Retro Re-release Roundup, week of November 24, 2022

Taito's shinin' queen makes the jump from Saturn.

Y'know what I'm thankful for, Retronauts? Another excuse to listen to the catchiest tune in the Taito pantheon.



  • Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4
  • Price: $7.99 / €6.99 / £6.29
  • Publisher: Hamster / Namco

What's this? A vertical fixed-screen space shooter in the post-Space Invaders mold, originally developed and distributed in arcades by Namco in 1979, with countless ports and reissues since; move side-to-side, fire single shots at formations of increasingly-aggressive enemy ships, you know the drill.

Why should I care? It has color! Space Invaders didn't have color.

Useless fact: This is the first pre-1980 game to hit Arcade Archives, and is being released as one half of a special commemoration by Hamster for reaching three hundred weeks of weekly ACA releases, with the other being their first 32-bit arcade release, out next week...


Megami Tensei Gaiden Last Bible New Testament III: Mugen no Eiyuu

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch (Japan)
  • Price: ¥1800
  • Publisher: G-MODE / Atlus

What's this? The third and final entry in Atlus' mobile-exclusive Last Bible sub-series, originally released for Japanese feature phones in 2010; this entry features the descendents of certain characters from the previous entry and includes new means of acquiring demons on top of the familiar negotiation system, as well as the introduction of the series mainstay COMP device.

Why should I care? Where the previous game pulled the series away from the tone of other Last Bible entries and into its own peculiar zone, this one is said to bridge back to more traditional Megaten lore; it's also yet another leap forward in terms of volume, and is allegedly quite a beefy game by regular, not-just-for-phones standards.

Helpful tip: Neither G-MODE nor Atlus has hinted at future reissues of other Atlus feature phone games (of which there are many exciting candidates), but these Last Bible New Testament releases seem to have done relatively well, so here's hoping...


Cleopatra Fortune

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox, PC via Steam (worldwide)
  • Price: $14.99 or equivalent
  • Publisher: City Connection / Taito

What's this? An emulated reissue of the Sega Saturn port of Taito falling-block puzzle game Cleopatra Fortune, originally released in arcades in 1995 and further ported to Sony PlayStation and Sega Dreamcast; in addition to standard S-Tribute features like a CRT filter, save states, slow-mo and rewind, this version adds specific tweaks for on-the-fly adjustment of difficulty and the falling speed of the blocks, an unlimited-credits option and immediate, full access to every stage in the port's secondary puzzle-centric Mystery Mode.

Why should I care? Cleopatra Fortune' unique conceit of encasing gems rather than simply matching colors or forming shapes gives it a slightly different hook to other, comparable games, and the port itself had so little lag that the additional delay added by the Saturn emulator will probably remain within the realm of tolerability, I hope. 

Useless fact: Before the version seen here, Cleopatra Fortune began its life as an ultra-compact downloadable game for Taito's Japanese networked karaoke machine, X-55


Blade of Darkness

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch (worldwide)
  • Price: $14.99 or equivalent
  • Publisher: QubicGames

What's this? A port of Rebel Act Studio's multi-character, high-fantasy action-adventure game, originally published for PC by Codemasters in 2001 (including under the titles Severance: Blade of Darkness or Edge of Darkness in certain territories); aside from UI, resolution and general performance tweaks, this seems to be a fairly straightforward reissue with no tweaks or modifications to the original game's notoriously challenging combat systems beyond mapping the actions to controller buttons.

Why should I care? Rebel Act claims this game is an "enduring classic" that "inspired many games in the action-adventure genre through its approach to combat" and while I suspect that probably isn't true (especially when the implication seems to be that the Souls series might be one of them), in the spirit of thanksgiving, I'm gonna let 'em have this one.

Helpful tip: This new port actually showed up on Steam a year ago —  perhaps, like myself, you missed it due to it no longer being named Severance.

NEW Joe & Mac - Caveman Ninja (November 25)

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch (worldwide)
  • Price: $29.99 or equivalent
  • Publisher: Microids / Mr. Nutz Studio

What's this? A remake of Data East's comical co-op sidescroller, originally released in arcades in 1991 and ported to a variety of contemporary systems including Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis/Mega Drive, NES, Game Boy, Commodore Amiga and DOS; in addition to the all-new high-definition 2D graphics, this version —  developed by the French Mr. Nutz Studio, the developers behind recent releases like the Toki HD remake and Asterix & Obelix: Slap them All! — promises improved controls, both an arcade-complaint main mode and an extended mode with more content, and additional features like score attack, speedrun mode, boss rush and a training mode. (This remake's also coming to PS4 & PS5, as well as retail, but it seems the digital Switch version's getting an advance release, with the other options dropping from early December.)

Why should I care? This remake was originally announced way back in 2009(!) by the notoriously inept and long-defunct publisher Golgoth Studio, so if for no other reason, this release should be applauded as a testament to the developers' tenacity to finally see it through after many, many years of unfortunate setbacks. As for the remake itself... well, we're about due for a wave of XBLA-remake nostalgia, I suppose.

Useless fact: For reasons known only to those involved, Data East IP holder G-MODE and Japanese studio Lambda Planning saw fit to promote this remake with an officially-licensed Joe & Mac tabletop adaptation using the 5e D&D ruleset.

Super Kick Off

  • Platform: PC via Steam (worldwide)
  • Price: $11.99 or equivalent
  • Publisher: Pixel Games UK

What's this? An emulated collection of the five console-specific adaptations (Super Nintendo, Sega Mega Drive, Sega Master System, Sega Game Gear and Game Boy) of Dino Dini and Anco Software's extremely popular early-'90s football series, Kick Off, originally developed for the Commodore Amiga and Atari ST computers; these ports are presented with a few basic display options, button mapping and controller support, as well as save states.

Why should I care? The Kick Off series is one with a simple yet extremely idiosyncratic feel to dribbling and passing and one that, between the mainline numbered sequels, the various conversions and the multiple spiritual sequels from Dino Dini and others, has never managed to quite standardie the exact feel from game to game, so it's nice that this package doesn't try to present any one version as the canonical option and instead just dumps a whole bunch of 'em on ya and lets you decide which one is the most fun.

Helpful tip: For whatever it's worth, the Master System and Game Gear adaptations seem to be very direct conversions of Kick Off 2 without any of the embellishments or deviations of the other versions.


E.X. Troopers (PS3/3DS) translation patch by Fan Translators International

Released to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the game's original, Japan-only release, this new, long-requested patch translates both the 3DS and PS3 versions of Capcom's E.X. Troopers, an anime-inspired spinoff of their hard-edged survival action series Lost Planet that was said to be nigh-impossible to officially localize due to technical/logistical issues, and also alleged to be constructed from the remnants of the ingloriously-canceled Mega Man Legends 3. Once patched, either version of the game can be played on authentic hardware or their respective emulators, and the multiplayer functionality (online on PS3, local wireless on 3DS) remains intact.


Battletoads vs. Double Dragon (SNES) cartridge reprint from Retro-Bit

  • Price: $54.99 / €69.99
  • Availability: orders end December 27; ETA spring 2023

Naturally, the Battletoads & Double Dragon NES reissue released earlier this year prompted a cavalcade of requests for the 16-bit version, and so Retro-Bit have dutifully followed suit with an extremely green reprint of the Super Nintendo version. Expect the Genesis/Mega Drive version around Easter, I guess.

Gley Lancer (Sega Genesis/Mega Drive)cartridge reprint from Retro-Bit

  • Price: $54.99 / €69.99
  • Availability: orders end December 27; ETA spring 2023

Of all the games to receive not one but multiple boutique cartridge reprints, I wouldn't have necessarily picked Masaya's Japan-only Mega Drive shooting game Gley Lancer as an obvious candidate, but here it is again with yet another cartridge reissue, this one boasting a full English translation (and, perhaps more crucially, internals supplied and constructed by someone other than Columbus Circle).


Phantasy Star IV (Sega Mega Drive/Genesis) vinyl soundtracks from Ship to Shore PhonoCo. & pals

  • Price: $40 or equivalent
  • Availability: ETA Q2 2023

Closing out Ship to Shore's recent run of Phantasy Star series vinyl is this new LP release for the classic series' swansong, Phantasy Star IV, complete with liner notes from Retronauts' own Jeremy Parish; as per usual, StS' own "Rika Pink" version is augmented by clear variants from international distributors in USA, Canada, United Kingdom and Europe.


Arcade Archives Nintendo sale (Nintendo Switch) — 30# off Nintendo games until December 14

As part of their 300-week celebration, Hamster's finally offering a half-decent selection of Arcade Archives discounts for Switch owners: all twenty or so Nintendo arcade titles are 30% off for the next few weeks. (My quick recommendations: Sky Skipper, as it's literally not available anywhere else; Vs. Wrecking Crew or Balloon Fight for being the Vs. System games with the most pronounced differences from their Famicom/NES counterparts, and Punch-Out!!, because it's fun to punch stuff.)

Krikzz' Black Friday Everdrive sale: 10% off all products for the next week

Before you criticize Krikzz' traditional, once-a-year Everdrive sale for offering only a relatively modest discount, or for being poorly stocked, bear in mind that Krikzz was, until very recently, situated in Ukraine. (Also, take note of the RGB Blaster, a new plug-and-play RGB+audio out option for Famicom.)