Thursday, February 26, 2009

Retro Game Challenge Review

Retro Game Challenge
is less of a single game, and more like 6 games rolled into one, and the awesome thing is, is that they are all varied and come from an assortment of genres, all featuring 8-bit graphics.

The game starts off with you meeting the "Game Master", who transforms you into a kid and puts you back in the 80's to take on his retro game challenges, because you are a real gamer and a worthy opponent. The interface is pretty slick, with you at this kid’s house sitting in the living room ready to play games on the Famicom. Aside from just playing games, you can also read the game manuals and game magazines, which feature articles and tips and cheats for all the games at your disposal. You can even write notes on the touch screen for reference later. To add to this, there is some funny banter between yourself and the youthful Game Master, discussing things like blowing into cartridges, reading game manuals, smashing controllers, and other things humorous to us gamers.

To make the game a little more interesting, and to make the title make sense, you don’t simply play these games, but instead, must complete certain challenges; 4 per game. These challenges range from getting a certain score, to beating a certain level, or performing some special move. Once you’ve completed all of the challenges for a single game, you unlock a new game to play as well as unlocking the ability to play the game you beat in freeplay mode. While these challenges can be difficult and are fun, they can get a little stupid and make the game feel more like a chore. For instance, in a racing game, you have to beat the first track without doing a power slide, then beat the first level getting in first place, then beat the second level without dying, and then complete the third level, or something similar. The problem here is that you have to start over for every challenge, so you will be replaying the same level again and again, and it’s just annoying. Luckily with the more advanced games, like the RPG, there is a save feature so you don’t have to start all over for each challenge.

Your first challenges come from Cosmic Gate, a game that is very similar to Galaga, with a bunch of enemies flying in and then hanging out at the top of the screen. There are 64 stages in this puppy, and a couple of power-ups and secret warps to keep things interesting, as well as asteroid bonus stages. Another spaceship shooter you unlock later is Star Prince, which is a more traditional scrolling shooter, featuring bosses, power-ups, and a simple shield system. This one is fun, and a bit challenging. There are 4 areas, and a harder version to also play through.

Rally King and Rally King SP are another two games, this time in the racing genre. These games feature exactly the same 4 courses, which is very disappointing, but the game itself is fun. The driving is simple, and pretty easy, but there are jumps, sharp turns, drifting, and the ability to explode which keeps it challenging and fun, at least until you beat it.

The next set of games is Robot Ninja Haggle Man 1-3. The first two games in the series are very, very similar, with the 2nd simply being much more difficult, with more enemies and larger levels. These two games have you running around an enclosed level destroying enemies by either jumping on them or hitting them with doors. When you hide behind a door, it flips around, and any other doors on-camera of the same color will also flip around, damaging enemies. You can also throw shuriken to stun enemies and collect scrolls to call on allies. The third installment in the series is quite different and plays like a side-scrolling adventure/platformer game. The stages are fairly big, and there are a few upgrades you can get to allow you both greater abilities and access to new locations. There are 8 stages in the first two games, each with harder difficulties, and 3 stages plus a few bosses in the 3rd game, making each semi-lengthy.

The final game to discuss in Retro Game Challenge is Guadia Quest, a turn-based RPG like the original Final Fantasy. You get to play with three characters, who all have different statistics, and go around a medium sized map to a few dungeons. There are plenty of random battles to be fought and enemies to defeat. There is even a cool system where you can “capture” certain enemies to fight on your side, as well as multiple weapons to choose from and magic. Guadia Quest is of good quality, and can last you many hours.

Retro Game Challenge is a good collection of some fake classic games. There is a lot of variety, with the racing game, shooters, RPG, and platformers. The graphics are of course 8-bit, and lend a charm, but the dual screens aren’t utilized at all. The top screen always displays the action, while the bottom displays the living room, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing. The challenge aspect is interesting, and gives a better reason to play, but they aren’t implemented that well, as you have to restart your game every time you want to try a new challenge, as opposed to completely multiple challenges in a single play through. Overall, the game has a definite charm and hopefully the sequel will find its way outside of Japan.

Overall Score: 8/10

Posted in cooperation with GamersPlatform

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