Retro Re-release Roundup, week of Karnovember 23, 2017

Bombs, blades and brawlin'.

As you're tucking into your turkey (or not) this Thanksgiving's Day, please take a moment to pay tribute to your pals at SNK for ensuring not a day goes by without the release of a Neo Geo game on something, somewhere, and to our chums at Konami for deciding November 2017 is the optimal time to start delivering import PC Engine titles on Wii U. Oh, and Sonic 2's free, so that's cool.

(Please note: I haven't included a sweep of the digital offerings for Black Friday because, as retro games go, there simply aren't a ton of noteworthy sales worth highlighting, save perhaps for Nintendo's ever-so-often discounts on Virtual Console games, but by all means, let me know if there's anything out of the ordinary that you believe warrants mentioning.)


Soccer Brawl

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

What's this? A followup of sorts to Super Baseball 2020, Soccer Brawl sees teams of cybernetically-enhanced players beating the crap out of each other, occasionally in pursuit of a soccer ball.

Why should I care? You're looking for a a fast, simple, dumb soccer game with a ton of immediate action and no complexity to speak of.

Helpful tip: You can force the CPU to jump or tackle at any time by pressing buttons on the 2P controller, so long as they aren't currently in possession of the ball.

Karnov Kounter: Nada.


Bomberman: Panic Bomber

  • Platform: PC Engine CD (North America)
  • Price: $5.99
  • Publisher: Konami

What's this? A port of an Puyo Puyo-style arcade versus puzzle game with a Bomberman motif: chain three or more coloured bomber-heads in a straight line to create bombs, use red bombs to create huge chain explosions that send garbage to your opponents' screens.

Why should I care? It's an inoffensive Puyo substitute that supports up to five players in local multiplayer and, to my knowledge, has never been released on Virtual Console before.

Useless fact: Versions of this game have appeared in arcades, on Super Famicom, Japanese computers and even PSP but the only version to ever grace international shores with the single-player-only port for Virtual Boy.

Karnov Kounter: Zip.


River City: Rival Showdown

  • Platform: Nintendo 3DS (North America, Europe)
  • Price: $29.99 / £26.99
  • Publisher: Natsume Inc.

What's this? The latest (and presumably the last) Kunio-kun brawler made for 3DS; unlike more recent entries, this is not a spinoff or homage to an obscure Japanese game: it's a fully-fledged remake of the game known and loved worldwide as River City Ransom that adds, among other things, branching story paths, a day/night cycle, some fun Double Dragon-themed content and a ton of new moves.

Why should I care? Of the many 3DS Kunio-kun games, River City: Rival Showdown is both the most fully-featured and the most mechanically dense, and the entire game can be played with a friend, provided they own their own copy of the game. (The competitive Double Dragon-themed mode can be played with one copy of the game via Download Play.)

Helpful tip: Don't confuse this game with River City Ransom Underground, the other RCR remake for PC — that one was made by a completely different team and, while definitely worth playing, has a very different tone and feel to this 3DS game.

Karnov Kounter: I don't even think Abobo's in this one.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Classic (Sega Forever)

  • Platform: iOS, Android, Apple TV (worldwide)
  • Price: free with ads
  • Publisher: Sega Games

What's this? A remastered version of Sonic 2 featuring true widescreen support, versions of Tails and Knuckles with their expanded Sonic 3 & Knuckles movesets, 60FPS special stages, online multiplayer, a built-from-scratch reimagining of the famously-scrapped Hidden Palace Zone and more; this version of the game was brought to you by Christian Whitehead, one of the developers behind the recent Sonic Mania, and it's just been made free(ish) as part of Sega's well-meaning but under-delivering Sega Forever initiative.

Why should I care? The Christian Whitehead port of Sonic 2 is inarguably the definitive version of an unquestionably fantastic game, and it's hard to complain about a free game.

Helpful tip: If you owned this game before the Sega Forever update, you should be able to use the "Restore Previous Purchase" option to downgrade to the original, ad-free version with no hassle.

Karnov Kounter: Sega wishes they could be so lucky.

The Last Blade 2

  • Platform: PC via Steam
  • Price: $9.99
  • Publisher: SNK / Code Mystics

What's this? SNK's 1998 weapons-based fighting game, ported by Code Mystics with online play, unlockable art galleries, screen borders and quite a few visual options.

Why should I care? The Last Blade 2 is one of SNK's prettiest late-era games and, unlike many of the Neo Geo releases available on Steam, Code Mystics' works do more than dump a ROM in a shoddy emulator.

Useless fact: Many of the characters and story beats across the two The Last Blade games were conceived by one Hidetaka Suehiro, a man who'd later achieve cult notoriety under the alias SWERY for his work as the director of the quirky no-budget Twin Peaks pastiche, Deadly Premonition.

Karnov Kounter: Not so much as a dude in sweatpants.


Rare x iam8bit: Battletoads in Battlemaniacs, Conker's Bad Fur Day and Viva Pinata

  • Format: Vinyl (includes digital soundtrack)
  • Price: $28 (single-LP), $35 (double-LP)
  • Delivery: "begins Q2 2018"

Following the successful vinyl soundtrack releases for Battletoads, Perfect Dark and Banjo-Kazooie, Rare and iam8bit are once again teaming up to offer newly-produced vinyl soundtracks for Battletoads in Battlemaniacs (the SNES version, presumably), Conker's Bad Fur Day (the N64 version, assuredly) and Viva Pinata (the X360 version, with unreleased tracks), as well as an assortment of character-themed pins. Pre-orders begin at 12:01am PST this Friday, because it's not like you'll be busy with anything else around then.

Shore Phono Co.: Kid Dracula, Welcome to the Fantasy Zone and Rocket Knight Adventures

  • Format: Vinyl 
  • Price: TBD
  • Delivery: "early December"
Ship to Shore Phono Co. has been teasing this pair of Konami soundtracks for quite a while and now they're finally putting them up for purchase: the music from the Famicom version of Kid Dracula and the one and only Sega Mega Drive version of Rocket Knight Adventures, as well as composer Christa Isobel Lee's SEGA homage Welcome to the Fantasy Zonewill go up for sale on Monday, November 27 at 1PM EST. (You might notice a familiar name or two in the liner notes, too...)


Everdrive Store Black Friday Sale

  • 20% off all backup cartridges and other Krikzz hardware on Black Friday

Everdrive designer Krikzz rarely discounts his wares, so don't miss this opportunity to pick up a N64, GBA, SNES, Mega Drive, Turbografx, NES, Master System, Game Boy or Game Gear flash cart at reduced prices.

Stoneagegamer (Pre) Black Friday Sale

  • 15% to 60% off everything on Black Friday

Stone Age Gamer's wide assortment of used games, authentic and reproduced controllers, cables, backup cartridges and other odds and ends will be discounted for Black Friday... but if you want the discount now, use promo code "THEWORM17" to get the Black Friday discount a little early, not that you heard it from me.