Retro City Rampage has been a long time coming. Originally starting as Grand Theftendo, a demake of Grand Theft Auto III. It then became RCR but was only coming to WiiWare, then that became Xbox 360, then it vanished and when it reappeared the game was coming to PS3 and Vita first. The wait though was worth it as the game didn’t just end up as a GTA demake but its own original, reference filled adventure.
The thing about Retro City Rampage is it has references to everything from the 80s and 90s with a small sprinkling of today. In the opening mission the game manages to reference The Dark Knight, The A-Team, Contra, Bill & Ted, TMNT, and Frogger. All of that in one mission and the references aren’t just about spouting references to Contra, you actually fight Bill and Lance. The game features a total of 60 missions and an entire city filled to the brim with references.
On the actual game front, our aptly named main character, Player, feels in control of things in Retro City Rampage. You will die a ton but the game keeps it to a Grand Theft Auto 1 level of the cops are kind of jokes. Eventually they may wear you down if you’re careless but Player is a wrecking ball. You’ll die more against the enemies in later missions, or the instant deaths that surround missions from the halfway point on.
Driving is a huge part of the game and with a recent patch the speed will thankfully increase of the cars you can drive. At launch only a few of the cars weren’t painfully slow to the point walking felt faster. Combat is easy enough to do with the shooting mechanic being very simple point in direction and shoot. The combat gets a new dimension when you gain the ability late game to smash heads by jumping on enemies. You, of course, get this upgrade by being bitten by a radioactive plumber. Just be careful with the rocket launcher which hurts you too; I can blame 60+ deaths on misuse of that weapon.
There isn’t any voice work present in Retro City Rampage but it does feature a soundtrack sort of remisncent of many different 8 bit tunes. The music is impossible to place but it all feels eerily familiar like a hardcore mashup. On the same note, most of it is extremely forgettable as it all sounds sort of familiar to other songs.
Without going into massive detail about every reference here (we’ll save that for our reference guide) Retro City Rampage offers a longer experience than you’d ever guess. With 60 missions of decent length and all the side stuff you’ll end up doing, you’re looking at a 10-20 hour game. For a digital ‘arcade’ experience that is a pretty crazy detailed one.
- 60 missions to do if your purely doing story and that will take you a good chunk of time
- The references become larger than life and go to places like Saved by the Bell which you would never guess would happen
- Player feels strong and not a pushover in his sandbox world
- Virtual Meat Boy can cause headaches
- Bringing back memories of TMNT’s sewer level. Good grief.
- Cars are pretty slow, supposedly being patched.