Retro Re-release Roundup, week of October 18, 2018

Bathroom BLiTZ.

A lot of the games that appear in the weekly roundup are unceremoniously tossed into the marketplace, never to be thought of again, but today's highlight, the once-unsung, now-sung Valkyria Chronicles, is the perfect example of a game that was able to realize its unrequited potential simply by being reintroduced to a new audience (anyone who didn't own a PS3) at the right time (any time beyond 2008). Will that same good fortune befall Ninja-Kid II? I'm gonna say... eh, probably not.


Ninja-Kid II

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

What's this? The true, non-Jajamaru-kun sequel to UPL's 1984 arcade hit Ninja Kid, released in arcades and on Famicom in 1987; the bite-sized levels are replaced with a wider variety of large stages that scroll in multiple directions, and Ninja-kun himself is equipped with a few new techniques like wall-jumping.

Why should I care? You enjoyed the original game and want something a little more complex and much more challenging.

Helpful tip: Falling from high places will cause Ninja-kun to take a tumble upon hitting the ground, but if you press the jump button just as you touch the ground you'll make a clean landing and be awarded some bonus points for your skill.


Strikers 1945 Plus

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

What's this? A remixed conversion of Psikyo's vertical shooting game Strikers 1945-II, released for Neo Geo in 1999 and butchered for PSP in 2009; this version combines new and salvaged assets from previous Strikers titles with new level layouts, revised enemy attack patterns and a compact bordered play area that attempts to preserve the verticality of the original versions on the Neo Geo's horizontally-aligned screen.

Why should I care? You're curious to observe how the cramped playfield forced Psikyo to arrange their game into quasi-bullet hell, or you just happen to be nostalgic for this particilar version.

Useless fact: Psikyo was formed by ex-members of Video System's Aero Fighters team who wanted to make authentic vertically-oriented shooting games and felt the Neo Geo was a poor fit for their sensibilities. Oh, how the worm turns...


Valkyria Chronicles

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch (worldwide)
  • Price: $19.99 / €17.99 / £15.99 (25% discount for owners of Valkyria Chronicles 4)
  • Publisher: Sega

What's this? Sega's cult third-person tactics RPG set around a fictional and extremely anime interpretation of World War 2, originally released on PS3 in 2008 and given a second wind on Steam in 2014; this version sports a resolution bump over the original PS3 game and comes bundled with both English and Japanese audio, as well as all downloadable content.

Why should I care? Valkyria Chronicles' much-lauded "BLiTZ" system artfully melds third-person action elements into a more traditional SRPG framework in a manner that's seldom imitated a decade later, much less outdone — sorry, Code Name S.T.E.A.M.  and if you jumped on board with the just-released Valkyria Chronicles 4 then good news, this one's equally worthwhile. (Being available on Switch also catapults it to being the best handheld entry in the series, not that it had much competition.)

Helpful tip: By default, the 25% discount advertised for owners of Valkyria Chronicles 4 is only being applied for people who bought VC4 digitally, but the discount should be made eligible to people who bought a physical copy in the very near future, provided you register the game to your account beforehand


Battle Kid: Kiken no Wana

  • Platform: Nintendo Famicom
  • Price: 4,980円 + tax
  • Publisher:  Columbus Circle Bit-Games / Sivak Games

Sivak Games' Battle Kid series of IWBTG-inspired action games are renowned for being among the first full-scale homebrew games produced for the NES, so it's no surprise to see Columbus Circle sign on to bring the original Battle Kid game to the Japanese market; this version has been overhauled by co-producers Bit-Games and now features extensive, per-screen difficulty tweaks, a health system, altered checkpoints and enemy behavior, a rewritten script with new, additional and enhanced event scenes, new difficulty settings, extra music and other new content including entire new stages and bosses, as well as a English/Japanese language option, all of which should cement this version as the definitive iteration of the series. (Treasure fans, take note: the new package art was drawn by longtime Treasure designer Tetsuhiko "HAN" Kikuchi.)

Fast Striker

  • Platform: Playstation 4, Playstation Vita
  • Price: $6.99 or equivalent (cross-buy)
  • Publisher: NG:DEV Team

Longtime independent Neo Geo / Dreamcast developers NG:DEV Team are slowly but surely bringing their back catalog into the modern world, with today's offering being a port of their 2010 west-meets-east vertical bullet hell shooting game Fast Striker; it's a no-frills port of what's generally considered to be a fairly middling game, but at least you now have the option to judge it for yourself without shelling out several hundred euros for the privilege.


8-Bit Apocalypse: The Untold Story of Atari's Missile Command

  • Format: hardcover
  • List price: $26.95
  • Author: Alex Rubens

Alex Rubens presents the first dedicated chronicle of Atari's ever-popular manifestation of cold war anxiety, featuring interviews and insight from creator Dave Theurer, Atari founder Nolan Bushnell the author of that one Chuck episode about Missile Command. (Today's fact: there's a Chuck episode about Missile Command.)

Boss Fight Books; Katamari Damacy

  • Format: paperback, eBook
  • List price: $4.95 (eBook), $14.95 (paperback), $17.95 (bundle)
  • Author: L.E.Hall

Boss Fight Books' latest tome, written in cooperation with series creata Keita Takahashi, chronicles Katamari Damacy's development, unlikely ascent to mainstream success and lasting impact within Namco and gaming culture writ large. Check the excerpt!