Indie Review: Retro City Rampage
Prepare for a trip into the past.
- Worth The Time?Yes, even just for it's nostalgic appeal.
- Things LovedThe retro graphics, the parodies are well done and very broad, gameplay is solid, there are a ton of things to do, funny dialogue, tickles you're nostalgia bone like no other.
- Things HatedThe shooting controls can be a bit iffy at times, 8-bit sound effects can be a little annoying, your health goes down way too quickly.
- RecommendationIf you like 80's style graphics, pop culture and hilarious parodies then look no further.
- Name: Retro City Rampage
- Genre: Open World Action Adventure
- Players: 1
- Multiplayer: No
- Platforms: XBLA, PSN, PC, PS Vita, WiiWare
- Developer: Vblank Entertainment
- Publisher: Vblank Entertainment
- Price: 800 MSP, $15 PSN and PC
- Reviewed On: Xbox 360
What do get when you cross 80’s style graphics, hundreds of parodies, hilarious dialogue and pure carnage? This game. Yes, it’s that simple really. Retro City Rampage started out as project that attempted to recreate GTA III for the NES in 8-bit glory and then it systematically evolved into its own game altogether with its own story and characters. This was a good decision because the end product that we received is quite a sight to behold.
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You play as The Player. You could be excused for thinking that it’s a silly name, but doesn’t it just say everything in one succinct phrase? Player is part of a crime syndicate with a leader called The Jester. You and his merry bunch of criminals pull off a bank heist where things don’t go exactly according to plan. Before you know it you’re taken into the past by what seems to be a 8-bit DeLorean and you’re being greeted by a character called The Doc. Ring any bells? Well, that’s just the beginning of all the various references and parodies that this game has to offer.
Nostalgia is a powerful feeling. Whether you’re looking at your old high school photo’s or reminiscing about a time where you’re life wasn’t a complete tangled mess of responsibility and debt, nostalgia helps you achieve a certain level of happiness. Retro City Rampage (RCR from now on) achieved that greatly with references to classic video games such as Frogger, Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Brothers, Contra and Bionic Commando. If you were at all a gamer in your childhood then you will enjoy every minute of this game.
The same goes for pop culture references. Whether it’s classic films or modern happenings, they are scattered all over the place. I guarantee you that you will have a smile on your face every time you spot a reference to something you know about. There are so many parodies that the game even has to remind you everything is a parody, every time you start it up. All of these are done extremely well and you will find yourself hard pressed not to be in a better mood when you are playing the game.
Let’s get down to the gameplay. RCR incorporates many elements from the GTA franchise where you have a big world to explore and tons of missions that you can go to at any time. Of course there is also the killing civilians and stealing cars thing. You can also be involved in chases with the police that can turn pretty ugly pretty quickly. This all in 8-bit pixel graphics by the way. The word “Rampage” isn’t in the game’s title for nothing because you can blow shit up, run over people and explode cars to your heart’s content. If you so choose you can even buy various power ups that make the action even more frantic. It’s frivolous fun at it’s finest. I have a gripe with the game’s health meter as it goes down way too quickly from just a few injuries and interrupts your rampaging too much with instant death.
The gameplay is very smooth and responsive and the 8-bit graphics are really well done. Some great pixel art has been incorporated and the animations were done beautifully. I do have a problem with the shooting controls seeing as they can be a bit iffy and unresponsive. It’s also a little hard to aim at your desired target without spraying all your precious ammo everywhere.
There are tons of things to do within the world such as a wealth of story missions and challenges that you can play to get the best score. RCR will keep you entertained for a long while and you can be sure of that. Added to the game is the option of regular old free roaming where you can just go wild and rampage an entire city with unlimited ammunition and weapons. You can also play as “special guest stars” such as Super Meat Boy and ‘Splosion Man.
The soundtrack consists almost entirely out of 8-bit music that has been done by some pretty good composers. Once again, nostalgia is going to come flooding over you and remind you of your SNES days. It’s very well done and you can hear the effort that has been put into all of the music in the game. The sound effects are also of the 8-bit kind and some of them can be quite entertaining, but others can get a little on your nerves if they continually play each time you do something such as run over pedestrians.
Retro City Rampage is a game that you have to play just to get that nostalgic feeling. It’s also mindless fun with its insane free roaming destruction and murdering sprees. Pick this up if you like to laugh and just have a good time because Retro City Rampage certainly pulled it off.