Retro Re-release Roundup, week of June 7, 2018
Pickings are slim this week, I'm afraid, but between last week's onslaught and the promise of E3, I'm sure you're all more than occupied right now. (Speaking of, what are people hoping to see at E3 in regards to classic and legacy games? If I can get an official D-Pad Joycon, I'm good.)
ARCADE ARCHIVES NEO GEO
- Platform: Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, Xbox One (worldwide)
- Price: $7.99 / €6.99 / £6.29
- Publisher: Hamster
What's this? Another launch-era Neo Geo arcade title, this one offers pseudo-3D racing in the vein of Sega's Hang-On series, with a standard grand prix mode and a very un-arcade-like story mode with a world map, rival challenges and bike upgrades (again, much like Sega's home port of Super Hang-On).
Why should I care? Riding Hero is literally the only pseudo-3D racing game ever released for Neo Geo and one of a tiny handful of racing games released for the MVS in general; it's also visually unimpressive and cripped by absurd AI rubberbanding, but hey, any port in a storm, right?
Useless fact: Riding Hero is one of a few Neo Geo games that supported system link multiplayer via a stereo patch cable, but that feature isn't emulated here, so you'll have to suffer all on your own.
- Platform: Playstation 4 (worldwide)
- Price: $14.99 / €14.99 / £13.49
- Publisher: Naps Team
What's this? A port of an obscure brawler/adventure game, originally developed and released for Game Boy Advance by Italian studio Naps Team in collaboration with illustrator Joe Madureira and remastered for Switch earlier this year; the PS4 version conforms to the Switch version with a new alternate soundtrack and high-definition story art as well as two-player co-op and some additional modes including a mode with procedurally-generated stages.
Why should I care? I can't vouch for the remaster but my recollection of the original is that it's a very earnest and eye-pleasing brawler that's absolutely ruined by the quasi-exploratory map format, so if you have a low tolerance for ill-advised enviromental hazards and severe amounts of backtracking through hordes of identical enemies, you'd best proceed with extreme caution.
Useless fact: Only two Gekido games ever made it to market — the original 3D brawler for Playstation as well as the GBA followup — but many others were planned and subsequently cancelled due to financial issues, including a Game Boy Color title and a 3D adventure game for PSP; developer Naps Team recently released their GBC prototype for download, so have at it.
- Platform: Nintendo Switch (worldwide)
- Price: $29.99 / €29.99 / £24.9
- Publisher: THQ Nordic
What's this? A forgotten Playstation 2 action-platformer by the defunct Neon Studios, remastered in high definition a few years back as part of THQ Nordic's ceaseless quest to remaster every b-grade game ever made, and now ported to Switch; Kay's a little less jump-and-run and more combat-focused by way of Kung Fu Panda.
Why should I care? You pine for the good ol' days when 3D platformers were plentiful and it didn't matter that few of them were any fun... and to be fair, this might be the best of the rest. (Jake Kaufman did the music, so it at least sounds fine.)
Useless fact: Legend of Kay programmer Peter Thierolf got his start as co-founder of the pretend-Japanese dev team Kaiko, best known for Amiga titles like Apidya and Adventures of Quik & Silva, and he's resurrected the Kaiko name as part of the remastering team behind Kay and other recent THQ Nordic releases including the Darksiders series remasters.
DISCOUNTS & DEALS
- Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox 360 (North America)
- Discounts: up to 75% off hundreds XB1 & X360 titles during E3 week
- Publisher: various
Microsoft's E3 promotion crosses hardware, software and online services, with the most retro-centric deals coming via heavy discounts to a ton of big-name titles including dozens of X360 titles, many of which are playable on XB1 via backwards compatibility. One might say there are so many great titles that it's impossible to single out just one... and if they did, they'd be lying. Blue Dragon, $4.99, holla.