Retro Re-release Roundup, week of May 10, 2018

Hail to the Duke!

Okay, show of hands: who asked for a new Duke? I mean, after a thousand hours spent clutching a Dreamcast controller I was already conditioned to accept many of the peculiarities of the Duke during its brief stint as the OG Xbox controller but I can't say I ever missed it, even ironically. Who is this for? Is there a tournament scene for Brute Force that I don't know about?  


Terra Cresta

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4 (worldwide)
  • Price: $7.99 / 6.99 / £6.29
  • Publisher: Hamster / Irem

What's this? A 1985 arcade shooting game from erstwhlle developer Nichibutsu; Terra Cresta adds to the Xevious-esque shoot-and-dodge formula with a "formation" system that allows the player ship to transform into different attack configurations with a button press after collecting new ship upgrades.

Why should I care? You're looking to explore the post-Xevious era of vertical shooting games anddon't mind a little visual repetition.

Useless fact: The original arcade version was issued with two different hardware variants due to trouble sourcing specific audio chips; as such, the quality of the music and sound effects differs from board to board, but Hamster has offered both configurations for the Arcade Archives version.


Super Sidekicks 2

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

What's this? The second entry in SNK's long-running Neo Geo soccer series, released in arcades in 1994; this version overhauled the graphics and system mechanics with such enhancements as manual player targeting when passing, flashy perspective changes when kicking for goal and a referee who pays attention.

Why should I care? The subsequent Super Sidekicks games all hew quite closely to the template established with this game but aren't necessarily any better, so you can't go wrong picking this one.

Useless fact: Owing to the lack of official licenses, the player names are all thinly-veiled derivations of real-world players from 25 years ago. See if you can remember them all! I sure as hell can't.


Johnny Turbo's Arcade: Sly Spy (May 12)

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch (Europe)
  • Price: €7.99 / £7.99
  • Publisher: Flying Tiger Entertainment / G-Mode

What's this? A sidescrolling arcade-action game with more than a passing resemblance to the 007 oeuvre, originally developed by Data East and released in arcades in 1989; players shoot, kick, climb, jetpack, parachute, motorcycle and scuba dive in pursuit of a terrorist organisation which, you guessed it, kidnapped the president.  (Don't let ol' Johnny Turbo fool ya: despite what the provided screenshots suggest, you aren't forced to play these games stretched to 16:9.)

Why should I care? It's two parts Bad Dudes and one part Rolling Thunder. What's not to love? (Answer: the auto-scrolling bike chase, it's a little dull.)

Useless fact: Karnov makes his obligatory cameo as "Karnov Sakata", a strange, let's say, "tribute" to Oddjob actor Harold Sakata who appears at the end of the third stage.


Fork Parker's Crunch Out 

  • Platform: Super Nintendo
  • Price: $49.99 (standard edition) / $149.99 (limited edition)
  • Publisher: Devolver Digital / Mega Cat Studios

Devolver Digital has partnered with hobbyist indie dev Mega Cat Studios and mental health charity Take That to release Fork Parker's Crunch Out, a homebrew management game for Super Nintendo that offers a satirical take on the unrealistic pressures and demands of professional game development, with all the profits donated to charity. (I'd love to tell you more but there's no footage, save for a test clip of the $150 cartridge's in-built LED monitor... but I suppose all charity is manipulation on some level, right?)

Hyperkin "Duke" wired controller replica 

  • Platform: Xbox One, PC (Windows 10)
  • Price: $69.99
  • Publisher: Hyperkin (availability may vary by store)

You(?) demanded it, Hyperkin answered the call: it's had a couple of fits and starts but the original, joint-straining, market-torching Xbox controller is finally back and, save for a few mandatory changes like the addition of bumpers and a micro-USB cable im place of the original and genuinely useful breakaway cable (as well as a completely unnecessary OLED screen that displays the classic Xbox boot animation), it's exactly as you remember it. Ninja Gaiden Black, here I come!