Retro City Rampage has been a long time coming and has had a long development history but now it is finally here. For it’s target audience, this game was definitely worth the wait. Others may not get a lot of the appeal, but Retro City Rampage is a fun game.
Retro City Rampage is first and foremost a love letter to those who grew up through the 80s and 90s. The game has so many references packed in that even those who played and watched every single game and movie poked fun at may not notice them all at first. Retro City Rampage parodies everything from Contra and Metal Gear, to Die Hard and Back to the Future both within it’s story and locations. Even for those who didn’t grow up in either of those decades are bound to notice some of these references because there are so many. Everything comes together though with a nice layout for the city and good writing though so it doesn’t feel like it has gone overboard.
As for the game play, Retro City Rampage is an 8-bit styled open world game that plays like Grand Theft Auto would if it was released on the Nintendo. Retro City Rampage is much bigger than any NES game and no blowing in cartridges is required. The graphics have the look of a Nintendo game, but the world is fairly large and the higher res makes for more detail. Such as many of the buildings all having different words and pictures on them. The music is also very retro and much of it will sound very familiar as the music almost sounds like it was lifted from some classic games such as Mega Man at times.
The Story Mode offers a good amount of play time with over 60 missions to play, but then there is also a Arcade Challenge Mode which offers even more content. Retro City Rampage packs in a lot more content then would be expected from it’s less than 30 MB download size. There is quite a lot of stuff to do in the game but that wouldn’t do any good if it wasn’t any fun. Thankfully it is though, and even younger gamers may find the game to be fun even if they don’t get a lot of the references. There are some they will definitely notice though, as some more modern stuff like the cast of Epic Meal Time found themselves cameos in the game.
For those that have played the original Grand Theft Auto on the PC/PS1 will find the game play of Retro City Rampage very familiar. The game is played from a top-down perspective and most of the fun comes in driving and shooting. The missions in both the story and arcade challenge modes mostly revolve around driving and blowing stuff up but everything feels varied enough so it doesn’t get too repetitive. There are many weapons to use from pistols, shotguns, and flamethrowers, to guitars, golf clubs, and many more. There are many vehicles to drive as well from cars and tanks, to even a skateboard. Vehicles may also have weapons attached to them to really cause some carnage. The player character (named Player) is able to cause lots of carnage such as shooting civilians, running them over and more but without the gore of similar games. This makes everything more light-hearted than in games such as the GTA series, Mafia, etc. Some of the humor is quite crude and funny though but nothing too bad to get more than a teen rating.
There is also a free play mode, where the player can start out in Thieftropolis with access to many of the games’ weapons from the start and roam around. Here they also start with a basically endless supply of money($999,999,999) and may play as guest characters unlocked from the other modes. Aside from the main action, Retro City Rampage does have more stuff to offer. There are quite a few mini games that come from the casinos and arcades. The casino has one mini games that is very similar to the card game for gaining lives from Super Mario Bros. 3. The arcade is a throwback to older games featuring some official cameos from Super Meat Boy and the BIT.TRIP series. These mini games are another nice distraction and offer fun for a while. Aside from pointing out the names and references on buildings and such, there are also cheats, and some collectibles to find as well.
Looking at screenshots, the $14.99 price tag may seem a little high for Retro City Rampage. Thankfully though, the game offers enough fun and content to be well worth it. Hopefully the game will do well for Vblank Entertainment because they have definitely shown that they have talent. The game is well worth checking out for a kid of the 80s or 90s(or any fan of the era) but those who aren’t may want to try the demo first. The game is available on the Playstation Network (which features cross-buy/cross-save for the PS3/Vita) and PC. It plays well on all versions so is worth picking up no matter the platform.