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Old 03-18-2009, 09:13 PM   #1502
Joe Redifer
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Denver, Colorado
Posts: 20,149
Retro Game Challenge
Nintendo DS

Good luck finding this on the store shelves! Like most
DS games that aren't child-oriented, very few were made.

Retro Game Challenge is a new game for the DS in which a truly evil entity captures the player and forces them to beat challenges in old games for them. The plot reminds me of a video I made with a friend years ago where an evil person kidnapped some guy at a car wash and forced him to beat Ghouls 'n Ghosts for him because he couldn't do it himself, but I digress. You are planted back in the 80's with a Famicom and the kid version of the guy who kidnapped you and you are forced to play old 8-bit games and read GameFan magazines. Of course, your character doesn't complain. Who wouldn't like that? All of the games are made just for this game, so you won't find any of the classics simply dumped on here. This is 100% original stuff. They are a Galaga clone, a Star Soldier clone, an RC Grand Prix style clone, a Dragon Quest clone and a series called Haggleman which seems original to me except for part 3 which is kind of like a Ninja Gaiden clone. OK they are all clones, but they are original clones, dammit!

The main part of the game with you (left) and the kid version of the
guy who abducted you (right) engaging in a grammatically-incorrect
conversation about some new game that has been announced.

Graphics: 7/10
For the main setting there really isn't too much to talk about. There are polygon graphics of you and the other kid as well as his adult head, but that is about it. They are of average DS quality. The 8-bit games themselves do a good job at looking like 8-bit games for the most part with the exception of Haggleman 3 which looks a lot more like a cross between the Sega Master System and the PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16. It is not something the NES could do. However these games do not flicker like they should. There is slowdown sometimes, though. Just play the final stage in Cosmic Gate and you'll see what I mean! Overall the game doesn't break any boundaries but it aptly achieves what it set out to accomplish, and that is good.

Most kids wouldn't play a game with a gay title like "Star Prince".
Well maybe they would if it were this cool. Maybe.

Sound: 7/10
In the main setting the music isn't that great and neither are the sounds. The music in the games themselves definitely sound like a cross between the NES and SMS. The music in the 8-bit games isn't as good as you remember from the real 8-bit era, but it is listenable for sure. What kind of upsets me is the kid next to you who watches you play all of these games. He looks like he is maybe 8 or 9 but sounds like he is 26 years old. And he is constantly muttering something or just plain whining. He'll yell "You missed it!" and I'm thinking 'What did I miss, asshole? Not a god damned thing, that's what. Now shut the fuck up!" He'll get excited when I use a simple attack command on the RPG game and exclaim "Oohh ooh oh MAN!" like I had just accomplished something amazing. At other times he'll just sit there and whine, saying things like "I'm hungry". There is no reason that this character needs to have a voice. It would have been better if he didn't have one.

The GameFan magazines in the game are indistinguishable from the
real life GameFan magazines. Actually, the layouts here are better
and don't rape your eyeballs or cause epileptic fits.

Gameplay: 8/10
The main part lets you select which game you want to play, chat with the other little whippersnapper who watches you play or read GameFan magazines which feature super in-depth articles. GameFan must have some big problems and conflicts in the editorial department because they change editor-in-chiefs almost every two issues it seems. These are real editors from real US mags, too. We have Dave Haverlson from the real GameFan magazine, Dan "Shoe" Hsu from EGM (known as Dan Sock here) and others. The 8-bit games themselves play as you would expect them, and they all have good control and a bunch of cheats. I like the racing game the least because you tend to bounce off of things and it takes forever to get going again. Haggleman 2 is also not one of my favorites due to the difficulty and that whole door thing. But none of the games are horrible and all are actually quite enjoyable to some extent. Each game will present to you four different challenges that can range from anything like "Beat Stage 1" to "Win a race without boosting". Most of the challenges are fairly easy, but don't think that this game is a cakewalk. You may have to try many times on some of the challenges. The RPG will requires quite a bit of time to get past its set of challenges, longer than you'd think. There are lots of little touches in the games such as bad Engrish and typos. I approve of this and I really think that you should, too. Let's get together and we'll dialog about it.

Here is the RPG, Gwadiar Qwest or something like that. Plays like Dragon Quest.
That's not really a compliment especially when Phantasy Star was light years better.

Wrap up:
The number of old-school references are large and it really adds to this game. You will enjoy it more if you grew up in this era and were excited about getting the new issues of the magazines back then and whatnot. If your first system was the Playstation or Playstation 2, then this game won't have as much of an effect on you unless you really dig the old-school. The 8-bit games are still great on their own and each can be unlocked for "free play" after you beat their respective challenges so that you can play them any time you want. A worthy purchase and it even alludes to the next game having a 16-bit premise. These games are based more on the NES library of games and I'm sure the sequel will be SNES-based. I sure hope that future sequels allow SMS-style games and Genesis/Mega Drive/PC Engine, etc style games as well. There were great games on the NES and SNES, but there far more good games on other systems than on just the Nintendo line.

This is Haggleman 3, a VERY ambitious platformer, but with only 4 levels.
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