Retro Re-release Roundup, week of December 21, 2017

Metal Mario Maniacs

Arcade Archives presents Super Mario Bros. like you've never seen it before... or, more truthfully, in a slightly different configuration to the one you internalised thirty years ago, but hey, ain't no hatin' on history. 


Vs. Super Mario Bros

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

What's this? A remixed version of the original Super Mario Bros., originally released for the NES-based Nintendo Vs. System arcade hardware in 1986 and re-released here for the very first time. This version of the game features many small tweaks and edits to make it more challenging for arcade-goers: more enemies, fewer 1UPs, fewer warps, the removal of infinite-life exploits and, most notably, the replacement of several levels with new, tougher levels that would later be reused in Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, as well as arcade operator settings that adjust paramaters like starting lives, timer speed and coins-per-1UP. 

Why should I care? It's an interesting part of Super Mario history that nobody ever expected to leave the vault.

Useless fact: Vs. Super Mario Bros' sole unique tune, the high score entry BGM, has been referenced a surprising number of times; it's reappeared in various forms in Super Mario RPG, Super Mario Advance 4 and, most recently, as the bonus SMB-stage tune in Super Mario Maker.


Metal Slug 3

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

What's this? The fourth entry in SNK's highly popular run-and-gun series, released just prior to SNK's bankruptcy in 2000; this entry saw a significant increase in volume on all fronts: more animation, more character transformations, more vehicles, larger stages with branching paths and more overall spectacle, and for that reason it is regarded by many as the pinnacle of the series.

Why should I care? You don't quite have it in you to play the entire series and want the most bang for your buck, and you have no qualms about credit-feeding your way through the game.

Useless fact: Metal Slug 3 is now available on PS4 in three different formats: as a standalone cross-buy release with online play, as part of the PS2-on-PS4 Metal Slug Anthology and now as an Arcade Archives title, and if you don't buy it this time they'll probably put it out again.


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

What's this? A horizontal shooting game, developed by Aicom and published by SNK in 1995. Pulstar turned heads at the time for its then-novel use of pre-rendered computer-generated sprites and animation, as well as obvious stylistic similarities to a certain Irem game.

Why should I care? You're interested in playing the best take on R-Type that isn't just R-Type.

Helpful tip: Blazing Star, the sequel-in-name-only that's been available for Switch for several months, is a more contemporary game with an involved scoring system and lots of gimmicky weapons, but this one is very old-school and memorisation-heavy, so don't buy one expecting the other.


Maniac Mansion

  • Platform: PC via Steam
  • Price: $5.99
  • Publisher: Lucasfilm Games

What's this? LucasArts' classic adventure game, now back on Steam after spending several years in Disney IP hell. This is the original IBM-PC version with a SCUMMVM wrapper, not a remake a remaster — it's no-frills and even a little sloppy, but far from unplayable.

Why should I care? Why indeed!

Timely reminder: This exact version of the game is entirely playable within both the original version and the recent remaster of Day of the Tentacle, so check your Steam library before putting any money down.

Wonder Boy Returns

  • Platform: Playstation 4
  • Price: $14.99 / €14.99 / £13.99
  • Publisher: Cyberfront Korea

What's this? A high-definition 2D remake of the original Wonder Boy arcade platformer, developed and published by a Korean partner of the current owner of the Wonder Boy/Monster World series. It was a nigh-unplayable mess when it launched on PC a year ago but from what I recall, they did eventually patch it into something resembling the original game.

Why should I care? You fancy the idea of playing as Wonder Boy's girlfriend, and you don't want to go through the hassle of buying the original arcade game from the Japanese Playstation Store.

Useless fact: This game was promoted by the publisher as being developed under the supervision of series creator Ryuichi Nishizawa, but when the game was released on PC, Nishizawa publicly commented that he hadn't even touched it. Oops!


Streets of Rage: Perfect Soundtrack by Wayo Records

  • Format: CD
  • Price: 15,00 €
  • Publisher: Wayo Records

Last week was Streets of Rage 3's time to shine, today's Streets of Rage 2's 25th anniversary and here we are with a new soundtrack release for the original Streets of Rage, remastered by Namco legend and Supersweep head honcho Shinji Hosoe and featuring a trio of never-released tracks written during the development of the game.


PSOne & PS2 Classics Playstation Store Holiday Deals

  • Platforms: Playstation 3, Playstation Vita, Playstation Portable
  • Price: almost 50% off select PSOne & PS2 Classics titles until Xmas
  • Publisher: Square-Enix, Konami

Need another excuse to revisit Metal Gear Solid, Silent Hill, half a dozen Final Fantasy games, a few Suikoden joints and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night? Me neither, but I think I'll do it anyway.