2009 XSeed Games
Guest review by Blue Protoman
WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
If Retro Game Challenge were dinner, the recipe would go something like this:
Lots of water
An NES if you’re American, a Famicom if you’re Japanese
1 copy of Galaga (region does not matter)
2 copies of Ninja Jajamaru-Kun
2 copies of Famicom Grand Prix
1 copy of any commercially-driven re-release
1 copy of Star Force (region does not matter)
1 copy of Dragon Quest (region does not matter)
1 copy of Ninja Gaiden (region does not matter)
Several 80’s game magazines
A blank Nintendo DS card
Throw it all in a medium-sized cauldron and boil for 2 years. Be sure to bug-test every few weeks.
When you finish boiling, throw in the blank DS card. The mixture will be absorbed by the card. Dump the game, copy it, and mass release it.
But, how does this recipe taste?
Very, very good.
Retro Game Challenge is a homage to an era of games you either grew up in or should’ve grew up in. (I personally was cursed to be a child during the 64-bit era. But that’s another story.) You are…you. Pick a boy or a girl, and name yourself. Now, a guy comes up all pissed.
Who is this guy? This is none other than Arino, host of a Japanese TV show called GameCenter CX, which focuses mostly on classic games. He’s down in the dumps because he sucks at modern games, so an evil version of him spawns in his DS, and haunts gamers around the world with what he’s about to do to you. He turns you into a 10-year-old and sends you back in time to his childhood in the 80s. You meet young Arino, who isn’t evil. You are tasked with completing 33 challenges, if you want to return home. 4 for each game, and one final challenge. This game starts in 1984 and ends on New Year’s Eve, 1989. Wow, that’s a helluva long time to be trapped. Your mother must be worried. Actually, this is time travel, so in the present, you may have only been gone for a few minutes. But enough of that. I’m going to start defining the main points of the review. I will not go into the individual games. I might if I get enough requests to do so. The following topics are not written in an order based on personal preference, they are written in a review format I am accustomed to on another site.
Why am I giving the graphics 8.5/10, even though there are much better graphics on the DS to look at? Well, the game (except menus) is intended to look like the NES. The only differences in graphics between this game and a real NES is that the resolution is larger, there is no flicker, and there seems to be less slowdown and more colors. Gameplay looks good. The pixels are nice and colorful, and they don’t look like crap. There seems to be a lot of megamanning, though. (The NES could only have 3 colors per sprite. So developers stacked sprites on top of each other so it looked like one single, colorful sprite. Megaman’s face in 1-6 is a different sprite than his body.) The menus leave a little to be desired. Everything looks fine enough…until you see Game Master Arino (the evil one) for the first time. He looks very…polygon-y. I imagine this was done on purpose to make it look more digitized. (This IS a digital incarnation, remember.) Arino and your character leave a little to be desired. Their heads look kinda hokey. They are in super-deformed style. The room is full of Japanese decor as well. Tatami and everything. They didn’t change much from the Japanese version. Also, you and Arino are pasted onto a 2D background that looks 3D. It kinda does look like they’ve been pasted on.
Sound is good. The 8-bit stuff sounds nice. Lots of bleeps and blips which are -8-bit standard fare, but the music in-game is almost iPod-worthy. Except maybe Cosmic Gate. Cosmic Gate has OK sounds, but it’s not up to par with the rest. The menu music is also good. Game Master Arino’s theme is great. It reminds me of Porky from MOTHER 3 for some reason. The later games have better music. Gaudia Quest and Robot Ninja Haggleman 3 have the best music, IMO.
This game is…holy. It was crafted by beings who, believe it or not, are of higher rank than Chuck Norris. (Although Chuck Norris DID provide some input.*) The people who made this game are geniuses. Control is flawless. It is very tight. Gameplay is fun. And, Freeplay mode is there for when you beat each game’s challenges in Story Mode. Good move. Each game is nearly full-sized. They’re only slightly smaller than real NES games. You’ll definitely be playing this the whole way through. The games aren’t too hard, except for Gaudia Quest and Robot Ninja Haggle Man 3. They are H-A-R-D. The last challenge for Gaudia Quest took me a whole afternoon. But classic games are supposed to be hard. Unlike today in which instead of water, powerups come out of the shower, and you find save points as often as houses for sale out here on Long Island.
I’m tempted to start Story Mode over. (Haven’t done it yet, but I might.) Also, Freeplay Mode means you can play a game after you beat all 4 of it’s challenges. Very smart. Now I can enjoy Gaudia Quest without Game Master Arino pressuring me to get all my characters to Level 7. Even if you’re done with Story Mode, you’ll be staying for the games.
Go out and buy it on Amazon as soon as you finish reading this review. It’s only 20$ and shipping, so you get some bang for your buck as well. Bottom line is, this is a not-classic game that new-school and old-school gamers alike will enjoy. Get it if you like classic games. Don’t get it if you make comments like, “That game is old!”, or “You actually play that?” whenever you hear the name of a classic game. Especially don’t get it if you think graphics top gameplay, in which case I will come to your house and shred your gamer’s license.
*Chuck Norris did not actually take part in the development of this game. If he did, your DS would explode upon loading the game, because no console has hardware good enough to handle the awesomeness of anything Chuck Norris is involved in.
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