Retro Re-release Roundup, week of April 5, 2018

Heaven is here inside my console!

Today's marquee retro re-release — a boutique reissue of a niche shooting game considered an acquired taste even by the average CAVE fan — might be the most for-me-and-absolutely-nobody-else product I'm likely to post for a long, long time... but I'd like to think it's for a few of you, too. 



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

What's this? A simple action game starrting a cute super-deformed ninja, developed and published in arcades by UPL to minor success in 1984; players are tasked with mastering Ninja-kun's peculiar jumping abilities to clear vertically-scrolling stages of very Japanese enemies. 

Why should I care? You want something classic that won't take a huge time investment to clear, or you're just curious to see how much DNA this game shares with its brother from another mother, Jaleco's Ninja JaJamaru-kun.

Useless fact: Ninja-Kid was designed and programmed by future Wonder Boy creator and Westone co-founder Ryuichi Nishizawa; eagle-eyed players might spot a few telltale poses among the game's many enemies.


Samurai Shodown III

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

What's this? The third Samurai Shodown game, originally rushed to arcades in late 1995; this entry features a gritty, bleak visual overhaul, a revamped cast with several newcomers and fan-favourite omissions and one of the earliest examples of alternate character styles in fighting games with the Slash/Burst system.

Why should I care? Samurai Shodown III is an incredibly unbalanced game, with huge damage values for most attacks and broken techniques that guarantee quick kills for almost every version of every character ... but some might consider that an authentic reflection of the brutality of samurai combat, no?

Useless fact: The Korean version of SamSho III features several edits in order to address Korea's sensitivity to historical depictions of samurai, including a name change (Fighters Swords) and a redesign of newcomer Gaira into the Korean-friendly character Kim Ung Che, a character who would remain exclusive to that specific regional release until his inclusion as a bonus character in the console port of Samurai Shodown VI some ten years later.

The King of Fighters '99

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

What's this? King of Fighters the sixth, released in arcades by SNK at some point between 1998 and 2000; this title introduced next-generation posterboy K' (that's "k-dash") and a new sci-fi storyline that would come to be known as the "NESTS Saga", as well as a revamped format that allows players to select an additional fourth member to serve as a "striker", a system somewhat reminiscent of Capcom's Marvel vs. Capcom games.

Why should I care? You're looking for an easy-to-digest starting point for the post-'98 era of KOF, or you just want to experience the genesis of a whole boatload of now-classic KOF tunes.

Useless fact: KOF99's tone, worldview and even specific character designs and system mechanics bear a striking resemblance to those of the obscure Psikyo-published fighting game Daruka Tenshi / The Fallen Angels, a game partly developed by former SNK members who later returned to the fold.


Dangun Feveron

  • Platform: Playstation 4, Xbox One (North America)
  • Price: $34.99
  • Publisher: M2 / CAVE

What's this? A manic, disco-tinged vertical shooting game from danmaku pioneers CAVE, originally released in arcades in 1998 and ported to home consoles for the first time by M2 as part of their self-produced ShotTriggers series, now featuring a plethora of brand-new game modes, display settings and customisation options, online leaderboards with replay sharing and several alternate soundtracks including an EDM-flavoured arrange by chibi-tech and an old-school, hardware-compliant FM arrange by Tatsuhiko "tappy" Kasuga.

Why should I care? You're curious to try the one CAVE shooter that isn't a bullet hell game, or you're just a sucker for over-the-top announcers that never, ever, ever stop talking.

Useless fact: The true ending to Dangun Feveron's even-more-obscure international revision, Fever SOS, features a translation that makes the Zero Wing intro look like a Mark Twain excerpt; if there's any flaw with the M2STG version, it's that they weren't able to preserve this ending for the good of mankind

Dragon Blaze

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch (North America, Japan)
  • Price: $7.99
  • Publisher: Zerodiv

What's this? Psikyo's final vertical shooting game, released to arcades in 2000; this action-fantasy title puts players in control of dragon-riding warriors who can mount and decouple from their dragon at the press of a button, doubling their offensive options and enabling then to attack multiple points at once.

Why should I care? You enjoyed Psikyo's previous works but felt they were too long, slow and easy. (Seriosly, this game does not mess around, even on the first loop)

Useless fact: Keeping with the trend of working with up-and-coming artists, Dragon Blaze's character designs and promotional illustrations were drawn by Boogiepop artist Kouji Ogata.


The King of Fighters '97: Global Match

  • Platform: Playstation 4, Playstation Vita, PC via Steam (worldwide)
  • Price: $14.99 / €13.99 / £11.99 (cross-play & cross-buy across PS4/Vita), $9.99 (Steam)
  • Publisher: SNK / Code Mystics

What's this? King of Fighters the fourth, developed and published by SNK in 1997 as a capstone to the "Orochi Saga" storyline. This game was already reissued quite recently as an Arcade Archives title but it's back for another run courtesy of Code Mystics, in no small part due to its immense and unrivaled popularity in China; as you probably surmised, the "Global Match" subtitle refers to the new addition of online play.

Why should I care? You're happy to pay a couple extra bucks above market prices for a slightly different ROM, a nicer menu and a netplay option that barely works.

Useless fact: Blue Mary, the Fatal Fury stalwart who made her KOF debut in KOF97 due to popular demand, is making her long-awaited return to the KOF scene next week as a DLC character for the latest game, KOF14.


GDEMU SD Card replacement drive for Sega Dreamcast

  • Platforms: Sega Dreamcast (VA1 model)
  • Price: €130 plus shipping & handling, installation required
  • Availability: orders open Saturday, April 7

As any Dreamcast owner knows, the optical drive is by far the most common failure point of the console and one that requires constant maintenance, but there is an easy solution that brings with it a bevy of additional perks: the GDEmu, a replacement drive that allows you to read Dreamcast game ISOs directly from SD storage, resulting in shorter load times and quick, hassle-free access to all your games without any of the risks associated with the standard mechanical GD-ROM drive. The GDEmu has been around for several years but availability has been sporadic, so this upcoming batch, available from Saturday, may be the last one for the foreseeable future.