Retro Re-release Roundup, week of June 28. 2018

Splashin', bashin', cashin' & crashin'.

Crash Bandicoot's done, Spyro's soon to follow, Medievil HD is coming (yeah, I forgot, too)... which Playstation relic is most likely to be resurrected next? Ape Escape? Jumping Flash? Akuji the Heartless? Don't leave me hanging, Sony.



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

What's this? Technos' seminal 1986 arcade brawler, not-so-secret origin of Kunio-kun and spiritual precursor to the Double Dragon series; unlike the later, goofier Kunio-kun games, the original is a fairly straight-laced brawler packed with hot-blooded, no-nonsense banchou beatdowns (or in the case of Renegade, good ol' all-American punk pugilism).

Why should I care? Renegade may be an extremely short game but it's also the jumping-off point for Double Dragon and pretty much every brawler since, so it gets props for being the OG, if nothing else.

Useless fact: While the Kunio-kun series would spawn dozens of sequels in its native Japan, there are also a couple of oft-forgotten west-only sequels to Renegade that are completely divorced from the Kunio-kun canon: 1988's Target: Renegade and 1989's Renegade 3: The Final Chapter, published by Ocean Software for European computers, with the former even getting a NES port published by Taito. They're... certainly videogames, I'll give 'em that.


Money Puzzle Exchanger

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

What's this? A quirky versus puzzle game by defunct arcade devs FACE, released for Neo Geo in 1997; players are tasked with matching coins in order to convert them to a higher denomination — five 1-coins make a 5-coin, two 5-coins make a 10-coin, etc — as an interesting alternative to the colour-matching systems seen in similar games like Magical Drop and Bust-A-Move/Puzzle Bobble.

Why should I care? Let's be real, this game is just Magical Drop with a twist, but it's a really neat twist that can be enjoyed by players of all skill levels as a completely valid alternative to its derivative.

Useless fact: Money Puzzle Exchanger's close resemblance to Magical Drop was not lost on Data East — they successfully sued FACE for copyright infringement, ultimately resulting in the bankruptcy of FACE and a post-bankruptcy settlement in Data East's favour.


The King of Fighters Collection: The Orochi Saga

  • Platform: Playstation 4 (North America, Europe)
  • Price: $14.99 / €14.99 / £11.99
  • Publisher: SNK

What's this? A collection of all three "Orochi Saga" King of Fighters games — that's KOF '95, '96 and '97 — plus the stand-alone KOF '94 and the dream-match KOF '98, complete with new features like a color edit mode and Neo Geo CD soundtrack options for various games.

Why should I care? You shouldn't, and not just because these games are available in eighteen different formats: the emulation is shoddy and adding the PS2-to-PS4 emulator to the mix is sure to render these games nigh-unplayable due to input lag.

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.


de Blob 

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch (worldwide)
  • Price: $29.99 / €29.99
  • Publisher: THQ Nordic

What's this? THQ's charming paint-splashing 3D platformer, liberated from the Wii and presented here in high definition; players are tasked with defeating a monochromatic corporate dictatorship by mixing colours and leaping on every available surface to return colour to a world turned grey, all set to a dynamic funk-based soundtrack that reacts to your choice of palette.

Why should I care? You're interested in trying a charming and unsung 3D platformer in a format that doesn't map jump to a waggle motion. Seriously, whose idea was that?

Helpful tip: This particular port was released just a day after the original game's 10th anniversary, thereby just slipping into Retronauts eligibility; the other ports released over the last several months, including PS4, Xbox One and PC, were just a tad shy of the mark to be mentioned then, but I'm mentioning 'em now, not least of all because they're cheaper than the new Switch port.

Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy  (June 29)

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PC via Steam (worldwide)
  • Price: $39.99 / 29.99
  • Publisher: Activision

What's this? Naughty Dog's beloved and immensely successful 3D-ish mascot platformer trilogy, remade last year with current-generation visuals to somewhat surprising critical and commercial acclaim and now ported away from its home turf with improved load times and the inclusion of the additional DLC stages, Stormy Ascent and the brand-new Future Tense, as well as platform-specific enhancements like 60FPS support on PC and 4K resolution support on X1X. (PS4 owners, you'll be getting your own software update that'll add some of the engine enhancements to your version, as well as a reissued physical print run with a new cover to indicate the upgraded and additional content.)

Why should I care? You've finally given up waiting for Donkey Kong Country to go multi-platform. 

Useless fact: For much of its early life, Crash Bandicoot was developed under the delightfully prescient codename "Sonic's Ass".

Ikaruga (June 29)

  • Platform: Playstation 4 (worldwide)
  • Price: $9.99?
  • Publisher: Treasure

What's this? Treasure's classic black-and-white puzzle danmaku game, back once again with a few touchups for 4K via PS4 Pro, including high-resolution 2D/UI assets and 4x multi-sample anti-aliasing.

Why should I care? It's the same meticulously-assembled, iconoclastic shooting game it was a month ago, only a little prettier.

Useless fact: Ikaruga creator Hiroshi Iuchi has spent the last several years intermittently working on a new shooting game for PS4 at his new place of employment, M2; we've never seen the game in action or been given anything more than a name, but it was recently confirmed to still exist and still be in the works so who knows, maybe the recent deluge of Ikaruga ports will encourage Iuchi to pick up the pace.

Lumines Remastered 

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC via Steam (worldwide)
  • Price: $14.99 / €14.99 / £12.99
  • Publisher: Enhance Games

What's this? Rez mastermind Tetsuya Mizuguchi's tempo-matching, techno-thumping falling-block puzzle game, dragged all the way from the PSP to modern-day platforms with new high-definition visuals and higher-bitrate music derived from the original source for the games 40-track setlist, along with select addtions cribbed from later games like the user-assembled Skin Edit mode. (The Switch version also includes an extremely aggressive implementation of HD rumble.)

Why should I care? You want to experience one of the PSP's signature titles, you're looking for a taste of what to expect from the upcoming Tetris Effect or you're vainly hoping that if you buy another Lumines game they might finally do something new with Meteos. (A word of warning for would-be Switch owners: this version of the game is riddled with issues including frame drops, long load times and severe battery drain; I haven't tried the game on other platforms but I have to imagine it's better elsewhere.)

Helpful tip: Lumines Remastered signals the return of Trance Vibration, a function first implemented in the PS2 version of Rez that allows players to add additional vibration to their game via additional unused controllers, the placement of which can and should be left entirely to one's discretion.


Sonic the Hedgehog series sale on Xbox

  • Formats: Xbox 360, Xbox One via backwards-compatibility
  • Discounts: 50% off various Sonic the Hedgehog titles until July 3
  • Publisher: Sega

Sega's discounting their Sonic catalogue once again, so now's a chance to pick up any of the straggling Sonic titles you may have neglected, including current non-grata titles Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles, the oddball arcade fighting game Sonic the Fighters or the excellent Retro Engine port of Sonic CD  all backwards-compatible on XB1, all missing from the recent Mega Drive compilation and all worth adding to your collection. Sonic 2006 is also on sale. Hmm.