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GoNintendo 'End of day' thoughts - Quick and Dirty review: Retro Game Challenge

by rawmeatcowboy
12 March 2009
GN 1.0 / 2.0


Whether you liked the review or not, thank you for all the comment participation in the Sonic review from yesterday! Glad to see you guys active, and I’m very happy to have found a way to bring you reviews more often. It’s a style that I can actually fit into my routine! I’m pretty sure I’ll have another review for tomorrow night…but that’s a long way off! I’m heading to bed now so I can wake up and get to work on Thursday’s news. Catch you all in a few, short hours.


If you’re a long-time reader of GoNintendo, you know my tastes in gaming. I loved the days when video games were all about 2d graphics, simple gameplay, and easy-to-understand objectives. While some of that still exists to this day, much of the industry has moved on. While I appreciate games just as much as I did back then, I can’t help but feel that old-school presentation and gaming execution were passed on too quickly. A fascination with new technology pushed us out of an era prematurely. In steps Retro Game Challenge to bring us back to a simpler time…and perhaps, a better one.

Basically, a collection of games in an 8-bit style. They may mimic classic franchises/series, but that’s where the similarities end. The games within Retro Game Challenge never existed out of this title, but you’d be forgiven for experiencing déjà vu while playing.

What Works

This is definitely old-school: The development team went through some painstaking steps to make the titles within Retro Game Challenge feel like they were birthed in the 80s. If any of these titles actually existed in the classic Famicom/NES days, they would fit right in. From graphics to sound and gameplay, every single title hits the nail right on the head. This game is so good at presenting a false sense of nostalgia that I felt extremely old after each play session.

Controls: Not only do the games within Retro Game Challenge do a fantastic job of looking old-school, they also handle with the precision that I long for in the games of today. When you only had a d-pad and two buttons, your controls had to be spot on. Each title in Retro Game Challenge comes with controls that accurately fit their genre. Haggleman has spot-on jumping, Rally King has floaty steering, and the rest follow in suit. Back in the day, you didn’t just learn controls and use them…you meshed with them. If you plan to truely tackle RGC, you’ll need to learn every nuance of each button press. When you do…man, what a sense of accomplishment you feel.

: Retro Game Challenge gives you a bunch of different types of games to play. You get shooters, racing games, an RPG, platforming and more. Making things even better, each game has a set of challenges for you to complete. Once you complete these challenges, you can play that game at any time. Now you can actually take your time to progress through and beat the game. With all these game types, objectives, and game endings to check out, you should be pretty busy for awhile. The variety helps you from ever getting bored.

What Doesn’t Work

Maybe too old-school: There are some small aspects of one or two games that may make you appreciate how far the game industry has come. You may experience a cheap death here or there, or enjoy an ear-piercing tune from time to time. The golden age of gaming is well worth remembering, but sometimes you can see how today’s game industry has progressed for the better.

Story: where there’s no need for story: I don’t need a reason as to why I am playing these games. I understand that Retro Game Challenge is a localization of Game Center CX, which is in turn, based on a show that doesn’t exist in North America. They localization team had to do something with all those extra bits in the game, and they couldn’t just cut them out. Still, that doesn’t make it any less annoying when you have to read through walls and walls of text just to find a challenge, and then listen to a story about one of your in-game friends taking a trip out to the store to purchase a gaming magazine.

Forced to hunt down hints: Retro Game Challenge has an extensive collection of fake game magazines for you to browse through. While this is the sort of thing I would love to do after fully completing a game, it becomes a chore when you have to do it to advance during gameplay. There are a few challenges where you need to stop and read in-game instruction booklets/magazines to figure out what to do. While I appreciate the work that went into this aspect, I didn’t find it enjoyable.

Quick and Dirty

While I do have some minor quibbles with Retro Game Challenge, they don’t stop me from enjoying what is a fantastic game. The parts that I didn’t enjoy were, for the most part, minor portions of the game. It’s the actual NES-style gameplay that really gripped me. This is the heart of the game, and it comes off looking/playing fantastic. As I said, there are one or two moments where you might be thankful that we’ve moved on in game development, but the overall package is a fantastic one. If you are at all a fan of classic gaming, you need to own this. If you don’t pick it up, and the sequel doesn’t get localized…I’m blaming YOU!

Retro Game Challenge gets an 8.0 out of 10