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Review: Retro City Rampage

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Every now and again a video game comes out that completely embraces the culture of growing up with gaming, most of these developers being in their 30s and were kids in the 80s during the so-called “Nintendo Generation”.  These games borrow commonalities with their aged ancestors, but refine the years of innovation and can generate an even better title than was possible back then.  Retro City Rampage (RCR) doesn’t really do that.  Instead, this game packs itself to the brim with 80s pop culture references while walking, talking, and acting just like a classic 8-bit Nintendo game.  While the nostalgia factor, especially for a gamer like me and readers like you, is always a welcome addition, it does cloud the focus of the developers to the point that the gameplay is a jack of all trades and expert of none.

Retro City Rampage actually started life back on the original NES as a homebrew project.  Designer Brian Provinciano began the project in 2002, building his own NES dev kit and trying to “demake” – a term used for modern games remade on classic consoles – his favorite titles, one of which was Grand Theft Auto III.  For years he was creating technical breakthroughs on Nintendo’s old gray box and possibly pulled off a faithful demake entitled Grand Theftendo before deciding to scrap the NES limitations and continue in PC development.  By 2007 he decided to integrate some classic game references (leading to pop culture references as well) and eventually creating the original title Retro City Rampage.  If this hasn’t already become abundantly clear, those that didn’t grow up playing Nintendo games will likely be lost on the (sometimes obscure) references.  That doesn’t stop this GTA clone from still being an amusing romp and shouldn’t discourage anyone who would like to check out what is ultimately a decent-sized game that doesn’t lose pace, even at the end.

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Written by Fred Rojas

October 18, 2012 at 2:56 pm