Retro Release Round-up, week of September 14, 2017

SNK's controversial Neo Geo swansong makes its console debut. (Update: now with more Dracula!)

More Neo Geo/Turbografx-16 goodness this week, the centrepiece being an online-enabled re-release of the elusive uncut version of a fan-favorite Samurai Shodown game.... and for those of you who've had your fill of arcade games, Pokemon Gold & Silver are coming next week, so hold tight.

(Update: out of nowhere, Arcade Archives Haunted Castle!)


Haunted Castle

  • Platform: Playstation 4 (North America, Europe)
  • Price: $7.99 / €6.99 / £6.29
  • Publisher: Hamster

What's this? Released simply as Akumajou Dracula in Japan, Haunted Castle he first Castlevania game designed and released specifically for arcades; the Arcade Archives release is the first time the game has been released outside of Japan since the original 1988 arcade version.

Why should I care? The soundtrack was composed by Castlevania II composer Kenichi Matsubara and the tunes are a catchy distraction from, well, everything else.

Helpful tip: Arcade Archives allow you to switch between several different ROM versions for each game; for the sake of your health, switch to the Japanese version as soon as possible. Haunted Castle is not a fair game.


Spin Master

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

What's this? A globe-trotting action/platform game from Data East with lots of wacky weapons and colorful, cartoony visuals in the vein of Joe & Mac or Tumblepop. (It's also Data East's first Neo Geo game.)

Why should I care? You're looking for a quick, breezy clear for you and a buddy that offers the moment-to-moment spectacle
of a Metal Slug game with none of the stress. It's Joe & Mac meets Indiana Jones!

Useless fact: Spin Master's playable duo bear an extreme resemblance to the player-characters from an obscure US-only Sega
Genesis released called Dashin' Desperadoes, but the two games don't seem to be formally connected in any way and don't
share much beyond the fact that they're both sidescrollers. Was one game supposed to pave the way for the other? Did a
producer have an inexplicable fondness for these unassuming characters? Who knows.


Vigilante (Turbografx-16)

  • Platform: Nintendo Wii U
  • Price: $5.99
  • Publisher: Konami / Irem

What's this? A port of Irem's 1988 single-place arcade brawler; mechanically, it's a spiritual sequel to the earlier Kung-
Fu Master, but the aesthetic is pure late-'80s bare-knuckle violence.

Why should I care? You're a sucker for classic arcade urban justice and you're not bothered by a short clear time.

Helpful tip: If you leave the bosses alone for too long they'll eventually start to regenerate health, so don't let up!


Samurai Shodown V Special

  • Platform: Playstation 4, Playstation Vita (cross-buy, cross-play)
  • Price: $14.99
  • Publisher: SNK / Code Mystics

What's this? The final Neo Geo entry in SNK's series of ultra-ruthless samurai fighting games, and the final official Neo Geo release; the Special revision was both for containing a plethora of gruesome finishing moves that were hastily removed before release as a response to a violent stabbing incident in Japan. This particular package was developed by Code Mystics and features online play as well as training modes, an art gallery and other extra features like a toggle for the level of in-game violence and blood.

Why should I care? Samurai Shodown V Special was the Neo Geo's swansong and one of the most enduring fighting games SNK ever produced, and this particular release marks the first time the original uncut version has been made available for home consoles. (The practice mode is censored due to a bug, but the violence is present in the other mode; it'll be fixed soon. Settle down, splatterfiends.)

Useless fact: Samurai Shodown V, V Special and VI were not developed by SNK but by a studio called Yuki Enterprise that mostly specialized in shogi games; that particular development group later spun off into their own studio named Examu and they continue to develop fighting games to this day, including the popular Arcana Heart series.


Capcom x Sega x Atlus Humble Bundle

  • Platform: PC, Mac, Linux (worldwide)
  • Discount: pay what you want for select assortments of Capcom, Sega and Atlus titles until September 26

The Capcom/Sega/Atlus love-in has spread to the Humble Store, giving you the chance to pick up PC ports of some classic
games for next to to nothing. Sonic Adventure 2 for $1! Beat the average (currently a little under $7) for Resident Evil 4
and Dead Rising!

Bandai Namco Xbox Sale

  • Platform: Xbox One, Xbox 360
  • Discount: up to 75% off select Bandai Namco-published titles until September 18

Bandai Namco's sale extends to several downloadable legacy releases, including Pac-Man Championship Edition DX+ and Pac-Man
Championship Edition 2, Galaga Legions and Soulcalibur 2 HD Online.