Retro Re-release Roundup, week of January 4, 2018

SNK's greatest slugfest rolls back around, and don't you forget it, dweebenheimer!

Conventional wisdom dictates that publishers could stand to relax their output a little at the beginning of a new year, but Hamster ain't got no time for convention: they're aiming to release 800 games and they can't afford to slow down, even for a week.... but who's complaining? 


King of the Monsters

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

What's this? A chaotic versus brawler starring knockoffs of your favourite Japanese movie monsters, developed and published by SNK in 1991; unlike other well-known SNK fighting games, this one's pretty much a wrestling game in disguise, with a heavy focus on grapples and pins and electrified forcefields in place of ring ropes, plus some wide-scale urban "destraction" for kicks.

Why should I care? It's by far the simplest fighting game released for Neo Geo and one of only a few wrestling-style games currently available for Switch, and unlike the more widely-played SNES and Genesis ports, you can take on the CPU with a friend for four-player action.

Useless fact: King of the Monsters 2 mostly ditched the one-on-one elements in favour of a wave-and-boss approach in the vein of popular brawlers like Final Fight but the little-played Genesis conversion drastically revamps the game so that it more closely resembles the original, so if you love this game and lament the lack of a "true" sequel, give KOTM2 Genesis a try.

The King of Fighters '98

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

What's this? The fifth entry in SNK's all-star tag battle series, released at some unspecified point in the mid-to-late '90s; this non-canon "dream match" title refines the systems from the previous game while massively expanding the character count by including almost every character from the previous entries as well as alternate versions of several fan favorites, resulting in a roster of over 50 characters.

Why should I care? KOF98 is the most popular and enduring KOF title in the English-speaking world and while there's no story to speak of, it boasts a huge and reasonably balanced roster and a ton of excellent golden-era SNK spritework and animation. If you have a passing interest in KOF but struggle to differentiate between the fifteen KOF games that are reissued every week, get this one.

Helpful tip: As with all Arcade Archives releases, this is the original, unadorned version of the game; KOF98 Ultimate Match, available as a backwards-compatible title for PS4 (via PS2 Classics) and XB1 (via XBLA) add new characters, game balance, optional 3D backgrounds and a third "ultimate" groove for each character, and KOF98 Ultimate Match Final Round, available on Steam, adds even more characters and further balance changes as well as online play.

DISCOUNTS & DEALS Weekly Sale - War Games

  • Platforms: PC via Good Old Games
  • Price: up to 85% off over 50 simulation, grand strategy, tactics and war games until January 8

GOG's current sale features quite a few the great old war games and sims we know are classics (Jagged Alliance 1 & 2, Delta Force 1 & 2, even Microprose's F-117A Nighthawk Stealth Fighter 2.0) plus many more that you haven't yet realised are classics because they didn't come out that long ag-good good we're all so old (IL-2 Sturmovik, Commandos series, Silent Storm Gold, Crusader Kings and more).


Psycho Somatic Generation by chibi-tech

  • Format: digital
  • Price: pay-what-you-want
  • Publisher: chibi-tech

Originally written as a companion piece for Bitmap Books' crowdfunded NES/Famicom: a visual compendium book, M2 alum and Famicompo veteran Jaelyn "chibi-tech" Nisperos's 10-track "style guide" is an expertly-crafted pastiche of some of the NES & Famicom's most recognisable and beloved composers and developers, and it's now available to the wider public via chibi-tech's bandcamp page for whatever price you deem appropriate. (There's an iwadon homage on here so, y'know, don't skimp on the tip.)