If you were a child of the 80s and early 90s, I’m sure you all have a good amount of nostalgia for the time. The games, music, style, and entertainment of the time were distinctive. I know I have a ton of memories, and I’m sure you do, too. That’s why I suggest playing Retro City Rampage.
Retro City Rampage is a free-roaming, sandbox 8-bit game in the same style of the old Grand Theft Auto games. The view is more isometric than top-down, but for the most part; this is a GTA game through and through.
You play as none other than Player. He is an up and coming thug that dreams of being the biggest, baddest criminal in the city. Soon enough, he will embark on an adventure of crime, mob bosses, time travel and other types of “rampage.”
What really sets Retro City apart from other games is the amount of 80s pop culture and video game references you will run into while playing the game. I’m not kidding around. You will see Back to the Future, Metal Gear Solid, The A-Team, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Paperboy, Bill and Ted, Contra, Punch-Out!, Mega Man and the list goes on and on. It seems like every mission you do is a new game reference. You may be delivering magazines on a bike like in Paperboy, swimming through a dam like the original TMNT game, or running over pedestrians in a sports car time machine.
You can take on special rampage missions much like in the old GTA games that give you an objective and a time limit. You see how many kills or points you can get within the allotted time, and post your scores on the leader boards. The challenges can be rather difficult to master and getting the gold medal for all of them will take some skill.
The combat itself is really simple. You can select what weapon you wish to use and then pressing the attack button to use it. Holding down the attack button will let you lock on to an enemy or object and allow you to strafe around while still attacking the locked on target. There is a cover system, and you can even jump on enemies’ heads Super Mario style.
For a little 8-bit game, the controls are rather smooth and responsive. I never struggled once with them during my time with the game, and all the controls are explained quite nicely multiple times. There’s even a mission where you train with a Solid Snake character that goes over some of the controls again with you because “play testers seemed to not pay attention to the tutorial the first time.”
The customization options are here in spades as well. You can not only customize how Player looks, but also the screen and backgrounds. If you want it to look like you’re playing on an old school Game Boy brick, you can. If you’d like to look like you’re playing on an old MS DOS PC, you can. It really has a lot of charm when trying to tickle your nostalgia.
When you don’t want to take on some missions, you can play in free roam to try out rampages or just create some good old-fashioned mayhem. The game features a ton of missions and unlockable characters, styles and other goodies.
The missions are short in most cases, and they always represent some game or reference. They sometimes feel a little too gimmicky, making them feel like a mini game you have to do for a full-blown mission. The game doesn’t take it’s time either. If you play through the story mode, and do the missions in them, you could easily complete the mode in 3 hours. I felt rushed when playing the main story when I wanted to take my time and enjoy some things.
For a $15 game that was essentially made by one guy, Retro City Rampage is an impressive little title. It may not be as ambitious as I would have hoped, but the pop culture and video game references kept me entertained throughout Player’s journey. Everything plays well, and there is a ton of content to keep you busy for a good long time. If you’re a kid of the 80s and 90s you should really consider picking this game up.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.