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Retro City Rampage

Brian Provinciano and Vblank Entertainment teleports us back to the good ol’ days of retro gaming. Gamers who grew up in the era of the NES will feel right at home and will immediately recognize nods to classic games like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros., Mega Man, among others.

The main story begins when the “The Player” gets transported to the future of Theftropolis on a hunt to find missing parts for Doc Choc’s time machine and to get some big prize money, doing dirty henchmen work. How will he ever return to his time? By taking down the “evil” good guys!

The gameplay is greatly inspired by the original Grand Theft Auto, giving gamers an overhead view of the action. Right from the beginning of the game, you’ll notice that the world is huge. It’s full of activities to do like playing in arcades, shopping, and there’s even casino games. The main part of the game has you going through over 60 story missions doing all sorts of mischievous stuff like sneaking in boxes, jumping through pipes, and swinging on poles like Bionic Commando. Dispatching enemies has never been more fun.

Retro City Rampage’s story progresses as you visit each mission-triggering checkpoint. Along the way, you can take side missions or challenges. As you can see, the game is packed with a substantial amount of content. There are even mini games that feature Super Meat Boy and Bit Trip Runner! Along with the variety of vehicles you can use, there’s a multitude of weapons. Just a few of my favorites are the Rocket Launcher, Grenades and the handy Baseball Bat. In total, there are more than 30 vehicles and 20 weapons to use. Even big head mode can be unlocked. That means there’s something for everybody!

The retro style graphics look great and contain a lot of nice details for pixels. It’s amazing how much variety is in them. There would’ve been no way for the NES to process all the action going on, especially with the fast pace of the game. There are even some cool video filters available, as well as color modes. I tried the game on my SDTV and it looked great and I didn’t even have to use my RF Modulator!

The soundtrack is full of amazing chiptune work from Jake “virt” Kaufman (Double Dragon Neon/Contra 4), Leonard J. Paul aka “Freaky DNA” (NBA Jam/EA Titles), and music arranger Matt Creamer “Norrin_Radd”. Together, they produce 8-bit tunes that will evoke memories of past games like Mega Man and TMNT. The music feels like the 8-bit era never left with its funky and rock-infused beats. As for the audio, all of the 8-bit explosions and grunts feel genuine and crystal clear, even the laughing dog sounds better than ever. The vintage sound of the 80′s only enhances the enjoyment of the game.

The controls of the game work great for the most part. I had some trouble with aiming and the occasional spotty hit detection, but that makes sense since you could never rotate your character completely in the old days. Everything else like using weapons, jumping and driving vehicles are spot on. For a game that throws multiple gameplay styles at you, they manage to bring it all together smoothly.

In conclusion, Retro City Rampage is a solid game that doesn’t just include satire for good times sake, but it also combines old school elements with modern conventions. As a result, you get a game that pleases both old and new audiences.  There were a few parts that became repetitive or seemed overly difficult. But overall, it’s a fun sandbox style game well worth your time. It retains the essence of games we retro gamers grew up with. Don’t pass this game up and try the trial to see if it’s for you.

A review code was provided by the publisher for review.

Pros: Nostalgic 8-bit graphics, an upbeat NES-style soundtrack, variety in gameplay and themes, world is packed with life and activities to take part of.

Cons: Difficulty spikes, flow of the game/scenes are crazy fast.

Score: 8.0

VGM: “Not Nate…”

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