Retro City Rampage Review

Discussion in 'Official GBAtemp Reviews' started by Hadrian, Nov 8, 2012.

Nov 8, 2012

Retro City Rampage Review by Hadrian at 9:43 PM (2,446 Views / 3 Likes) 8 replies

  1. Hadrian
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    Former Staff Hadrian Better than Craigslist

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    [​IMG]
    PC version reviewed (latest V1.06 Update) . Also out on Vita & PS3 via PSN in North America. Coming to Europe PSN, XBLA & WiiWare by the end of the year. Fully playable on Mac via Parallels, WINE & Crossover.​
    It was quite hard to know how to approach reviewing this title. On one hand I really loved this game but on another I can see how some may not so what I've done is given it two separate scores, one for those who like what they read and see about the game and will get the many references inside the game and another for those who may like the look of the game but the references go over their head.​
    Retro City Rampage has been in development for nearly ten years. It first started off as an experiment by developer Brian Provinciano to port Grand Theft Auto 3 to the humble NES using actual hardware. He got quite far with it but with it being a side project he never got to finish it, rather than abandon the work he did on it he decided to do a NES/Retro style parody of open world games such like it only with retro references littered throughout. Being the sole developer on the game and having to work for a living it took a long time to get it completed but finally he managed to release it this year.​
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    You start off playing a guy named Player, he is a big criminal who goes off on a "rampage of doom", running down citizens of Theftoplolis in his car. Unfortunately the "Evil Good Guys" are out to stop him and during a bank heist Player clashes with them and during his escape he comes across a phone box (not unlike the one from Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure) that appears out of nowhere! Player hijacks this phonebox and kicks out the inhabitants and then discovers that this phone box is actually a time machine! Using this time machine, player escapes and crash lands in the future and as soon as he steps out a Dalorean appears and out pops Doc who is clearly "inspired" from Doc from Back to the Future...Doc mistakes player for "The Hero" sent out to save the universe. The Player then tells Doc that the phonebox has malfunctioned and Doc then takes The Player under his arm and give him tasks to find parts so he can fix the time machine.​
    The gameplay is pretty much mainly ripped straight from GTA 1&2 albeit it in a NES style. Controlling your character is a bit too slow for my liking but he does speed up a little as you keep moving, also along the way you can get power ups to improve your speed such as shoes that make you fun really fast and also a hover pack that not only lets you float but also stomp the ground and move faster...though you cannot go over long parts of water (I guess that thing needs more power). Driving the cars is a little cumbersome but you can easily get over. Before the update they moved either too slow or too fast but since the update they are a lot more balanced. Like in GTA you can equip your vehicle with weapons or get a paint to hide from the police. One of the vehicles you can hijack is the Ninja Turtles very own van which is one of my favourites due to having just the right speed and also having guns packed into it. Gunplay is done very well in this, you can pick from either twin stick control or by automatically locking on to your enemies. Unlike retro titles, the combat also takes inspiration from modern titles by letting you hide behind walls and being able to stand up and shoot at enemies.​
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    It's not all just top down GTA like gameplay. A lot of the missions are also side scrolling. There is a NES TMNT style underwater swimming level (a lot more fun than the original IMO), a level wear you need to let off "Stink" bombs in good timing to get through as well as others. There's also a Paperboy mission, Smash TV style mission (which is actually kinda hard) and also in GTA style some time based racing missions. Some of these are quite simple to do but others are pretty damn hard...well they were until the updates came in. Now if you fail a mission three times you can opt to skip it, it'll also give you hints on how to complete the mission but some people will want to persevere on. Some of the difficulty can be "cheap" at times, especially with the timed mission. Some people will have trouble with the missions, others will need to revert back to how they played games in the past, some of it is a simple case of timing. However they are quite varied in the way you play them and aren't just simple fetch quests. Over time they do get even more ingenious and the bosses do become more "epic".​
    As well as the main game you can enter the arcade to play some side games. These are NES versions of popular games such as Bit.Trip.Runner, Epic Meal Time and a Virtual Boy style Meat Boy "Rad Racer" style title! You can also enter a casino for casino fun that'll remind you of the Super Mario Bros 3 mini games.​
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    Straight from the outset there are mods to video games like Metal Gear, Bionic Commando, Mario, Paperboy as well as other 8 bit references such as blowing onto a cart to make it work and the Game Genie. As well as TV/film references like Ninja Turtles, Magnum PI, Robocop, Ghostbusters, Batman and others. It's not just old retro references inside the game, there are also some modern ones littered in there. One of them is the bank heist and escape from the beginning of The Dark Knight and also you can unlock a Minecraft character or Super Meat Boy to play as Free Play.​
    The humour is pretty "meh" however though there are some good moments such as joking about how bad "car tailing" missions are while at the same time making you play through one of the worst ones ever.​
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    One of the things I enjoy the most is trying to beat my score on some of the missions and also getting all the achievements was something I liked as well, I'm not usually someone who goes for achievements but I liked it in this game as they did appear better thought out than others. This adds to the longevity of the game and so does trying to find every reference you can. A downside however is that unlike GTA 1&2 you can't have as much fun just going off doing crazy stuff, it's pretty much just running over people and going on rampages and those don't last long as the police are far more brutal than other open world sandbox games.​
    Graphically it looks the part perfectly, although certain aspects of the design and gameplay won't be possible on NES as well as the framerate but it fits the look and feel of the era. You also have many many different display modes such as C64, ZX81, PC CGA, PC EGA, Monochrome Gameboy as well as many others. Soundwise...oh it's so so good! Just like the visuals, everything is so wonderfully 8-bit from the bleeps right down to the voice sampling, it's just perfect but best of all is the music! The 8-bit tunes are really fantastic, some of the best ever. Some sound like they were lifted from games from the late 80's and others sound like 8-bit versions of modern tunes. This is a soundtrack that a lot of people may want to listen to again and again and lot of them get stuck in your head even weeks after playing the game.​
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    Overall this title was an absolute blast to go through. The references made me smile throughout and when I think I may be getting bored BANG you're in a Batman or Ghostbusters parody however, those who watch the videos of this and just see a retro version of Grand Theft Auto and sadly without someone being able to enjoy those references all that is here is a mediocre but functional title.​
    As a side note I must add that since it's released, the developer has made some very important updates to the game fixing some of the many problems that the game has. To see those please see this change log, imo these fixes have improved the game.​
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    Pros:​
    Packed with so many references that'll make fans of the 8 bit smile.​
    Looks the part.​
    Many display options.​
    Achievements are fun to go through.​
    A good challenge.​
    Lasts a good length for the price you pay.​
    Cons:​
    Sometimes too hard.​
    Not as much of a sandbox game as I'd like.​
    A mediocre game for those who are unaware of the 8-bit era.​
    Humour is mostly off.​
    If you like the look of the game and will get these references then it's a:​
    8/10
    If you won't get the references then its a:​
    5.5/10
     
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  2. Orc

    Member Orc ‎(ღ˘⌣˘ღ)

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    If you don't get the references, you are an asshole.
    Nice review Hadrian. The real reason you keep on playing this game is to find more references.​
     
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  3. Hadrian
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    Former Staff Hadrian Better than Craigslist

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    IMO if you don't get the references, you've not played some of the greatest videogames or watched some of the most amazing films ever.
     
  4. Another World

    Former Staff Another World Emulate the Planet!

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    i was lucky to have been born when video games were just starting out. i grew up through the handhelds, the arcades, computers, and home systems. for me, the references were plain as day and they made the experience worth while. i've given the game to much younger gamers and they seem to enjoy it but they don't laugh out loud as much.

    my only current complaint is how some aspects shift into a much smaller screen, like when entering buildings or stores. these smaller display areas are extremely difficult to see on a small tv. as a result i grabbed the GOG release and started to enjoy it sitting 2 feet from a computer monitor. it made a huge difference.

    some of the recent updates have added questionable content to the game. things like gearing up all vehicles for speed, adding faster cars during some missions, adding tutorials for "hard" missions, making other missions "easier", etc. it seems that most of the complaints the dev received were about the difficulty of the game. i felt version 1 was well tuned, and just hard enough to extend the overall experience without crossing over into frustration. regardless, it is nice to see the support.

    thanks for the review.

    -another world
     
  5. Hadrian
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    Former Staff Hadrian Better than Craigslist

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    Yeah, I am saddened that the developer has toned the difficulty down. Looking on the Facebook page, aside from moaning about no WiiWare/XBLA release just yet, it's full of people complaining about the difficulty, a lot of what they moan about can be solved easily by thinking outside of the box. One of my major complaints about modern gaming is that there is way too much "hand holding" in games and now with the updates this game does the same.

    I still enjoy it a lot and at least you can ignore some of the hints.
     
  6. pasc

    Member pasc GBATemps official GBA Freak

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    Not sure if this one got better than the GTAIII port the planned but scrapped due to licensing issues, but RCR is alright in my book
     
  7. Elrinth

    Member Elrinth :Master beyond your imagination:

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    As a wannabe-game developer and game lover I found this video clip very interesting:
     
  8. XDel

    Member XDel Author of the Alien Breed Odamex Projekt.

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    My thoughts...

    ...if you have never played any of the games referenced in this game, then you should turn your game system off now and return it to the store.

    It's like claiming you are a fan of Industrial musick, but only being familiar with NIN and not having a clue about Throbbing Gristle, Zoviet France, Skinny Puppy, or the early experimental work of The Pink Floyd Sound. It's just wrong. ;)

    Anyhow, I am enjoying the crap out of this title, glad it finally found a home on the Nintendo!
     
  9. Another World

    Former Staff Another World Emulate the Planet!

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    even without the references, it is still a fun little time waster.

    -another world
     

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