Retro Re-release Roundup, week of May 4, 2023

A vintage slab of Tecmo gore splatters onto Arcade Archives.

One has to wonder how Tecmo Knight / Wild Fang, Tecmo's blood-soaked Conan-esque fantasy brawler, managed to make it through the various global ratings systems unscathed, what with CERO's notorious disapproval of decapitation and all... perhaps standards around fantastical depictions of violence are finally starting to loosen? Maybe these classification rulings have always been arbitrary and inconsistent? Y'know what, I'm gonna attribute this to some sort of clerical error.


Tecmo Knight (Wild Fang)

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

What's this? A violent fantasy-themed brawler for one or two players, originally developed and distributed in arcades by Tecmo in 1989 and never ported to home platforms until now; players take on giant creatures from atop one of two steeds — a hulking "smokeman" or a more agile tiger — that can be swapped with the press of a button, with the chance to launch a last-ditch offensive as your comparatively-tiny human warrior if and when your mount is slain in battle.

Why should I care? You're someone who can acclimatize to the control and collision quirks common to pre-Final Fight brawlers, you have a particular affection for the arcade Ninja Gaiden's flippy-dippy nonsense or you just want to decapitate approximately eight thousand monsters in the space of twenty minutes or so.

Helpful tip: Switching mounts comes with a fairly wide window of invincibility and doing so at the right time can make many of the boss fights significantl easier than they might otherwise be.


Valis: The Fantasm Soldier (MSX), Valis: The Fantasm Soldier (Sega Genesis/Mega Drive), Valis IV (PC Engine CD) & Syd of Valis (Sega Genesis/Mega Drive)

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch (worldwide outside of Japan)
  • Price: $15 each or equivalent
  • Publisher: Edia

What're these? Standalone versions of the four games recently compiled in Valis: The Fantasm Soldier Collection IIthe second crowdfunded compilation for the seminal anime-infused magical girl action series Valis; each game comes equipped with save states, button configs, audio and cutscene viewers and scans of the manual, as well as new translated subtitles where relevant. (These dropped last week but lagged behind Nintendo's typical release window, hence why I missed 'em... and when the full collection dropped a few months back, I also forgot to mention it for the exact same reason. My bad, Valis fan.)

Why should I care? I mean, it's cheaper to buy the collection than to buy all four of these games individually, but newcomers in particular are probably only going to want to actually play Valis IV, so one can never complain about the presence of choice.

Useless fact: "Syd of Valis" is a corruption of SD Valis (ie "super-deformed") by somebody who did not want to acknowledge or simply did not understand the meaning of "SD".


Rent-A-Hero No.1 (Sega Dreamcast) fan translation by VincentNL & co.

Sega's wacky action-RPG Rent-A-Hero has officially eluded non-Japanese players on three separate occasions: the Mega Drive port stayed in Japan, the Dreamcast remake was skipped over in order to prioritize an Xbox port, only for said Xbox port to go unrelease despite a localized version being very close to completion; of course, the Englix Xbox prototype has been floating around for well over a decade, and the Mega Drive original has been fan-translated for a few years now, so now the circle is complete with a new fan translation of the Dreamcast version, which does not merely insert the text from the Xbox version but offers a fresh re-translation with other technical improvements specific to this port, as well as some as-yet-unspecified bonuses from the fan translation team...


Irem Collection Vol.1 (Switch, PS4) preorders from Strictly Limited Games

  • Price: €34.99 (standard)
  • Availability: ETA July

Released on Steam and Japanese consoles at the end of last year, City Connection's fresh port of one of the final arcade games from shooting game artisans Cave, the horizontal world-war-II-but-ninjas-but-also-portals bullet hell game Akai Katana is finally making its way to the rest of the world via Limited Run Games (and, in Europe, via Clear River Games, and at retail at that), complete with all the additional features and arranged modes produced for the 2012 Xbox 360 port, as well as a new additional arranged soundtrack from Daisuke Matsumoto. (For those concerned about the quality of the port, given City Connection's somewhat uneven history: it's fine.)