Retro Re-release Roundup, week of June 6, 2024

A virtually-unreleased Japanese horror adventure game is reborn on Switch.

A little anniversary news to kick off this week’s roundup, dear readers: it’s Tetris’ 40th anniversary!

…or, more accurately, it’s the 15th anniversary of The Tetris Company arbitrarily fabricating an official release date because they felt like running a 25th-anniversary PR campaign that year. Game history, huh?


Rug Rats

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4
  • Price: $7.99 / €6.99 / £6.29
  • Publisher: Hamster / Nichibutsu

What’s this?  An overhead action game about vaccuming through grime and cleaning up germs, originally developed and distributed in arcades by Nichibutsu in 1982; players are tasked with clearing each screen of germ enemies, which can be achieved by either stunning them with your soap-squirt projectile and then sucking them up, or by wrapping them in the carpets that adorn each stage, which will roll in a specific direction once the player crosses over them.

Why should I care? You have a hankering for a tunnelling action game in the Dig Dug / Mr. Do1 mold, and you specifically want something more frantic and with less waiting around.

Helpful tip: This reissue includes both the international and Japanese version of the game (titled Wiping) and there are small but major differences between the two versions… in short, stick with the international ROM.


Persona 3 AEGIS: The First Mission

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch (Japan), PC via Steam (worldwide)
  • Price: $17.99 / ¥1800
  • Publisher: G-MODE / Atlus

What’s this? A polygonal action-RPG spinoff of Atlus’ ever-popular PlayStation 2 RPG Persona 3, originally released for Japanese feature phones in 2007; set 10 years before the events of the original, this game allows players to experience the backstory of fan-favorite character Aegis and engage in top-down run-and-gun action, with the Persona Palladion in tow.

Why should I care? You’re one of the eight zillion people who sent a request for this game to G-MODE, or are just generally happy to see the re-emergence of one of the most intriguing lost entries in the Persona oeuvre, irrespective of how it might look, handle or otherwise play. (Being that this is G-MODE’s first reissue of a 3D game, it may or may not have a few extra visual issues, too…)

Useless fact: This is G-MODE Archives’ 100th title! May they reissue 100 more games, and may significantly fewer of them be detective mystery games that I have no time to play.


Garage: Bad Dream Adventure

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch (worldwide)
  • Price: $4.99 or equivalent
  • Publisher:Sakuba Metal Works

What’s this? A Switch port of Tomomi Sakuba’s bizarre 1999 point-and-click adventure game, originally released in extremely limited quantities for PC and Mac in Japan and recently remade after a successful crowdfunding campaign; following the recent PC and smartphone releases, this version boasts retouched and re-rendered high-resolution images for every scene, AI-enhanced videos, significant reworkings to the game pacing and progression, a new UI, several additional story lines and endings and a first-ever localization into both English and Chinese.

Why should I care? Putting aside the fact that the original 1999 game had such a colossally small print run that debate raged for decades about whether it had even been formally released, Garage is perhaps the most heady and confrontational, and certainly the most grotesque, of the late-’90s wave of avant-garde Japanese ADV exemplified by the likes of Kowloon’s Gate and Baroque, and it stands admirably with contemporary gut-churners like Pathologic.

Helpful tip: The Switch and smartphone versions remove some not-at-all-tittilating nudity from the PC remaster, so bear that in mind if you’re bothered by censorship and/or want a stream-friendly version.

Rider’s Spirits

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4/5, Xbox, PC via Steam (worldwide)
  • Price: $5.99 or equivalent
  • Publisher: Ratalaika Games / Masaya

What’s this? A casual motorcycle racing game for up to four players, originally developed by Genki and published by Masaya for the Super Famicom in 1994, and never reissued until now; this emulated reissue offers Ratalaika’s well-worn feature suite (save states, rewind, screen filters, button mapping, a small art gallery, etc) as well as a brand-new localization that translates what little in-game text might’ve required a translation.

Why should I care? You don’t own a Switch or simply don’t want to pay the online tax in order to access the real SNES Mario Kart, I guess.

Helpful tip; You might recognize Genki as the developers of the Tokyo Xtreme Racer series,so they’re not without racing game pedigree… not that you’d know it from this game, necessarily.


Rod Land (NES, Game Boy) cartridge reissues via Retro-Bit

  • Price: $54.99 / €64.99 (NES), $44.99 / €49.99 (Game Boy)
  • Availability: orders close July 7

Europe’s fancy for fixed-screen action games was particularly beneficial for Jaleco’s arcade bopper Rod Land: not only were its various home conversions highly acclaimed across the continent but they were also produced by European developers and, in the case of the NES and Game Boy versions, re-imported to Japan but kept from North American players. Decades on, those console ports are being reissued the world over, allowing some of y’all to own one or two of these cartridges for the first time… and, for what it’s worth, they weren’t exactly plentiful in Europe back in the day, either.

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