Retro Re-release Roundup, week of February 8, 2018

All hail Shadow! Wander rides again!

This week's biggest release — Analogue Super Nt aside, of course — is a PS4 remake of a decades-old Fumito Ueda gane, follwing hot off the heels of a PS4 remake of a decade-old Fumito Ueda game. Ya win some, ya lose some...


Crazy Climber

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

What's this? An oddball vertically-scrolling climbing game by long-defunct Japanese developer Nichibutsu, originally released in arcades in 1980. The arcade cabinet used dual joysticks to individually control the player-character's hands in order to dodge a bizarre assortment of falling objects while they climb the side of a sidescraper; the Arcade Archives version replicates those controls using dual analogue sticks.

Why should I care? You're a sucker for games that force you to master peculiar control schemes above all else.

Useless fact: Crazy Climber was an early success story for designer Shigeki Fujiwara but certainly not his last; he designed and oversaw the now-classic 5-player Bomberman multiplayer mode while at Hudson and would later collaborate on several cross-media products for toymaker Takara Tomy including Beyblade and B-daman.


Blazing Star

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

What's this? A horizontally-scrolling shooter by frequent SNK collaborators Yumekobo, released in arcades in 1998 as an extremely tenuous sequel to the earlier shooter Pulstar; aside from the predominate use of pre-rendered CG visuals and the inclusion of a certain player ship, the games play very differently the rigid R-Type-esque focus of the original was ditched for a much looser and more modern shooter with a plethora of scoring tricks to discover.

Why should I care? You're in the mood for a pick-up-and-play shooter with a focus on score-chasing and a bunch of ships/weapons to toy around with, and you enjoy (or can at least tolerate) a constant barrage of semi-comprehensible announcer-babble.

Useless fact: Wondering why the max bonus tops out at the oddly specific 81,560 points? That's a Japanese number pun -- the digits 8-1-5-6 can be read as a-i-co-mu ie Aicom, Yumekobo's former studio name.

Super Baseball 2020

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

What's this? A baseball game set in the extremely distant future, developed and released to arcades by SNK in 1991; players compete using teams of men, women and robots whose attributes can be enhanced and modified on the fly using money earned for every successful play, allowing them to leap astounding heights or survive landmine blasts.

Why should I care? You're in the mood for a lightning-fast baseball game and you don't mind taking a game or two to come to grips with the peculiarity of the futuristic "cyber egg" field's specific scoring zones,.

Helpful tip: Playing the Japanese version of the game will let you enjoy the intended player names -- that is, player names stolen from every popular movie, band and TV show of the late-'90s/early-'90s.


Image Fight

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

What's this? Irem's brutally unforgiving vertical shooter, released in arcades in 1988, on PC Engine in 1990, on the European Wii U Virtual Console last week and on the North American Wii U Virtual Console right now; blast through sci-fi environments with mechanical exactness lest your combat simulator unleash hell upon you and your entire bloodline.

Why should I care? Image Fight is quite possibly the toughest game Irem ever made (and this version doesn't even have the second loop!) and while the resemblances are slight, it was a primary influence on modern shooting games like Treasure's Radiant Silvergun and Ikaruga.

Useless fact: The PC Engine version of Image Fight was adjusted to fit the system's default resolution but if you'd like to (attempt) to simulate the arcade game's vertical orientation, hold the I button when the Irem appears. Voila, black bars of indeterminate value!

Image Fight II: Operation Deepstriker

  • Platform: PC Engine CD (North America)
  • Price: $7.99
  • Publisher: Konami / Irem

What's this? A home-only sequel to Image Fight, released exclusively for the PC Engine CD in late 1992 and, once again, it's being released in North America for the first time on the Wii U Virtual Console right now, in TYOOL 2018.

Why should I care? It's Image Fight with of-the-era redbook music, (skippable) voiced anime cutscenes and a much-relaxed difficulty level... so, still quite tough, but within the grasp of non-diehards players.

Helpful tip: Once you clear the game, you'll be able to replay with a few different ships, including Gen-san, the star of Irem's platformer series Hammerin' Harry.


Classics Digital x Infogrames launch lineup

  • Platform: PC via Steam
  • Prices: $4.99 to $6.99
  • Publisher: Classics Digital

What's this? The first of many promised titles from Classics Digital, a new publishing label established by retro licensing business Piko Interactive to distribute classic games to digital platforms, primarily Steam. Classics Digital has recently acquired the rights to 80 titles previously owned by the long-running French publisher and IP chimera Infogrames and their inaugural releases are all from the former Infogrames stable; titles are as follows:

Bubble Ghost

Chamber of the Sci-Fi Mutant Priestess (a.k.a. KULT: The Temple of Flying Saucers)

Chaos Control



Hostage: Rescue Mission

Marco Polo

Time Gate: Knights' Chase

Why should I care? Honestly, I can't vouch for a lot of these games — most of them are dometically-popular French computer games from the early-'90s, so they completely eluded me and most everyone outside of Europe, I imagine — but these re-releases present the perfect opportunity for the world at large to find out what they missed out on... or, at the very least, to find out if Drakkhen's aged any better on DOS than it did on SNES. 

Helpful tip:  All titles look to be the DOS versions running in DOSBox, with the exception of Bubble Ghost which, at a glance,  based on the Atari ST version.

Shadow of the Colossus (2018) 

  • Platform: Playstation 4
  • Price: $59.99
  • Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment

What's this? A high-definition remake of Team Ico's somber Playstation 2 action-adventure game, originally released to wide acclaim in 2005 and remastered for Playstation 3 in 2011; this remake, developed by frequent Sony collaborators and port gurus Bluepoint Games, completely overhauls the graphics and adds several display options and filters, including a photo mode and a new 60FPS option for PS4 Pro owners, while faithfully maintaining the mechanical nuance of the original game, save for a optional secondary control,scheme.

Why should I care? You're desperately searching for the pathos missing from every Zelda game for the last decade and a half, and you're not offended by the idea that Bluepoint may have bowlderised a game whose atmosphere was defined in part by technical shortcomings that no longer exist.

Helpful tip:  Your horse... is a horse, so don't be afraid to trust him to handle himself occasionally.


USB NES RetroPort v2 

  • Platform: PC
  • Price: $12
  • Publisher: RetroUSB

The new-and-improved USB NES RetroPort adapter from RetroUSB provides a hassle-free, driver-free way to use your authentic NES controllers with USB-pad-compatible PC games, including new support for PowerGlove, PowerPad and the Arkanoid VAUS paddle controller.