Retro Re-release Roundup, week of Karnovember 30, 2017

Irem makes their Arcade Archives debut.

All these years-late PC Engine games have left me wondering: why now? Why would a notoriously mercenary company like Konami persist with small-time legacy releases for a dead platform, week in, week out? Are they prepping their licenses for the impending legacy content service on Switch? How else might one reasonably interpret their actions?

Whatever, here's Zippy Race!


Traverse USA

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

What's this? An early racing game by Irem, originally released under many different names in different countries (MotoRace USA! Zippy Race! Mototour!) in 1983; this is the debut Irem Arcade Archives title and the first non-Neo Geo, non-Nintendo Arcade Archives release for Switch.

Why should I care? The shifts between Spy Hunter-esque overhead racing and Hang On-style rear-view racing are novel for such an early game.

Useless fact: Y'know what other arcade game Irem put out? R-Type. Just sayin'.

Karnov Kounter: Traverse USA is a little before K-Dot's time.


World Heroes

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch (worldwide)
  • Price: $7.99 / 6.99 / £6.29
  • Publisher: Hamster

What's this? The first fighting game from Neo Geo collaborators ADK and the first Neo Geo fighting game to fully embrace versus play; World Heroes sees eight warriors from across time and space duking it out to ensure their legacy as the strongest fighter in history. In addition to the standard arcade and versus modes, World Heroes also features a deathmatch mode that adds dangerous traps to the areans, including electric barriers, oil slicks, land mines and, uh, the threat of your character's head being shaved if they lose.

Why should I care? You've played World Heroes Perfect and Fighters History Dynamite to death and you're desperate for more Street Fighter 2 clones, quality be damned.

Useless fact: World Heroes was ADK's final release under their original name, Alpha Denshi.

Karnov Kounter: Karnov has standards, yo.

World Heroes 2 Jet

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

What's this? An enhanced revision of World Heroes 2, released in 1994. The "Jet" subtitle refers to the new dashing system, allowing for faster character movement; the revision also includes new moves for the characters, new and revised backgrounds and other new cinematic elements, totally revised game modes and a system that lets you select different attributes for your character based on offense, defense or speed.

Why should I care? You're interested in tracking the World Heroes series' gradual ascension to competence.

Useless fact: World Heroes 2 Jet was ported to the Game Boy and against all odds it turned out to be an exceedingly good port and one of the best fighting games on the system.

Karnov Kounter: Not even close.


Battle Lode Runner

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

What's this? The thirteenth(!) entry in the venerable trap-and-grab action-puzzle series; much like Bomberman before it, Hudson saw fit to give Battle Lode Runner a cute visual makeover and a new five-player battle mode, in addition to the tried-and-true single-player game and the ubiquitous level editor.

Why should I care? If you've never played a Lode Runner game, this might be an ideal starting point: the visuals are a little dated but the previous games' graphics are virtually prehistoric by comparison.

Useless fact: Battle Lode Runner was the very first Japanese import game released for Virtual Console way back when, ushering in a new era of frequent and exciting Virtual Console updates full of neat obscu—oh, who am I kidding. 

Karnov Kounter: Zero, but there are plenty of ladders.

Bomberman '93

  • Platform: Turbografx-16 (North America)
  • Price: $5.99
  • Publisher: Konami

What's this? The second of three Bomberman games released for the PC Engine/Turbografx-16, and the first Bomberman game to include now-staple powerups like the bomb kick and line bomb, as well as the ability to play matches against the CPU. As always, the game supports up to five players for local multiplayer matches.

Why should I care? The original TG16 Bomberman introduced the world to single-screen multiplayer Bomberman but it was Bomberman '93 that introduced a broader variety of gimmicks and and a heavy pivot towards action that formed the template for subsequent games, from Super Bomberman to this year's Super Bomberman R; as such, it holds up pretty damn well.

Question without an answer: Bomberman '93 was one of the debut titles for the original Wii Virtual Console... they clearly knew it was a big deal back then, so why's it only releasing on Wii U now, at least two years after everyone stopped paying attention?

Karnov Kounter: Zip.

Break In

  • Platform: Turbografx-16 (Europe)
  • Price: €5.99 / £5.39
  • Publisher: Konami / naxat soft

What's this? An early Naxat Soft billiards title with standard, 9-ball and trick-shot modes and support for up to four players; nothin' more, nothin' less.

Why should I care? It's the next-best thing to Side Pocket.

Useless fact: I, uh... hmm. I got nothin', folks. It's billiards.

Karnov Kounter: Sadly, zero.

Power Golf

  • Platform: Turbografx-16 (Europe)
  • Price: €5.99 / £5.39
  • Publisher: Konami

What's this? The first of two golf games released as part of Hudson's Power Sports series.

Why should I care? You want a better-looking, worse-playing version of NES Open Tournament Golf.

Useless fact: According to comments by colleagues, Power Golf director Hitoshi Okuno was only able to get the game greenlit after delivering two successful games he was complete dispassionate about: the inagurual Power Sports title Power Baseball and the beloved Falcom spinoff game Faxanadu. Good for you, guy.

Karnov Kounter: I'm starting to think this gimmick was a mistake.


Sonic Adventure & Sonic Adventure 2 vinyl by Brave Wave Productions

  • Format: Vinyl (double-LP)
  • Price: TBA

One could argue that the Sonic Adventure soundtracks were a decade out of time when they were new but two decades on, somehow, some way, they're regarded by many as era-defining favourites, and now you'll be able to enjoy a selection of tracks from each Sonic Adventure game on vinyl thanks to Brave Wave Productions. Each soundtrack features tracks picked by long-time Sonic composer Jun Senoue and each record features liner notes by Senoue, Sonic series producer Takashi Iizuka and Digital Foundry's John Linneman. More details, including price and pre-order date, will be revealed on December 1, 12PM Pacific.

Windjammers physical release by Limited Run Games

  • Format: Playstation 4, Playstation Vita
  • Price: $29.99 (standard), $64.99 (collector's edition)


After what seemed like a century of hype, DotEmu's Windjammers revival seemed to drop without much fanfare; nevertheless, Limited Run Games is making the game available in physical formats for both PS4 and Vita, as both a standard no-frills release and a collector's edition that includes deluxe packaging, a soundtrack CD, a poster and an official Windjammers frisbee (pink if you're lucky, blue if you're not). Sales begin at 10AM Eastern, December 1, so as always, be quick on the trigger or you'll probably miss out.