Retro Re-release Roundup, week of December 8, 2022
Rumble, then grumble.
An end-of-week reminder for those who might need it: y'all don't gotta watch a goddamned thing.
- Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4
- Price: $7.99 / €6.99 / £6.29
- Publisher: Hamster / Namco
What's this? Pac-Man's fifth mainline outing, originally developed and distributed in arcades by Namco in 1987, ported to the MSX2, Sharp X68000, NES and Sega Genesis and reissued in emulated form on a plethora of formats; this game very conspicously differentiates itself from prior entries via the adoption of a new pseudo-3D, three-quarters perspective and the ability to jump with the press of a button.
Why should I care? Pac-Man's exceedingly difficult to screw up, as it turns out.
Look at this flyer: Go on, look at it.
- Platform: PlayStation 4/5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox (worldwide)
- Price: $7.99 or equivalent
- Publisher: QUByte Interactive / Piko Interactive
What's this? A Suikoden/Outlaws of the Marsh-themed brawler with unabashed similarities to Capcom's Knights of the Round, originally developed by Taiwanese devs Never Ending Soft Team and released without license for Sega Mega Drive in 1996 under the title Shui Hu Feng Yun Zhuan and later reissued on cartridge and PC by Piko Interactive with a new localized title and some slight content alterations; this console version includes basic screen options, save states and little else.
Why should I care? Any admiration you might hold for the craftsmanship of this unlicensed game will be eroded within five or ten minutes, but if you're someone who enjoys playing spot-the-stolen-assets, you'll find more than enough to justify at least one, multi-hour playthrough.
Useless fact: As with many unlicensed Mega Drive games, the sound driver and instruments were "borrowed" from Data East's High Seas Havoc, with most of the sound effects taken directly from the likes of Streets of Rage 2 and Golden Axe (and lowered in pitch by Piko, because that's apparently all it takes to make them legally airtight).
Idol Janshi Suchie-Pai Saturn Tribute
- Platform: Nintendo Switch (Japan)
- Price: ¥1980 (II / Special + Remix / Mecha Genteiban) / ¥2970 (Doki Doki Nightmare) / ¥6930 (standard physical) / ¥15950 (special edition) / ¥29700 (super deluxe edition)
- Publisher: City Connection / Jaleco
What're these? Emulated reissues of the four Sega Saturn entries in Jaleco's cult erotic mahjong series Idol Janshi Suchie-Pai, augmented with save states, a rewind feature and godly rays of decency that obscure many of the raunchier animations; each of the four titles — Idol Janshi Suchie-Pai II, Idol Janshi Suchie-Pai Special+Remix, Idol Janshi Suchie-Pai Mecha Genteiban and the adventure/minigame spinoff Suchie-Paid Adventure: Doki Doki Nightmare can be purchased individually on the eShop, while the various physical versions include all four, plus many other bonus items of dubious taste.
Why should I care? Damn near every game and series within this particular subgenre of horny arcade-borne titles is declared by hardcore fans to have more to offer than surface-level tittilation, and in this case, they might actually be onto something: this was a series that seemed to find a broader popularity in spite of, and parallel to, its tackier gimmicks, and one that non-horny folk could probably find value with today (provided they can read and speak Japanese, of course). Beyond all that, this was also one of the pivotal series that helped cement the Saturn's short-lived embrace of more explicit content as a point of differentiation against the PlayStation, so if for nothing else, one might appreciate their return inasmuch as it reflects a small but important part of the Saturn's story.
Helpful tip: The special and super-deluxe physical versions include a download code for the fan disc Idol Janshi Suchie-Pai Secret Album, which is not available for individual purchase and will not be made available elsewhere.
Dwarf Fortress (paid version)
- Platform: PC via Steam and itch.io (worldwide)
- Price: $29.99 or equivalent
- Publisher: bay12games / Kitfox Games
What's this? A commercial version of the legendary freeware Rogue-like simulation game Dwarf Fortress, developed tirelessly by brothers Tarn and Zach Adams since 2002 and publicly debuted in 2006; this initial release contains the primary colony-sim Fortress Mode with an updated UI, new music, new tutorials and, most conspicuously, an official graphical tileset in place of the classic ASCII character-based visuals, with immenent plans to incorporate the more RPG-esque Adventure mode and lore-chronicling Legends mode, as well as update the free "classic" version in tandem with the commercial release.
Why should I care? Dwarf Fortress has been described a thousand different ways, with the developers' go-to descriptor of "story engine" being the least confrontational: this game offers a sandbox of unparalleled density and invites you to wrest meaning from it in whatever manner you deem most engaging, and it's likely that you might never play a more audacious simulation game in your lifetime. Also, you can, like, click stuff now.
Helpful tip: This commercial version exists as a direct response to a health scare that befell one of the developers, and the early reviews and discussion on the game's Steam page suggest that a substantial proportion of the hundreds of thousands of early buyers have been waiting for the opportunity to properly compensate the developers for many years of obsessive work (which is estimated to continue for another twenty years!), so you might also want to think and act along those same lines.
- Platform: PlayStation 4+5, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, PC via Steam(worldwide)
- Price: $29.99 or equivalent; $3.99 for each DLC character
- Publisher: 3goo / Dimps
What's this? The first-ever home port of the second and final entry in Dimps' original 2D fighting game series, originally released for Atomiswave arcade hardware in 2005 and notable for its "Smooth Model Animation" style of character rendering which used 3D technology to draw 2D characters with fluid animation and independently-moving limbs; this release is based on the 2012 revision produced for the Nesica arcade platform and adds a training mode, a gallery and online play with rollback netcode.
Why should I care? The port itself isn't much to write home about — the training mode and online suite is bereft of basic functionality, the netcode is adequate at best and they stripped out players from the base game to sell as DLC — but, treated as a local-only experience, or one that could potentially be patched into a satisfactory state, it's a welcome port of both a game and a specific revision that most have never played, as well as an important milestone in the legacy of a developer whose fighting game pedigree bridges both classic SNK and modern-era Street Fighter but has yet to return to the arena of self-produced, self-published fighting games.
Helpful tip: A port of the original The Rumble Fish is being released exclusively via a download code packaged with the physical collector's edition of the game, with no plans to sell it elsewhere... and, considering Xbox and PC aren't getting collectors editions, those platforms might be completely out of luck.
GET EM WHILE YOU CAN
Sega and M2's stereoscopic 3D conversion of the arcade classic After Burner II, as well as the download version of the physical compilation Sega 3D Fukkoku Archives 3 FINAL STAGE, which contains After Burner II alongside several other games, are set to be delisted on December 21 — this delisting notice has only been announced in Japan so far, but the presumption is that they're being delisted early due to a license expiration concerning After Burner's F14 Tomcat, so the international versions of 3D After Burner II are probably set to be pulled as well. (For a rundown of what makes this port unique and the many exclusive games on the Archives 3 collection, check the rundown.)
SOUNDTRACKS & VINYL
- Ship to Shore PhonoCo. sale until December 9 00:00 Eastern
Just as the banner says: use the code HOLIDAY40 to claim 40% off any in-stock soundtrack; at a glance, in-stock soundtracks include Klonoa 1 & 2, Darius II, Gradius ReBirth, both Mega Man Legends soundtracks, Tales of Symphonia and Breath of Fire soundtracks I through III.