Retro Re-release Roundup, week of August 23, 2018

Ah, good.

If there's anything more remarkable than Sega finally finding the werewithal to bring back the old Shenmue games, it's the fact that they've managed to sandwich it between two of the three Yakuza titles they've scheduled for international release this year. Someone at Atlus is looking forward to a six-month nap sometime soon, I'm sure.


Crossed Swords

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

What's this? Alpha Denshi's behind-the-shoulder fantasy combat game, released for the Neo Geo in 1990; one or two players can take on a variety of monsters and adversaries with reflex-based thrust-and-parry combat, with defeated enemies earning the player experience points and gold which can be used to strengthen their character or purchase more powerful weapons.

Why should I care? You're curious to see how Punch-Out!! might adapt to an adventure game format, and you're prepared for enemies that hit really friggin' hard a few stages in.

Useless fact: Crossed Swords and its little-played Neo Geo sequel take place in the same universe as another early Alpha Denshi Neo Geo game, Magician Lord.


Night Trap - 25th Anniversary Edition

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch (worldwide)
  • Price: $14.99 / €6.99 / £6.29
  • Publisher: Hamster

What's this? 1992's most controversial game and 2017's most unexpected remaster, now available on Switch for players who want to cringe anytime, anywhere.

Why should I care? You want to spite Howard "this game will never appear on a Nintendo system" Howard, I guess.

Helpful tip: Spike-Chunsoft is publishing a port of an immeasurably more worthwile live-action adventure game in a couple weeks and I suspect it'll need every purchase it can get.

Penguin Wars

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch (North America, Europe)
  • Price: $29.99 / €34.99
  • Publisher: Dispatch Games / Clarice Games

What's this? An unlikely revival of UPL's frantic ball-dodging battle game, originally released in arcades in 1985 and ported to several other platforms including Game Boy; this new, club-chic version adds a bevy of new features including a single-player story mode, distinct characters with unique properties and traits and local and online multiplayer for up to four players, as well as a soundtrack assembled from a handful of Japanese club scene artists. (Unique to the Switch version is a tabletop mode that shows the entire playfield from a top-down perspective.)

Why should I care? Penguin Wars' simple air hockey-meets-dodgeball mechanics are very quick to grasp and haven't required a lot of modernizing, and you sure as hell won't be able to play as a corpsepainted sloth in Windjammers 2.

Helpful tip: As of this writing, both the digital version and the announced DLC — an unlikely quartet of cameo characters from Sunsoft's Ufouria/Hebereke — have yet to hit the eShop, so until the publisher gets their affairs in order, you'll have to make do with a physical copy.

Shenmue I & II

  • Platform: Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC via Steam (worldwide)
  • Price: $29.99 / €34,99  / £29.99 (PS4/XB1), $26.99 / €34,99  / £24.99 (Steam), 
  • Publisher: Sega

What's this? Parts un and dos of Yu Suzuki's groundbreaking martial arts adventure game, re-released for the first time since the Dreamcast/Xbox days with dual-language audio for both games, support for analogue movement and full controller remapping, a new UI, support for higher resolutions and post-processing effects and seamless data transfer from Shenmue I to II.

Why should I care? You're looking to experience a turn-of-the-millennium pinnacle of interactive entertainment and you're fully willing to enjoy it at a pace that might seem glacial compared to its progeny.

Helpful tip: Shenmue II's amazing duck race side event is figuratively but not literally impossible to miss, so while I wouldn't normally suggest someone consult a guide while playing the game for the first time, I implore you: for the love of all that is pure in this world, don't be afraid to look up the requirements.


Return of Double Dragon SNES cartridge from Retroism

  • Platform: Super Nintendo
  • Price: $49.99
  • Publisher: Retroism

Publisher Retroism wisely opted not to reissue the original, slapdash Super Double Dragon and is instead giving people the chance to buy a SNES version of the Super Famicom revision, Return of Double Dragon, which features revised enemy AI and enemy placement, new and extented music and an options menu, among other things; it's still a glacially slow game pieced together from the remnants of a hundred cancelled ideas, but improvements are improvements.


Chrono Trigger, discounted (and finally worth buying?) on Steam

  • Platform: PC via Steam (worldwide)
  • Price: $7.49 until August 28
  • Publisher: Square-Enix

I cannot state with all certainty that Square-Enix's disastrous Chrono Trigger port has been "fixed" but it's definitely received a multitude of major patches, so if you're willing to give S-E one more chance to come good, now's the time to roll the dice.