Retro Re-release Roundup, week of June 21, 2018

Return to Ill-Advised Tank Controls.

There's one conspicuous absence from today's roundup: the Steam summer sale, which is rumoured to commence just a few hours from the time of writing, and while I can't make any guarantees, I suspect they may elect to discount an old game or two. Bubsy Two-Fur, don't let me down.


The Last Blade 2

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

What's this? The second and final Last Blade title, produced as a Bakumatsu-era successor to the Samurai Shodown series during that series' unsuccessful soujourn into 3D; this version adopts and ever-so-slightly grimmer atmosphere and a few mechanical additions including the implementation of selectable styles that change the system mechanics for each character.

Why should I care? You didn't already buy Code Mystics' online-equipped double-pack on PC nine months ago.

Helpful tip: To access the third EX style select your character, highlight Speed Mode and press C(x6), then highlight Power Mode and press B(x3), then go back to Speed Mode and press C(x4).

The King of Fighters 2000

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

What's this? The final King of Fighters game developed by SNK before bankruptcy and the final SNK game with art by iconic illustrator Shinkiro. KOF 2000 features a revamped implementation of the assist-based "striker" system from KOF '99 and adds dozens of unique, original and obscure assist characters, including several cameos from SNK games old and new.

Why should I care? The much-relaxed striker system allows for some truly ridiculous traps and lengthy combos; if you're a fan of freeform, so-broken-it's-fun fighting games you'll find something to chew on here.

Helpful tip: Many characters have a third "maniac" striker option that can only be selected via hidden command — on the order screen, highlight the alternate striker and press up, left(x3), right(x3), down.


Wizard Fire

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

What's this? An obscure sequel to the Data East's already-obscure isometric co-op hack-and-slasher Gate of Doom, now sporting a brighterand more detailed west-meets-east aesthetic and between-stage cutscenes with hilariously corny voice acting.

Why should I care? You're curious to hear Data East's classic voice actors

Useless fact: Wizard Fire's game designer had conceived plans for another two sequels and harboured an unrequited fantasy to get them made right up until Data East's bankruptcy at the turn of the century.


Escape from Monkey Island 

  • Platform: PC via GOG (worldwide)
  • Price: $9.99
  • Publisher: LucasArts / Disney

What's this? The fourth entry in the Monkey Island saga and the last entry developed by LucasArts, released for PC in 2000 and missing from current-day distribution services until now; this game once again sees Guybrush Threepwood pitted against his eternal nemesis LeChuck, this time in the search for the Ultimate Insult and the fight to keep his home from being gentrified by an evil (read: Australian) real estate developer.

Why should I care? You're one of those people who can't stand not to own every entry of a particular series, even if the entry you're missing is bogged with lazy pop culture gags, unwieldy controls, awful 3D animation and the tedious simon-says show-stopper that is Monkey Kombat.

Useless fact: Just as the behind-the-scenes scripting language changed from SCUMM to Lua, so changed the in-game bar from the SCUMM Bar to the Lua Bar; sadly, that's about as subtle as the gags come this time around.

Gunbird 2 

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch (worldwide)
  • Price: $7.99 / €7.99 / £7.19
  • Publisher: Zerodiv

What's this? Psikyo's playful vertical shooter, released in arcades in 1998 and ported to several platforms since, most notably the Dreamcast in 1999; Gunbird 2 expands on the original with prettier visuals, a new medal-chaining scoring system, a close-range attack button and the occasional excursion into bullet hell. (The aforementjoned Dreamcast version also included Darkstalkers favourite Morrigan as a playable character but, as one might expect, she's not present here. Ask Capcom about letting Zerodiv add her back in, I'm sure they'd love to cut a deal.)

Why should I care? You enjoyed the original Gunbird and want to play something with a little (okay, a lot) more bite, or you just want to see Psikyo at their aesthetic peak.

Useless fact: The final boss in the original arcade version of Gunbird 2 bore an extremely close resemblance to that of the Japanese pharmacy chain Sato's famous elephant mascot, Sato-chan; the boss was replaced with a new dog-like sprite in subsequent releases of the game, but this port allows you to toggle between either version, should you deem it important.


Ship to Shore Phono. Co.'s Spring Cleaning Sale

  • Formats: vinyl
  • Discounts: 25% off all records until June 22
  • Publisher: Ship to Shore Phono. Co.

If you're not yet acquainted with STS Phono. Co's stable of high-quality VGM vinyl releases, now's your chance to grab anything from their catalogue for 25% off for the next day or so, including such cuts as the MOTHER and MOTHER 2 soundtracks, a bevy of second-string Konami soundtracks and several compilations from Taito's in-house band, Zuntata, not to mention records from more recent retro games like Axiom Verge and Celeste.