2022 brought its fair share of triple-A sequels and reboots, and it's no different when it comes to the retro side of things. Classics were made to be appreciated, and sometimes, reimagined. Thankfully, the retro dev community has enough passion to make all our dreams come true. We'll be taking a look at something new, something we thought was lost in time, and something we didn't think we needed until now.
First up, another surprise for all the Amiga owners and enjoyers out there. The ever-awesome Colin Vella is coding the much-awaited awaited kickass game Super Metal Hero In Blitz Basic.
Working on graphics we got Tenshu and JMD is in charge of bringing the music to life. The development videos are live, and they're looking hot. The game has definitely come a long way since its first few times featured online. Not only has the dev team been optimizing it to work on a stock Amiga 1200, but the game also includes a new world, new levels, new backgrounds, new enemies, and a lot of firepowers. If you're into heavy artillery, and a whole lot of action, then Super Metal Hero just might be the game release you've been waiting for!
Now, it's time for a blast from the past courtesy of a sweet mod for the ZX Spectrum, made by Martyn Carroll. We all remember Arkanoid, and it's about time it got something new. That comes in the form of Tournament Arkanoid, a tribute and callback to the classic.
There's a lot of great artwork to go around, and Jarrod Bentley never disappoints. This mod comes in with a new loading screen crafter by Jarrod Bentley himself, and along with it, everything you've come to know and love about the original game. By that, we mean 32 levels of great difficulty, just like the arcades! It's a recreation of Taito’s official game from the old-school Tournament Arkanoid arcades. Since it was only available in 1987 in North America, it's nice to have it available on a larger scale in the modern 2020s.
So, this one's a bit of a different case. It's not a remake, a reboot, or a brand-new game. It's a ROM hack, but a cool one, if we're completely honest. It's for the classic arcade-style rail shooter Starfox and best believe we're doing a barrel roll into Starfox EX.
What we get from this is a brand new story for the game and dozens of amazing features that take full advantage of the Super NES and the SuperFX chip We also get a brand new map with 17 new levels, new bosses, music, backgrounds enemies, a 3+ page pre-game menu to customize your experience, and a whole lot more. One of the best features is the Multi-Tap, which allows you to play the game a whole new way. It's straight-up old-school multiplayer, either with friends, Al-controlled teammates, or just you controlling ALL the ships. If you want a challenge, you got it. The 90s lives on, and always will, through games like this. Starfox EX opens the door to a variety of possibilities for so many other retro games-and let's be honest, we can't wait to see what comes next!
Check the video here:
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Whether multiplayer or solo 2D platformers, the retro sidescroller will always be a classic. Now, we've covered our fair share of titles in the genre, but it's always nice when a few good games align, like the planets, and not like the blood moon that we all saw recently. Halloween is done, people. We're all looking forward to Mariah Carey coming back. So, as we wait, let's take a look at a few retro games that could both pass and kill time.
The Commodore64 has some nice new homebrew, thanks to Mirazulado. Submarine Warfare is an arcade game that has you piloting a submarine to destroy everything up top. Kind of like that game that involves a world full of ships used for war. Yeah, that one.
This game feature lots of levels to play through, with the warships up above becoming stronger as you progress. There's also a level of realism as you got to keep an eye on your oxygen supply that starts to drop the longer it takes for you to complete each mission. It's pretty intense and a bit of fun if you're up for the challenge. So if you’re looking for a game that literally blows everything else out of the water, make sure to check out Submarine Warfare!
Something new for everyone! Tiny Deathmatchjust dropped its latest downloadable release for the Amstrad CPC, and it's all thanks to Francesc Alcaucer. It's a brand new game where you either fight against other players or the CPU in a multiplayer deathmatch game programmed by Locomotive Basic. It's a four-player game that's apparently inspired by a game called Gorillas, a turn-based artillery game first distributed with MS-DOS 5 and published in 1991 by Microsoft.
It's the perfect retro game for anyone who's gotten tired of going solo and wants to try a bit of old-timey PVP. A very refreshing concept that gamers often leave by the wayside. It doesn't always have to triple-A fragging. You can always assert your dominance in a classic "Tiny Deathmatch" manner
The ZX Spectrum welcomes a new title to their lineup, Castle Escape, by IrataHack has you playing as a Wee Knight, a struggling warrior who's cursed by the weight of his armor.
You make your escape from a haunted Castle, and progress by collecting lots of loot and avoiding dangerous enemies. Yes, this ain't your usual hack-and-slash. It's a challenge of managing your weight and surviving at the same time. Fall damage is a thing, so tread carefully Purple Eggs are the solution to most of your problems, giving you a quick anti-gravity boost to counter your massive weight, in tum, you prolong your life by collecting the hearts so you don't die instantly when you crash to the ground.
This version for the ZX Spectrum Next includes a few enhancements, like better color attributes, more colorful sprites, more sprite animation frames, and of course, more bad guys. It's a good thing, trust me if you're looking for a game that puts the action in the backseat for a while, and puts your platforming skills to the test, then Castle Escape just might be the game for you!
Check out the video here:
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Now, who doesn't love to chew gum? Here at Mega Cat Studios, we chew gum every chance we get. And we also had a chance to interview one of the developers of Garbage Pail Kids: Mad Mike and the Quest for Stale Gum, Tim Hartman, of Retrotainment Games, and here's how it went!
How was this game born?
The game was born out of our love for the Garbage Pail Kids and the Nintendo Entertainment System.
As young kids in the '80s, Greg and I grew up fans of trading cards and various products that emerged as the GPK craze broke out. Garbage Pail Kids were loved by kids, hated by adults, and snubbed by the gaming industry in the NES era. They were controversial, which may have kept them out of the space. We like to say that we're creating the Garbage Pail Kids game they've long deserved.
What was development like?
The design process for this game flowed very well as our team loved the opportunity to work with Topps to bring their characters to life and felt natural to do so. It was a real treat to get deeper into the GPK lore since many of us on our team are lifelong fans and collectors.
One of the main ideas was to bring as many GPK characters to life as possible; so we went through the cards, found ones we liked that we thought would work, and then brainstormed about what they could do in the game to make them unique and add variety. In the end, we were able to include 40+ characters.
Developing for the NES is nothing but difficult though. You have to deal with the challenge of game development along with hardware restrictions, space constraints, and more. But this is what we love and what GPK deserved so we wanted to make it happen.
What did you learn about yourself through this game?
Personally, I learned that it was very difficult to make the tough choices of which characters to use and which characters not to use in the game. There are so many amazing characters in the GPK universe and it was super tough to narrow it down.
What makes this game special?
It's a legit game made for the original NES and directly ported to modern consoles like Nintendo Switch, Xbox, and Playstation. You get the same game regardless of where you’re playing it.
Even though it is littered with GPK lore, characters, and fun, gross elements, it is however a game someone can pick up and play without being familiar with the Garbage Pail Kids. We designed it with the idea that every level has something new and surprising in it. It also has minigames, a trading-card mechanic, fun NPCs, and a silly story. Our audience is anyone who likes games. It's also cool to give people a chance to get their first new NES cart, which is something a lot of players have never experienced before.
How does sound play a role in the game?
A quirky and unique brand like Garbage Pail Kids deserves an equally goofy soundtrack that’s fun to listen to and a fun set of sound effects. Complete with burp and fart samples, the sound is definitely a highlight of the game.
What games influenced this one the most?
We started by making the game we wanted to play. It wasn't a case where we were looking at another game as a model or a direct inspiration.
Any fun stories or wild moments during development?
Getting to work with Adam F. Goldberg, Ira Friedman at Topps, iam8bit, Digital Eclipse, and Joe Simko was particularly fun, as we got to smash a ton of '80s nostalgia and love for the era into this goofy project.
The wildest moment for me personally was when I was having a meeting with Ira Friedman, and my son threw up during it. I quickly yelled out Up Chuck (a character in the game) while Ira assured me it was a Luke Puke.
I still laugh about this every time I think about it.
Do you think preserving older gameplay mechanics in new games is important?
Yes, but I think it is healthy to have both new and fresh mechanics whenever possible when developing. Old mechanics are tried and true, being very familiar to players, but taking a chance on fresh mechanics can really help create a new experience. For example, Leaky Lindsay and Luke Puke both have projectile attacks but Lindsay’s snot rockets are the classic straight-ahead shots while Luke’s projectile vomiting follows an arching path. This allows for some unique combat with Luke because you can hold B to get more distance, rain the attack down onto enemies below or leave a pile of puke in front of an enemy and wait for them to step in it and take damage.
What's your favorite memory as a gamer?
My favorite memory as a gamer is playing Baseball Stars for the NES with friends like my business partner Greg Caldwell. Creating our own leagues and teams, playing full seasons, keeping stats, throwing controllers, and getting into fights over gameplay is something I will cherish forever.
Who will enjoy this game the most?
Garbage Pail Kids: Mad Mike and the Quest for Stale Gum is for old kids like us and young kids like our children. We think the older crowd who grew up with the Garbage Pail Kids will have a great time with it. It's fun and silly and gross -- which makes it great for younger kids as well. Ultimately, it's for people who want to experience a retro game, whether this is their first time experiencing an 8-bit game or they've been playing NES since they bought one new.
Retro gamers will enjoy this the most, but I feel modern gamers who give it a chance will be quite surprised by the various hero characters and their unique offensive arsenals. Each of our hero characters has a unique strength that will help you tactically in the game if you pay attention.
Bottom Line, why must someone play this game?
You must play it to experience what people are calling "The Grossest Game of the Year.” And if you knew GPK from the ’80s, it’s a fun trip down memory lane.
How do you want this game to be remembered?
I'd like this game to be remembered as us giving the Garbage Pail Kids the 8-bit game they have always deserved. The brand was so iconic and important, so them not having a game back in the late '80s was a travesty.
Right now we are continuing to market Garbage Pail Kids: Mad Mike and the Quest for Stale Gum and our other games, Haunted: Halloween '86,Haunted: Halloween '85, and our newest open-world, mystery-adventure called Full Quiet. In addition to creating our own IP, we’re also entertaining ideas to bring existing IP to life in retro form, especially for others who never got their moment in the 8-bit sun.
We love retro and remain committed to that space with whatever we do which includes the publishing venture 8-Bit Legit, consisting of Retrotainment Games and our partner Mega Cat Studios. In 8-Bit Legit, we take games from cartridge to console.
Anything else you'd like to add?
It's all about 8-bit. It's what we do at Retrotainment. The cartridge comes first. We also think it's cool to expand the NES catalog with games that have been passed over back in the day. Keep an eye out for what goofy game we can cook up next in our 8-bit laboratories. And as always, shout out to the NES homebrew community for making all this possible. We love being a part of such a vibrant, passionate, growing community!