Unfashionable Re-release Roundup, week of August 17, 2023

By qaxio

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Redemption for the GTA Trilogy, perhaps.

Here’s one left-of-field addition to this week’s roundup that isn’t a game: Shooting Game Builder, the first commercial, international version of a Japanese free indie game-making tool that has been used to make dozens of free and commercial indie shooting games over the last sixteen years, and one that might hopefully spawn many more now that it’s openly available to English-speaking audiences.

ARCADE ARCHIVES

Dark Adventure / Devil World / Majuu no Oukoku

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4
  • Price: $7.99 / €6.99 / £6.29
  • Publisher: Hamster / Konami



What’s this? An overhead action-adventure game for multiple players, originally developed by Konami and released in North American arcades as Dark Adventure and retooled for the rest of the world as either Devil World or Majuu no Oukoku soon thereafter, with this being its first-ever reissue. Both versions of this game bear significant mechanical and structural differences, to the point of practically being different games: Dark Adventure allows up to three players to fight, explore and backtrack through dozens of relatively open stages in a manner not dissimilar to Atari’s Gauntlet, with an aggressively-draining stamina gauge and firearms available via pickups, whereas the international versions were retooled into a two-player game with a linear structure and far fewer stages, the adoption of firearms as default weapons and a Gradius-style upgrade bar for powerups, among many other changes.

Why should I care? You’re not just getting one deep-cut Konami game, you’re getting two! It’s also worth emphasizing that, unlike many other Konami arcade games of this era, the specifics of the North American version are not necessarily strictly punitive or designed solely to rob one of their money, and the more exploratory experience offered by that version is bound to work much better in a home setting than the arcades.

Useless fact: Yuzo Koshiro cites this game as having one of his favorite soundtracks of any Konami game, and one that inspired his approach to some of the new music he wrote for the recent Actraiser remake.


G-MODE ARCHIVES+

Toudou Ryuunosuke Tantei Nikki vol.2 Kogane no Ougon-ban ~Shouyoumaru Sanfuranshisuko Kouro Satsujin Jiken

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch (Japan)
  • Price: ¥1200
  • Publisher: G-MODE / Althi

What’s this? A mid-’00s feature phone remake of the second entry in a Taisho-era detective mystery series originally developed by Japanese adventure game pioneers Riverhillsoft for Japanese microcomputers in 1988 and subsequently ported to Windows 95; in this volume, detective Ryuunosuke is aboard an ocean liner en route to Japan after a six-month trip abroad when a corpse is discovered inside a barrel situated on-deck…

Why should I care? Again, this was the B-series to Riverhillsoft’s popular & internationally-acclaimed J.B.Harold detective series, so if you’re after something with a similar pedigree but more specific to early-20th-century Japan, this is your series (and, if you want a less vague recommendation, look elsewhere — I would love to say I have time to blow through even a quarter of the old galakei ADV G-MODE cranks out, but I’d be lying).

Helpful tip: G-MODE’s shared a fairly extensive list of hints for the entire game, should you need them.

OTHER

Radiant Silvergun (August 18)

  • Platform: PC via Steam (worldwide)
  • Price: $19.99 or equivalent (probably?)
  • Publisher: Treasure / Live Wire


What’s this? A long-awaited PC version of Treasure’s cult vertically-scrolling shooting game, originally released in arcades and quickly ported to the Sega Saturn exclusively in Japan in 1998, with a high-definition remaster produced for the Xbox 360 in 2011 and ported to Switch last year; much like the Switch version, the PC version is yet another port of the HD remaster and conforms to all the changes and enhancements added to the X360 version, which include touched-up visuals, online leaderboards and replay sharing, a fully-fledged training mode and an arrange mode themed after Radiant Silvergun’s successor, Ikaruga. (Missing from the recent ports: the X360 version’s barely-functional online co-op option.)

Why should I care? You’re one of those big Radiant Silvergun fans who’s looking forward to finally playing Radiant Silvergun for the first time… or maybe you genuinely just want to try a game that spent much of its life being extremely difficult to play on PC and anywhere else, and one that represents both a pillar of Saturn-specific visual craftsmanship and a much denser and micromanage-y set of intertwined systems that remain distinct from, but congruent with, those of the much-sleeker Ikaruga.

Helpful/sobering tip: This port was produced and published by Live Wire and not by Treasure themselves, so it doesn’t indicate any sort of grand return on Treasure’s part, not does it even suggest that more of their games will be ported in the near future — Treasure as a company in 2023 is basically only able to license out their old games to others, and they only retain the rights to a very small handul of their old works.

Red Dead Redemption

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 (worldwide)
  • Price: $49.95 or equivalent
  • Publisher: Rockstar Games / Double Eleven


What’s this? A modern port of Rockstar Games’ massively popular open-world western adventure game, originally released for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in 2010; ported by Double Eleven (Fallout 76, Rust Console Edition), this new release allows you to play both the base game and the Undead Nightmare expansion at 1080p/30FPS on PS4 (4K on PS4 Pro/PS5) or 1080p/720p handheld, 30FPS on Switch, and… that’s it, really. (What this new version doesn’t offer: any of the original online multiplayer functionality.)

Why should I care? Well, one would have to come to terms with the fact that this isn’t a remake or remaster but a very direct port of the original game with minimal improvements and a complete lack of multiplayer content, and one that’s arguably inferior to playing the original, fully-featured and dirt-cheap game via Xbox backwards compatibility. Beyond that, you might be worried about this port being another GTA remaster debacle, but I’m happy to report that both the PS and Switch versions safely clear that incredibly low bar: they might be basic ports, but they, ‘yknow, work.

Helpful tip: These ports are getting a physical release in October, which will include a physical Xbox release that’s just the existing backwards-compatible X360 package.

Xtreme Sports

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch (worldwide)
  • Price: $9.99 or equivalent
  • Publisher: WayForward / Limited Run Games

What’s this? An emulated reissue of WayForward’s ever-so-slightly adventure-tinged sports minigame collection, originally released for the Game Boy Color in North America in 2001 and eventually re-released via the 3DS Virtual Console in 2014; this version is being emulated via Limited Run Games’ Carbon Engine and offers save states, various screen size, filter and border options and a small art gallery.

Why should I care? You want to witness one of WayForward’s first original games and one that served as a major point of transition away from pure work-for-hire projects and into original games, and you don’t mind that it’s also a pre-Jake Kaufman game (which is to say, the music suuucks).

Helpful tip: Pressing left(×5), up(×5), right(×5), down(×5), – button(×5) on the title screen menu should take you to a debug menu featuring, among other things, a scrapbook menu full of developer sketches and commentary (visible as it is at GBC resolution/color count, naturally).


SONY/NAMCO FINALLY DELIVERED

Tekken 2 (PlayStation, Mr. Driller (PlayStation), Ridge Racer Type 4 (PlayStation) & Ridge Racers 2 (PlayStation Portable) available as standalone PS4/5 purchases ($9.99 each or equivalent)

One of the cons to the recent revamp of Sony’s subscription-based services is that several of the PS Classics titles that were promised to be available as standalone purchases for non-subscribers simply weren’t made available, with the presumption being that Namco simply wasn’t playing ball — well, here they are, available both to buy or to redeem for free if you bought them way back when on PS3/PSP. Maybe they’ll get around to adding Tekken 3 someda—ah, who am I kiddin’,

ROM HACKS & TRANSLATIONS

Dog of Bay (PlayStation 2) translation patch by HilltopWorks


Did you know there’s a new Samba de Amigo game coming to Switch very soon, and that a demo just dropped? No? Well, it doesn’t matter, because this is all the y2k rhythm game you’ll ever need.

LIMITED-EDITION PHYSICAL PRINT RUNS

Castle of Shikigami 2 (Nintendo Switch) physical versions from Red Art Games & Videogamesplus

  • Price: €39.99/$54.99CAD (standard),  €69.99/$99.99CAD (collectors edition)
  • Availability: ETA Q2 2024


Alfa System’s notoriously goofily-translated shooting game Castle of Shikigami 2 received a fresh port for PC and Switch last year that added quire a few excellent new features but somewhat controversially ditched the original, riduculous localization for something both more faithful and more coherent. Get ready, then as it’s getting an international physical Switch release that boasts a further revised localization… into various European languages; they’re not reverting to the old loc and they never will.

Koumajou Remilia: Scarlet Symphony (Nintendo Switch) physical versions from Limited Run Games

  • Price: €34.99  (standard),  $69.99 (collectors edition)
  • Availability: until September 19, 23:59 Eastern

Way back in 2009, there was great novelty to be had from any developer producing a high-quality Symphony of the Night homage, let alone an indie fan group doing so by way of a Touhou game; nowadays, you can’t take five steps without tripping over either, but Koumajou Remilia remains one of the better bite-sized SOTN tributes out there, and this remaster assuredly put it in the hands of people who’d never have dared try it on PC back in the day. (The Rondo of Blood-style sequel’s in the process of being remastered, too…)

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