Retro Re-release Roundup, week of March 1, 2018

Chrono Triggered.

I'm not even mad anymore, Square. I'm just... okay, forget that, I'm still mad. This needs to stop.

(Cheers to Fred Wood for the perfect screenshot.)


Star Force

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

What's this? A vertically-scrolling space shooting game, developed and released to arcades in 1984 by Tekhan (later Tecmo); shoot, dodge and exploit a few arcane tricks for maximum points, it's that simple.

Why should I care? You're interested in visiting the roots of "caravan" shooting games, or just want to see exactly how much of this game was lifted wholesale by Hudson for their own title, Star Soldier.

Useless fact: When Hudson's Famicom port of Star Force unexpectedly became a hit, Tecmo opted not to continue their licensing arrangement with Hudson and produced both their own bonafide sequel Super Star Force, which confounded players by adding on-foot exploration, item quests and a time travel gimmick... and as you might suspect, it wasn't nearly as successful as the original, but ya gotta give 'em points for ambition.


Sengoku 2

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

What's this? The second entry in SNK's series of medieval Japanese brawlers; this entry streamlines the character-transformation gimmick from its predecessor and adds a greater variety of time-jumping shenanigans and a focused on weapon-based combat rather than bare-handed brawling.

Why should I care? It's a huge jump in quality over the original and the closest equivalent to competing hack-and-slashers like Capcom's Knights of the Round. (Just don't expect to clear it on one credit.)

Helpful tip: The charged projectile attack, performed by pressing and holding A+B+C, is far and away the most useful and reliable tool in the game, dwarfing even the character transformations, so don't hesitate to try it whenever possible.

Shock Troopers 2nd Squad

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

What's this? A followup to Metal Slug maker Zaurus' overhead run-and-gun shooting game, released in arcades by SNK in 1998, now sporting pre-rendered CG graphics, a more straightforward tack with a smaller but more specialised roster of playable characters, Metal Slug-style vehicles and a bevy of huge, system-choking bosses.

Why should I care? You've played the original Shock Troopers to death and can endure a little faux-3D-induced visual ambiguity and a lot of slowdown.

Useless fact: Several smaller humanoid bosses were completely designed and then scrapped in favour of the more impressive mecha bosses, but their graphics are still present in the ROM and can be viewed in the debug mode via simple dip-switch settings.


Chrono Trigger

  • Platform: PC via Steam, iOS/Android via update (worldwide)
  • Price: $14.99 / €14.99 / £11.99
  • Publisher: Square-Enix

What's this? A mobile-first, PC-later port of Square-Enix's beloved time-slipping SNES RPG, now with widescreen support, excessive and (occasionally misaligned) post-processed sprites and a UI borrowed from RPG Maker 2001. (Owners of the previous mobile version can update their existing app for free, should they so choose.)

Why should I care? You've forgotten how to type "chrono trigger rom" into Google.

Helpful tip: If you'd rather not type "chrono trigger rom" into Google, the original and arguably best version of Chrono Trigger is still available on Wii Virtual Console for the equivalent of $8, but not for long.

Turok: Dinosaur Hunter & Turok 2: Seeds of Evil

  • Platform: Xbox One, available March 2
  • Price: $19.99 each
  • Publisher: Night Dive Studios

What's this? The first two entries in Acclaim's once-storied series of dinosaur-blastin', key-huntin' FPS, originally released for the Nintendo 64 in the late-'90s to much fanfare and reproduced here with support for ultra-high resolutions, modern lighting effects, contemporary control options, a rock-solid 60FPS framerate and a multitute of undocumented nips and tucks — and, in the case of Turok 2, a wholly reconstructed online multiplayer mode for up to 16 players.

Why should I care? The N64 Turok titles were inventive and even innovative games from pre-Half Life school of 3D FPS design that could never quite overcome the limitations of their original platform, so just being able to play them at a stable framerate and a draw distance of more than eight inches is reason enough to give them another look.

Useless fact: The Japanese N64 version of Turok 2 went by the nonsensical and thoroughly awesome title VIOLENCE KILLER.


Namco Museum - Greatest Hits vinyl LP by Spacelab9 & ThinkGeek

  • Format: vinyl
  • Price: $34.99
  • Publisher: Namco / Spacelab9 / ThinkGeek

Spacelab9's upcoming Bandai Namco collaboration vinyl sports music from 19 Namco arcade classics — Bosconian, Dig Dug, Dragon Buster, Galaga, Gaplus, Mappy, New Rally X, Pac-Man, The Return of Ishtar, Rolling Thunder, Sky Kid, Splatterhouse, Tower of Druaga and Xevious — alongside an 8-page booklet and an inner sleeve that allows one to display arcade-style art from Pac-Man, Galaga, Dig-Dug or Mappy. The ThinkGeek-exclusive "Pixel Explosion" variant, limited to 2000 pieces is available now, while Spacelab9's own 200-piece Pac-Man variant goes on sale this Friday, 1PM PST at


Sega Dreamcast: Collected Works & 500 Years Later: An Oral History of Final Fantasy VII books from Read-Only Memory

  • Price: starts from £30
  • Publisher: Read-Only Memory

British book publisher Read-Only Memories' two latest crowdfunded publications — a followup to the critically-acclaimed Sega Mega Drive/Genesis Collected Works and an expanded print edition of Matt Leone's exhaustive feature on the making of Final Fantasy VII — are now both available for pre-order by the general public; the books won't ship until November and June respectively but they assuredly won't stay in stock for long or be reprinted immediately, so don't count on them being easily vailable closer to release.