argued that there's little justification for these particular games — Valis IV for PC Engine, the comical super-deformed Mega Drive game Syd of Valis and the MSX and Mega Drive versions of the original Valis, already present in PC Engine form on the previous collection — to warrant a second collection to themselves, it's here and it'll look good sitting on a shelf, won't it? (The digital version aunches in Japan next week and will eventually be released internationally; the previous release also came alongside standalone digital releases for each game in the collection, so you may be able to limit yourself to select games if you'd prefer.)