Retro Re-release Roundup, week of July 26, 2018

Pour one out for Duff McWhalen.

Ranking the classic Mega Man games is always a fickle and time-consuming process, but ranking the Mega Man X games is considerably easier: X1 > X4 > X2 > X5 > X3. There, that's all of them.


Omega Fighter

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

What's this? An atypically orthodox vertical shooting game from the usually-quirky defunct arcade developers UPL, released in 1989 and never released on home platforms until now; the game challenges players to take down a massive and deadly spacecraft, with each stages taking place above or around a different section of the mothership. (The Arcade Archives release contains both the original game and the dipswitch-only "Special Mode" remix, as well as the fully-fledged revision, confusingly named Omega Fighter Special.)

Why should I care? Despite its somewhat primitive visuals, Omega Fighter has gained a cult following among shooting enthusiasts due to a number of forward-thinking systems that would be adopted by hardcore shooting game developers decades later, including a proximity-based scoring system, a suicide attack and a bomb-type weapon that induces artificial slowdown; if you're looking to experience the missing link between Zanac and Ketsui, look no further than Omega Fighter.

Useless fact:  A long-standing rumour among Japanese arcade fanatics suggested that Omega Fighter had been designed by an anonymous famous arcade developer — that rumour was later confirmed by former UPL members, who revealed the mystery man behind the game was none other than Bubble Bobble and Rainbow Islands creator Fukio "MTJ" Mitsuji.


Art of Fighting 3

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

What's this? The final entry in SNK's Art of Fighting series of cinematic fighting games, released in arcades in 1996; this game is a side-story starring sidekick Robert Garcia and features a new motion-capture animation style and a near-total roster refresh.

Why should I care? Art of Fighting 3's peculiar interpretation of 3D fighting game systems and animation techniques with traditional 2D graphics stands alone among SNK fighting games, for better or worse.

Useless fact: The original arcade version featured a real-time clock system that would give characters overpowered buffs if you played on their birthday.

The King of Fighters '97

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

What's this? The fourth entry in SNK's ever-popular all-star team-based fighting game series, and the conclusion of the "Orochi Saga" storyline that began with KOF95. This game features the debut of the New Faces team (Shermie, Chris and Yashiro) as well as the '97 Special Team, a trio of fan-favourite SNK characters (Blue Mary, Yamazaki and Billy Kane) determined by fan polls from three different Japanese gaming mags, in addition the option to choose between two modes based on the systems from KOF96 or KOF95.

Why should I care? KOF97 represented another big leap in quality from the already-great KOF96 and is considered one of the best KOF games ever made; it's especially popular in China and is still heavily played and spectated to this day.

Useless fact: The Orochi titles for Chris, Shermie and Yashiro are reference to vocal tunes from the anime Armored Trooper Votoms, Lupin the 3rd and Combat Mecha Xabgunle, respectively.


Game Tengoku Cruisin'Mix

  • Platform: Playstation 4 (North America, Europe)
  • Price: $29.99 / €29.99 / £24.99 
  • Publisher: Degica Games

What's this? A remastered version of Jaleco's parodical mid-'90s crossover shooting game that contains ports of both the original arcade game and the Saturn version, with optional high-quality audio and VA, online leaderboards and a gallery of HD Jaleco art and flyers, plus additional characters including City Connection's Clarice and Bases Loaded's Homura Banto available via DLC. (The English update for the currently-Japanese-only Steam release is said to be imminent but the publisher's yet to share any details, so until then, your guess is as good as mine.)

Why should I care? You've been waiting your whole life for a crossover between Exerion, Psycho Pigs UXB and Formation Z.

Helpful tip: If you're looking for one more excuse to use the Flip Grip you just ordered, I hear there's a Switch version on the horizon, too...

Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1+2

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC via Steam (worldwide)
  • Price: $19.99 / €15.99 / £15.99 each, $39.99 / €38.99 / £32.49 bundled
  • Publisher: Capcom

What's this? A pair of collections compiling the English and Japanese versions of the eight mainline Mega Man X titles, split right down the middle — X1 through X4 on MMXLC1, X5 through X8 on MMXLC2 — complete with filters and visual settings for each game, art, music and cutscene galleries, a new "Rookie Hunter" mode that lessens damages and negates instant-death traps, a new "X Challenge" mode that lets players fight multiple bosses simultaneously and the complete Day of Sigma OVA produced for the Mega Man X PSP remake. (They've also reverted the English names of the X5 bosses to their original, non-Guns 'n Roses-related names, the fiends.)

Why should I care? Three or four of these games will show you why fans have been demanding this collection for the better part of the last decade, and the rest might make you reconsider whether Mighty Number 9 was really the unexpected dip in quality we all took it to be.

Helpful tip: Switch owners, the 1+2 retail bundle in all regions includes the first collection on the card and the second as a download code, but never fear: if you absolutely insist on owning a physical copy of Mega Man X5 through X8 on Switch, you can import a region-free, English-supported version of MMXLC2 from Japan. (One other word of note: the Japanese versions of each game included in the international release do differ slightly from the Japanese release due to licensing issues, so if you absolutely need the authentic vocal theme from the later games, you'll have to import the games for your console of choice.)


Arcade1UP 3/4-size multi-game arcade cabinets by MyArcade 

  • Format: plug-and-play mini-cabinet
  • Price: from $299
  • Availability: ships in September

Those of you with just enough DIY inclination to put together a flat-pack cabinet but not enough to maintain an authentic arcade collection might appreciate MyArcade's new line of replica arcade cabinets, each equipped with multiple games per cabinet from the likes of Midway, Atari and Capcom, game-appropriate control options and a 17" LCD screen. I can't imagine playing a three-player Rampage game on an even smaller cabinet than the original, but maybe that's just me. (The distributor is bringing some of these cabinets to EVO next weekend, so a more discerning evaluation should be available before long.)

NEOGEO Mini (Japan version) restock on Amazon Japan 

  • Format: plug-and-play mini-cabinet
  • Price: ¥12,420
  • Availability: ships in September

The initial wave of Japanese NEOGEO Mini units sold out extremely quickly online and they're already out of stock at most retailers just days after general release, so if you're looking to grab your own Japanese unit and don't want to wait for the international version later this year, you may want to put in an order while you still can. (Reminder: the colored cabinet design is exclusive to the Japanese version and the two variants have several exclusive games between them, with the Japanese variant skewing towards fighting games and away from multi-genre titles.)

Sega Genesis / Mega Drive Classics PSVR Update 

  • Format: patch, I guess?
  • Price: free
  • Availability: now

Sega's recent 16-bit value pack has been updated with PSVR support, and by that I mean you'll be able to view the 3D "bedroom" in hub and play the games as if you're really squinting at them on a tiny old CRT... y'know, if you want to.

Sony Europe Summer Sale 

  • Platforms: Playstation 4, Playstation Vita, Playstation 3PSVR
  • Price: up to 60% off hundreds of titles until
  • Publisher: various

Sony seems to be running one massive sale or another every other week, but this one just so happens to have good discounts on recent new-old titles like the Shadow of the Colossus remake, Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection and Sega Genesis / Mega Drive Classics, so I'll save my reminders to buy God Hand until next week.