Galaxy 2’s also a star, just sayin’.
This week’s round-up falls on a bittersweet note, as Nintendo has formally announced they’ve ceased production of the Nintendo 3DS family of hardware, just under six months shy of what would have been a decade on the market. Now would be a good time to think back and reflect on… whatever games the 3DS launched with. Steel Diver? Let’s go with that.
E.D.F. (no, not that E.D.F.)
Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 (worldwide)
Price: $7.99 / €6.99 / £6.29
Publisher: Hamster / City Connection
What’s this? A horizontally-scrolling sci-fi shooter, developed and released in arcades by Jaleco in 1991, with an arranged conversion released for Super Nintendo the following year; E.D.F. sets itself apart from the pack, however modestly, via a unique power-up system in which the player chooses their weapon loadout at the beginning of the game and then strengthens their attack power during play via a quasi-RPG experience system.
Why should I care? You’ve played the original E.D.F., either back in the day or via Nintendo Switch Online, and you want to hear what the BGM was intended to sound like before the SNES arranger was able to mangle it. Beyond that, it’s as vanilla as they come.
Useless fact: E.D.F’s first-stage BGM was recycled by the composer from a relatively obscure Famicom Disk System game called Big Challenge! Dogfight Spirit, and it sounded pretty good on that hardware, too.
Beach Volley Girl Shizuku 2: Hishou-hen
Platform: Nintendo Switch (Japan)
What’s this? The second entry in G-MODE’s series of all-female volleyball games, originally released for feature phones in 2008; this version ups the ante with more characters, branching paths in the story mode and a visible tan-line/sunburn system.
Why should I care? Your reaction to the phrase “visible tan-line/sunburn system” should make it obvious whether this is or isn’t a game for you, I think.
Useless fact: There are three more of these games after this one, but one’s a Flash-powered game and the other’s basically a slot simulator, so they may not end up gracing the G-MODE Archives lineup.
Super Mario 3D All-Stars (November 18)
Platform: Nintendo Switch (worldwide)
Price: $59.99 / €59.99 / £49.99
What’s this? A three-pack containing the first three 3D Super Mario games, released between 1996 and 2007 across Nintendo 64, Gamecube and Wii; these games offer resolution bumps, higher-res UI elements and, in Galaxy’s case, control modifications that adopt the gyro and/or the touchscreen in lieu of the Wii Remote pointer, but they’re otherwise exactly as you remember them (unless you also remembered Sunshine having analog drizzle controls, in which case… it’s a Mario All-Stars game, they had to get something wrong.)
Why should I care? You’re desperate for something, anything that might tide you over until next year’s Sonic 3D Jam, no matter how inadequate.
Helpful tip: This detail has been screamed from the rooftops for weeks now but just in case you missed the news, I’ll recap: this collection will only be available, digitally and at retail, until March 31 of next year, and Nintendo has vaulted multiple promo games before so there’s no reason to presume they’ll necessarily find a way to resume selling these games again at a later date.
LIMITED-PRINT PHYSICAL EDITIONS
Aleste Collection (PlayStation 4/Nintendo Switch) by M2
Platform: PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch (Japan)
Price: ¥6800+tax (standard) / ¥14800+tax (limited edition)
Announced just yesterday via live stream, emulation artisans M2 is releasing a collection containing several of the 8-bit entries in Compile’s storied Aleste series, with the biggest surprise being that the limited-edition package includes an exclusive white variant of the Game Gear Micro (and the screen magnifier accessory) with the contents of the collection pre-installed. I would love to be able to offer you a foolproof way to acquire said limited-edition collection but as of this writing, various online retailers have had to suspend orders due to reseller abuse, Amazon Japan can’t decide whether they are or aren’t in stock and even M2 doesn’t know if people have been able to order from certain retailers or not, so… good luck, I guess, and try to save one for me. (Here’s another detail listed on the Amazon page that they probably didn’t intend to reveal: this collection contains a brand-new Aleste Game Gear game, made from scratch by M2 for this collection.)
Doom 64 (PlayStation 4/Nintendo Switch) by Limited Run Games
Platform: PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch (worldwide)
Price: $24.99 (standard) / $54.99 (classic)
Availability: from 10AM Eastern, September 25
Now that the game’s been out on consoles for a little while, I wonder, do people feel that it lived up to the secret-real-Doom-3 reputation that was hoisted upon it so many years ago? Whatever the case, here it is, in a box, and optionally with a poster of that weird-looking Mancubus.
Metal Slug Anthology (PS2 Classics on PS4) by Limited Run Games
Platform: PlayStation 4 (worldwide)
Price: $29.99 (standard) / $59.99 (collectors)
Availability: from 10AM Eastern, September 25 (limited to 6000 / 2500 copies)
It’s been said for so many of these SNK PS2 Classics disc runs and it’s especially pertinent with Metal Slug Anthology: these are emulated versions of PS2 games that are in turn emulating Neogeo games, oftentimes poorly, and so the playability of the games contained therein is not particularly high, and this collection had a ton of input lag to begin with so I wouldn’t dare play this version when so many alternatives are available… but again, those shockboxes are sharp.
SOUNDTRACKS & VINYL
Magician Lord 30th Anniversary CD & vinyl by Wayo Records
Format: vinyl (LP), CD
Price: 21,60 € (vinyl) / 15,00 € (CD)
Availability: ships November
Wayo Records got Eisuke Ogura to draw Magician Lord art in TYOOL2020, and that ought to be commended.
Quake vinyl by Nine Inch Nails
Format: vinyl (2LP)
Anyone who says they played Quake with the original CD in the drive is a goddamned liar, but I’m willing to take it on faith that the guy who created the sound effect for the OG Quake grenade launcher also wrote some pretty decent tunes, too.
Toaplan shooting game vinyl from Limited Run Games
Price: $27.99 each
Availability: orders close October 18, ETA 2-3 months later
Coming in tandem with the Retro-Bit Toaplan Genesis reissues (also available from LRG with a 4-game slipcase, dontcha know) are vinyl records for three of the games being reissued: namely, Hellfire, Truxton and Zero Wing. Now, they haven’t specified the exact source of these soundtracks — Genesis, arcade or otherwise — and there’s conflicting info about whether this is an open pre-order or whether there’s a hard 600-unit limit for each record, so you may have to roll the dice on these purchases, but I’m sure a little gentle prodding, possibly accompanied by a Zero Wing meme or two, might give you the answers you seek.