Retro Re-release Roundup, week of July 12, 2018

Another World, another port.

You know, if Eric Chahi & co. were able to port Heart of Darkness to even half as many platforms as Another World, I might be able to find the opportunity to sit down and beat that game, rather than let it languish on a shelf for the better part of fifteen years. Sorry, Whisky, but I'm done saving anyone whose game requires me to swap discs.


The Super Spy

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

What's this? SNK's peculiar first-person genre mashup, released in 1990; players are tasked with exploring maze-like facilities in pursuit of a murderous terrorist organisation, all the while rescuing hostages, finding and upgrading new weapons and firearms, dodging surveillance cameras and beating the snot out of countless palette-swapped thugs in a manner reminiscent of a scrappier, panoramic Punch-Out!!

Why should I care? You want to play something unique, you want to see how SNK faked real-time 3D hallways in the pre-Wolfenstein 3D era and you have a lot of time on your hands The Super Spy was definitely designed with the Neo Geo Memory Card in mind.

Helpful tip:  Even in its weakest, most degraded state, the knife is preferable to punching in pretty much every way: it's at least as strong as a punch, it's faster and the full combo knocks enemies into the background.


Express Raider

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch (North America)
  • Price: $6.99
  • Publisher: Flying Tiger Entertainent

What's this? A lesser-known Data East arcade action game from 1986 that lets you re-enact your favourite Wild West outlaw fantasies, with stages that alternate between on-foot train-jacking and semi-automated crosshair shooting on horseback.

Why should I care? You're tired of Bad Dudes and want to play as an actual bad dude.

Useless fact: The "coyotes" you're forced to bludgeon before every train departure look nothing like coyotes and a whole lot like hurridely-rotoscoped mountain lions to me, but I'm not an all-American patriot like the buckaroos at Data East so I may well be wrong.


Another World

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch (North America)
  • Price: $9.99 / €9.99 / £8.99
  • Publisher: Digital Lounge / DotEmu

What's this? Eric Chahi's seminal and wildly influential immersive side-scroller, developed for the Amiga 500 and Atari ST platforms in 1991 and ported to at least a dozen other platforms since, now including the Switch; this particular version is based off the 20th Anniversary remaster and offers optional difficulty settings, various versions of the soundtrack and higher-resolution visuals including updated, more detailed backgrounds.

Why should I care? Another World's minimalist, Beksinsky-meets-Mechner visuals have aged incredibly well and the modern port's accoutrements take some of the rigidity out of the game's many trial-and-error roadblocks.

Helpful tip: A word on the difficulty settings: "normal" is easy, "hard" is the original difficulty, "hardcore" is for people who know the game inside and out and absolutely nobody else.


SEGA Arcade: Pop-Up History by Read-Only Memory 

  • Format: hardcover, limited-edition silver-embossed cover
  • Price: starts from £35
  • Publisher:Read-Only Memory / Darren Wall

The ever-diligent lads and lasses at Read-Only Memory are taking a left-field approach with their latest project: rather than a conventional compendium in the vein of their previous Sega-focused books, their newest proposal offers backers the chance to view three-dimensional reproductions of five classic "full-body experience" arcade machines via the well-established and entirely legitimate medium of the pop-up book. It's never too late to teach your kids about Thunder Blade, I guess...? 

Square-Enix Humble Store sale

  • Format: PC via Humble Store
  • Discount: up to 85% off dozens of Square-Enix games & DLC until July 23
  • Publisher: Square-Enix

Daikatana, Deus Ex: Invisible War, The Last Remnant, Urban Chaos and other heralded classics can be yours for pennies for the next few days, alongside the usual filler titles from the Final Fantasy, Tomb Raider and Legacy of Kain series. (One off-beat recommendation for FF-heads: the PC version of Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, which marries the plot of the mobile/WiiWare FFIV sequel with the low-poly graphics and far more ruthless combat mechanics of the DS FFIV remake. Nuts and gum, together at last!)