June 7th, 2012 | By Arsen Nazaryan
I’ve heard everything there is to hear about Retro City Rampage Hell, I have honestly been beaming with anticipation, wondering just when I would get my paws on the 8-bit retro-inspired GTA-like. Now that I have finally taken a couple of 8-bit cars for a spin, I can happily recommend this game to anybody – excluding kids, because there’s shitloads of killing going on and that’s probably not good for kids (right mainstream media?). I had the pleasure of trying the game out on a PS Vita after chatting with Leonard Paul, also known as FreakyDNA, who worked on the game’s superb soundtrack. Leonard was casually leaning by the area where the game was displayed on the PlayStation show floor, my colleague and good friend, Erik Johnson, worked some of his charm and I was able to meet the man behind so many righteous chiptunes.
For the uninitiated, Retro City Rampage is very reminiscent of the first couple of Grand Theft Auto titles. It has an old-school feel down to the core and spreads it through the visuals, sounds and most of the gameplay. The game mode I stumbled upon first gave me two minutes to do as much damage to people/the city/cars/police as possible – thereby: the rampage. At first, I played awfully and failed to reach any of the game’s high score thresholds, but a bit of practice soon remedied that. I ran around shooting people as you might expect, blasting them with a shotgun or a handgun, then using a katana to cut their 8-bit limbs, but the real game changer was the super-effective rocket launcher which led me to my high score.
I was surprised but very glad to find this much fun within just a couple minutes of picking the game up. One thing to mark up though, and to be honest this is probably native to the Vita, the controls took some getting used to. That being said, Retro City Rampage feels as if it should fit on any device, any platform and any OS quite comfortably. Hopefully, using controls that were more familiar to me would alleviate that issue – the game was also available for play on the show floor for Xbox but I stuck to the Vita since it was a completely new experience.
In any case, I ran around killing people and blowing cars up until I had my fill – although, really, I hadn’t – but I backed out and decided to try the Story Mode. Now, it’s pretty difficult to pay attention to story with all the hubbub at E3, but it seemed obvious that it parodied specific games and general tropes of video games past. It was great to see that Retro City Rampage wasn’t just a one trick pony and borrowed gameplay mechanics from other games in its retro concoction. This seems to bode well for story missions, which will surely be varied to keep gameplay fresh and exciting, all while throwing references to video games and its culture over its shoulder.
In the five minutes of play I was able to get from the story mode, I traversed the map while completing objectives and entering buildings, or entering an area might jump me into a separate stage with separate rules. For example, after running over a bunch of 8-bit pedestrians, I stepped outside and entered what was a platformer/side-scroller area straying from the top-down GTA gameplay. This is equally good news for the game’s 30 challenge levels, which will hopefully carry this torch we refer to as variation.
For me, Retro City Rampage felt amazing but not quite perfect on the Vita. Then again, I don’t own a Vita and have seldom had a chance to play it. Either way, it was fun as hell. The consensus is that the multi-platform release of the game is expected to boast big sales (at least, for indies) and attract plenty of love from press and gamers alike. From presentation to gameplay, Brian Provinciano’s Retro City Rampage is polished through and through – and the good news is that we should be getting our hands on it this summer. Get ready to rage!
You can find more about Retro City Rampage on the official website.