Retro Re-release Roundup, week of February 29, 2024

Kyle Katarn's first outing is reborn for a new generation.

On the periphery of this week's roundup, dear readers, are several new games that'll definitely pique your interest: Ufouria 2, the unlikely roguelite-infused sequel to Sunsoft's Japan/Europe-exclusive NES/FC game Ufouria (Hebereke), developed by Sunsoft themselves as part of the opening salvo for their return to the traditional home gaming space; Shiren the Wanderer 6, the first brand-new entry in Chunsoft's cult console roguelike series since 2015 and one that's currently setting series sales records in Japan; and last but not least, Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, the second part of a game that's so liberal with its interpretation of the original Final Fantasy VII that I hesitate to even categorize it as a remake.


War of Aero

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

What's this? A vertically-scrolling sci-fi shooting game, originally developed by Allumer and distributed under dubious conditions in Japanese and Asian arcades in 1992; from the aesthetic to the pod system to the fastidious game design full of high-durability enemies, this game borrows liberally from Irem's Image Fight, but also offers a few new ideas including the ability to switch between different ship modes and the ability to combine ships with the second player. (The Arcade Archives versions has some handy optional settings to reduce input lag and improve performance.)

Why should I care? Allumer's shooting games were known for both being extremely derivative of other, popular games and for varying wildly in quality, but War of Aero's one of the better ones: sure, it's at least 80% Image Fight, but successfully executing on that particular style of exacting design is nothing to be sniffed at, and the new ideas it does introduce keep it out of the realm of straight parody. (It's also a damn sight easier, which I'm sure many will appreciate.)

Useless fact: War of Aero seems to have been developed using Tecmo-designed arcade hardware and planned to be distributed in arcades by Tecmo themselves, but the actual release of the game is murkier, with the most widely-spread conclusion being that Allumer secretly negotiated to have a Taiwanese company produce the PCBs and back-door them into Japan in order to sell them on their own terms. (That Taiwanese company was later shut down for being a heavy source of bootlegged arcade boards.)


Star Wars Dark Forces Remaster

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox, PC via Steam (worldwide)
  • Price: $29.99 or equivalent
  • Publisher: Lucasarts / Nightfive Studios

What's this? A remaster of the first-ever Star Wars first-person shooter, originally developed by LucasGames for PC and Mac in 1995 and ported to the PlayStation in 1996; this Nightdive-produced remaster offers a resolution/framerate boost of up to 4K/120FPS ands adds modern lighting and post-processing effects, redrawn higher-resolution assets, gamepad support, the restoration of cut/unfinished content, remastered cutscenes constructed with new assets, achievements and more.

Why should I care? I am confronted with this question whenever a Star Wars-related thing enters my periphery and I have yet to find a satisfactory answer to this question, but in this case I can say that those with a particular soft spot for the Build Engine style of classic FPS might be surprised by just how many of the technical features and advancements touted by the likes of Duke Nukem 3D were pioneered with this game.

Helpful tip: Unlike many of Nightdive's other remasters, owners of the original game on Steam won't get this version for free.

Picross S+

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch (worldwide)
  • Price: $4.99 or equivalent, plus $4.99 for each puzzle pack
  • Publisher: Jupiter

What's this? A contemporary version of the Picross e series of Jupiter's long-running nonogram puzzle series, originally released exclusively for the 3DS eShop from 2011 to 2018; the base app includes the content from the original Picross e, presented in the modern Picross S engine, with the option to purchase the content from Picross e2 through e9 as individual DLC. (Each pack has roughly 300 puzzles, split between standard picross, Mega Picross and the occasional Clip Picross.)

Why should I care? You want to offer in-principle support to more modern reissues of 3DS eShop-exclusive games, or you absolutely needs ~2500 new picrosses to play right now.

Helpful tip: Picross S does not offer any of the content from the Club Nintendo-exclusive games, nor themed spinoffs like Zelda or Sanrio.


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Hyperstone Heist (Sega Genesis/Mega Drive) soundtracks via Limited Run Games

  • Price: $14.99 (cassette) / $17.99 (CD) / $31.99 (black vinyl) / $39.99 (limited green ooze vinyl)
  • Availability: from March 1, 10AM Eastern to March 30, 23:59

LRG's series of classic Konami TMNT soundtrack releases has reached the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Hyperstone Heist, the Sega-exclusive, arbitrarily-remixed conversion of Turtles in Time... which, of course, means that you'll be very familiar with most of these tunes if you've picked up the arcade and/or SNES Turtles in Time soundtracks, but sometimes there's just no beating that YM2612 sound, I suppose. The soundtrack's available in cassette, CD and vinyl formats, with the green vinyl variant limited to 1000 copies.