Sunday, June 7, 2009

Retro Game Challenge

I was born 131 days before the Nintendo Entertainment System was released in North America, and it’s probably for the best that my parent’s didn’t purchase one of these magical fun-time boxes as a late birthday present. If they did, I’d probably be a 300-pound video game addict. But just because I was born too late to participate in some 8-bit gaming doesn’t mean that I don’t feel some sense of nostalgia for old games.

And this aforementioned sense of nostalgia was what inspired me to pick up Retro Game Challenge for the Nintendo DS. In this game, a metallic floating head named Arino transforms you into a child and sends you back to 1984 to play video games with his childhood self. In order to be returned to your present, you must complete specific challenges that the floating head gives you for each game (on the GameComputer: a Famicom clone). Conveniently, by the time you complete four challenges for any given game, enough in-game time has passed that a new title has been released. It’s a silly premise, to be sure, but it’s certainly unique.

To call these fake games is probably a bit unfair. They are more like lovingly-crafted homage to the games of the 80’s. And, of course, all the classic genres are represented.
  • Cosmic Gate is a Galaxian clone.

  • I’m not even sure what Robot Ninja Haggle Man is supposed to be reminiscent of, but it plays kind of like a platformer.

  • Rally King is an overhead racing game.

  • Star Prince is a standard hardcore shmup.

  • Robot Ninja Haggle Man 2 builds upon the gameplay in RNHM1, only on a larger scale.

  • Rally King SP is a rare modified version of Rally King.

  • Guadia Quest borrows heavily from Dragon Quest. Being the RPG fan, this was my favorite!

  • Robot Ninja Haggle Man 3 is a reboot of the hypothetical RNHM series. It plays much like the original NES Ninja Gaiden with a little bit of a Mega Man/Metroid.
Overall, the game really feels like a blast from the past. Everything from the graphics and sound to the shoddy English localization to the oft frustrating level design comes across like a collection of classic Famicom games. If you’re looking for exactly what the name implies, go pick up a copy of Retro Game Challenge for the Nintendo DS.

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