Retro City Rampage: 8 Bits of Homage Insanity!

     Truthfully, I haven't finished the game yet.  There are SOOOOO many awesome games I have on deck to play, that this one has been only played for a couple hours, and will subsequently be moved further out before I come back to it.

Two time machines- Doc's Delorean and Bill & Ted's Phone Booth.
     What this game does exceptionally well is give gamers a wonderfully healthy dose of pixelated nostalgia, and washes it down with a gallon of pop-culture references.  It reminds us why we loved those games and 80's movie and TV icons.  The first 15 minutes are positively saturated with reminiscence inducing throwbacks.  If you can think of something from that era, they probably put a gag or nod to them in here somewhere.
     In my first half hour, after the opening mission, I had stolen the Ninja Turtles' van, found a Legend of Zelda cave with an old guy that gave me a sword that cuts grass, hit an "invisible wall," killed the Contra guys, and played some enjoyable mini games at the arcade.

      Unfortunately, once the wave of nostalgia wears off quickly and one is left with some frustration involving some of the game mechanics during the later missions. Bosses and missions get real hard, real fast. This isn't a quarter-muncher, balance the difficulty out!  A small bit of challenge should be enjoyed, not punctuated with what feels like an unfair quick death when difficulty ramps up without warning.  Either make the little stuff harder or, more reasonably, make the bosses slightly less of a pain. The payoff has to be worth the effort. 
      The majority of ideas behind the main story line are lifted from old classic NES games (such as Super Mario Bros, Paperboy, Mech Rider, Mega Man, Metal Gear and even that notoriously bad Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles underwater dam level) and emulated closely. The only problem is while they get the retro gaming to feel right, somehow it hasn't been aged properly. A tailing mission, no matter what, is still boring, and the game makers even note that fact during the mission. 

     And here's what Retro City Rampage doesn't quite get right- it doesn't learn from the last 20 years of gaming history.  I have so much appreciation for this game's creation, and the only part I haven't liked is the reminder of why those games were also bad.  Really, the TMNT dam level was a pain then, why would someone make it worse now? 
       That is my chief complaint here- the game captures all the nostalgic glory of the 8 bit yesteryear, but fails to make it resonate with what gaming is capable of doing NOW.  I absolutely hope Brian Provinciano's next game will remedy this.  If he can keep the best parts of retro gaming and minimize the worst parts, many people will eagerly look forward to what may be on deck for him if he can learn from gaming history.   

     That being said- free roaming the city of Theftropolis is where this game shines.  A wonder to explore every bit of the map.  (the map could use some work, as nothing is labelled)  Every inch of this place is loaded with references to something.  It is extremely fun to just roam around wreaking havoc throughout the city.  Wander around and check out the sites if you please, there are so many things to keep you occupied, many hours may be wasted in pure NES era fun.  This is one thing Mr. Provinciano HAS learned.  Give gamers ultimate freedom to do whatever, whenever they want in the game's world.

     If you are a gamer looking for a throwback to 1980's nostalgia, this is HIGHLY recommended.  For $15 this game is definitely worth every cent.  Thank you Mr. Provinciano, I eagerly await whatever you have up next.
     I'll have another post on ideas for a new game later- one that, I personally, have been thinking about for about a decade.

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