Retro Re-release Roundup, week of February 2, 2023

Double puzzle trouble.

I'm sure that some of you aren't likely to recognize or react to the image or title presented in the thumbnail of this week's roundup, so allow me to present you with this ever-so-slightly-more-memorable alternative in the hopes that it might jog your memory...



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

What's this? A vertically-scrolling shooting game with a loose Greek mythology motif, originally developed and distributed in arcades by Namco in 1989 and known better internationally for its Sega Genesis/Mega Drive conversion; players are put in control of the pegasus-riding Apollo and sent on a quest to rescue his love interest Artemis, with the tried-and-true standard/charge-shot mechanics punctuated by between-stage intermissions featuring full-screen art and voiced dialog from Artemis, as well as the heavy use of scaling and rotation effects that typified games produced for System II arcade hardware.

Why should I care? You want to compare and contrast with the significantly-altered home conversion, or you're willing to struggle through a deceptively tough game to see a bunch of screens that might've passed as risque to turn-of-the-'90s arcade rats but wouldn't even register as noteworthy nowadays.

Useless fact: The Genesis/Mega Drive version of Phelios is one of the few arcade-to-home conversions to turn up the lewdness rather than tone it down.


Metal Black S-Tribute

  • Platform: Xbox, PC via Steam (worldwide)
  • Price: $7.99 or equivalent
  • Publisher: City Connection / Taito

What's this? An emulated reissue of the Sega Saturn port of Taito's atmospheric sci-fi horizontal shooting game, originally released in arcades in 1991, with recent reissues of the arcade original seen on the Egret II Mini and Hamster's Arcade Archives series; the emulation suite offers the likes of save states, rewind and online leaderboards, but the port itself was and is extremely vanilla.

Why should I care? While this isn't the most noteworthy nor transformative arcade-to-home conversion around, especially nowadays — it's a very faithful and mostly-accurate port with no big tweaks or additions save for autofire — there's bound to be someone out there who specifically wants this version for their own reasons... and for everyone else, you're being presented with a perfectly adequate way of experiencing a bleak, surreal and not-especially-tough game whose influence can be felt across many successive shooting games, including a very pronounced mechanical impact on later Darius games.

Helpful tip: If you have vague memories of this reissue being announced for PS4 and Switch in addition to Xbox and PC, know that they weren't imaginary: City Connection made the very recent decision to cancel this release on those platforms due to significant overlap with (and poor value-for-money when compared to) the Arcade Archives version released a few months ago, and they're also dropping the price of the XB/PC versions to fall in line with the price of the ACA version released elsewhere.

Puzzle Bobble 2X & Puzzle Bobble 3/Bust-A-Move 2: Arcade Edition & Bust-A-Move 3 S-Tribute

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

What's this? An emulated two-pack containing the Sega Saturn ports of Taito's popular and oft-cloned bubble-matching arcade puzzle shooters Puzzle Bobble 2X and Puzzle Bobble 3, alongside their international versions, Bust-A-Move 2: Arcade Edition and Bust-A-Move 3; again, the games themselves haven't been enhanced beyond the emulation suite, but the ports were originally released with additional content that's preserved here, including a stage editor for Puzzle Bobble/Bust-A-Move 2 and the inclusion of ~1000 fan-made stages in Puzzle Bobble 3.

Why should I care? You've played a zillion different versions of this game or derivatives thereof and feel an obligation to pick up what might be the safest and most undilited version/s of the pure Puzzle Bobble experience, before it was modified or diluted in a million different directions for the necessity of wanting to sell a new version every year until the end of time. (City Connection was also considerate enough to bundle the two games but also not use the inclusion of the international variants as an excuse to jack up the price, as they've done with other reissues.)

Helpful tip: The Neo Geo versions of the original Puzzle Bobble and Puzzle Bobble 2 are available via Arcade Archives, but Puzzle Bobble 2's Neo Geo port was a relatively late MVS conversion of the vanilla, non-X game that's not 1:1 with the version from which the Saturn port is derived, even discounting the Saturn-exclusive additions. Puzzle Bobble 3's arcade port isn't available elsewhere and may not be for some time, if ever.


Smash Remix ver1.30 (Nintendo 64) patch by Remix Team

This voluminous hack for the original Smash Bros. just keeps getting bigger, with the latest numbered update adding a somewhat left-of-center character pick: Marina, the player-character from Treasure and Enix's cult shakey-shakey n64 action game, Mischief Makers... and they've also thrown in King Dedede, and bunch of polygon characters and many other additions and tweaks, including some that suggests a Castlevania character in future updates... (This hack requires an Expansion Pak to function on genuine hardware.)


Xbox 360 digital delistings galore (all listed games & DLC to disappear on February 7)

This one's fairly self-explanatory: all these games and/or associated DLC will be pulled from sale for Xbox 360 in just a few days — do note that the games currently available on Xbox One and beyond will continue to be available on those platforms, but several of these games (including heavy-hitters like Daytona USA, Jet Set Radio, Left 4 Dead 2 and Spelunky) were never made backwards-compatible and will probably disappear for good.


A Boy and His Blob Retro Collection (Switch, PS4, PS5, PC) physical editions from Limited Run Games

  • Price: $34.99 (standard) / $64.99 (classic editions)
  • Availability: orders end March 5

I know what you're thinking: yes, they made two of these before the reboot. There was a Game Boy game! 

 (3DO, PC) physical editions from Limited Run Games

  • Price: $64.99 (3DO edition / $49.99 (PC edition)
  • Availability: orders end March 5

Yes, you read that correctly: the original 3DO version of D, Kenji Eno's notorious(ly goofy) interactive horror movie, is getting a physical reissue that includes both the original international release across two discs and the previously Japan-only director's cut across a further three discs, plus a CD soundtrack. They're also offering a PC edition (whose contents are based on the relatively recent reissue of the DOS version, as far as I know) and even a 3DO t-shirt.