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

Square-Enix returns to the tactics genre with the resurrection of a storied classic — because you demanded it.

I'd throw y'all a pithy quip about the rebirth of Fear Effect as a dollar-store Syndicate clone but in all honestly, the more I think about it, the more it makes my head spin — someone pitched this, someone else okayed it, yet more someones threw in money to make it happen. Who are these people?


Real Bout Fatal Fury

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

What's this? The fifth entry in SNK's flagship fighting game series, now featuring a more streamlined control scheme and the somewhat unpopular inclusion of a ring-out system, as well as the return of popular characters Kim Kaphwan, Billy Kane and Duck King and the final canonical appearance of beloved badass Geese Howard.

Why should I care? This is probably the best entry point for fans of Street Fighter 2 or other more conventional 2D fighting games, and Terry's single-player ending is one of the most iconic moments in fighting game history.

Useless fact: The artists hid a skeevy easter egg in the original arcade version: winning a round and immediately falling out of bounds on the beach stage as Blue Mary would cause her to swim to the surface without a top, briefly exposing her breasts. It's been edited out of every other port and I'm sure it'll be edited out of this one, too.


Real Bout Fatal Fury 2: The Newcomers

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

What's this? The seventh Fatal Fury game for Neo Geo hardware and the last to feature the original cast, released in 1998; this game serves as a barely-canonical epilogue to the events of previous games with an all-star cast and a couple new characters — the snooty Li Xiangfei and the charismatic native American boxer Rick Strowd — thrown in for good measure.

Why should I care? Real Bout Fatal Fury 2 was made almost entirely with existing assets in the space of just four months; subsequently, most of the developers' focus went into revamping the core systems, making this one of the most balanced and immediately accessible entries in the series. If you're looking for character interactions and plot, look elsewhere, but if you want to sink your time into just one Fatal Fury game, make it this one. (Sorry-not-sorry, Garou.)

Useless fact: Kim Kaphwan's teammate/hostage from King of Fighters, Choi, makes a blink-and-you'll-miss it cameo: if you perform Kim's super in Kim/Tung Fu Rue's stage, Choi will appear ever so briefly at the top left or right of the screen, above the health bars.


Fear Effect Sedna

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC via Steam (worldwide)
  • Price: $19.95 /  €19.95 / £15.99
  • Publisher: Forever Entertainment

What's this? A crowdfunded return to Eidos' decades-dormant Fear Effect duology, developed by french indie studio Sushee under the purview of the Square-Enix Collective; for reasons known only to them, the Aeon Flux-meets-Resident Evil adventure gameplay from the original games has been discarded in favour of isometric real-time tactics and more than a little bit of (sloppy) gunplay.

Why should I care? Don't look at me, I didn't fund this thing. (Sushee has also announced a faithful remake of the original Fear Effect, so, if nothing else, Sedna might serve as a tonal benchmark for the remake, if not a mechanical one,)

Useless fact: Fear Effect Sedna is both a prequel to the original Fear Effect and a sequel to a cancelled Fear Effect game subtitled Inferno that was never released and that you probably know absolutely nothing about. I know I don't!

The Oregon Trail (dedicated handheld)

  • Platform: you're looking at it! (exclusive to Target retail stores)
  • Price: $24.99
  • Publisher: Basic Fun

What's this? The classic, zillion-selling 1971 educational game about American frontier life, now available as a standalone handheld game with a retro-chic design that sits somewhere between an Apple II and a Mattel handheld game.

Why should I care? One should always be equipped to teach their young'uns about the dangers of dysentery, I feel.

Useless fact: Pushing the disk into the drive turns the game on and off. Cute.


Square-Enix Publisher Sale

  • Platform: Playstation 4, Playstation 3, Playstation Vita, Playstation Portable Xbox One, Xbox 360 (worldwide)
  • Price: up to 85% off hundreds of Square-Enix published titles

Almost everything in Square-Enix's vast catalogue of titles is being heavily across Playstation and Xbox ecosystems until early next week — there are few to no classic title available for Xbox, save the Jeff Minter-ized port of Space Invaders Extreme, but the Playstation Store hosts dozens of PS1 Classics titles across such series as Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, Mana, Parasite Eve, Tactics Ogre, Front Mission and more, inot to mention lesser-known titles like Vagrant Story and more recent ports and remasters including Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age and Kingdom Hearts 1.5 + 2.5 ReMIX.