Retro City Rampage

Reference: The Game...

By Daavpuke, Posted 18 Oct 2012

It’s been a long way coming, but Retro City Rampage (RCR) is finally here. After years of enticing gamers with pop culture references and a throwback to old games and open worlds, this parody of 1001 things set in a Grand Theft Auto setting finally landed. It delivers exactly what it promises with inside jokes aplenty and a campaign on a city map filled with distractions. It’s not a flawless victory, but some fans may still find this game quite toasty.

Interested in how the game looks? Discover its first moments with me.

As mentioned, RCR is about the old school of gaming. The map is presented from a top view and minimalistic pixel characters inhabit its crude world straight from the NES days. The same could be stated for its chiptune soundtrack and basic sound effects that bleep, crash and crunch throughout the action sequences. Even cutscenes are simple pixelated stills with text to give narration to the illustration. The city itself already dishes out the innuendo, with posters, storefronts, cars and characters all alluding to another game or movie from the past. Dinosaur motorcycles resemble Yoshi from Mario Bros, a car looks suspiciously like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles van, a store would be called Fresh Prints; the list is endless. It can sometimes get a bit hectic and the simplicity of the game sometimes ruins the perspective, but it does cater to the needs it wants to entice. It’s an old-timey looking game, for better and for worse.

The goal in the main story mode of the game is to carry a person through a series of missions in a city of crime and opportunity. The missions will also be laden with references in rapid succession: An instructor hides in a box and looks like Solid Snake, a bank heist nods towards The Dark Knight and Back to the Future makes several appearances, as well as other excellent time travelers. During these missions, a wide variety of skills will be required. The great achievement in RCR is its diverse take on gameplay. Its simplistic style makes it easier to transition between different gameplay segments. One mission may require the speed of the Sonic series, while others follow some classic action games. As long as the constant references don’t start to be annoying, gameplay is sure to stay exciting for a while to come in the wide array of bite-size possibilities that RCR presents.

Retro City Rampage - NoobFeed Review
One of the crooks.

Furthermore, there are also things to do in a free environment. The city is free for exploration and hides many tidbits of varying interest. Aside from a few collectibles, there are also stores that can alter a player’s style, but more importantly, challenges are spread around. These timed trials usually require some mayhem to be done with a given weapon or vehicle. There are more lavish ways to create destruction too, such as setting the player on fire to create a chain of flames. Digging even further will uncover more alternatives. For instance, an arcade hall will have a few games such as a Super Meat Boy game in Virtual Boy setting, a simple Bit.Trip Runner or a Mortal Kombat mini-game based on the internet series Epic Meal Time. While it is possible to get lost in procrastination and perhaps get a bit bored of mowing down civilians for chain bonuses, keeping focus on these many different ways to play ensure quality entertainment. Finding every tiny secret of this game could take ages.

Naturally, none of this mayhem is possible without a ton of weapons and vehicles. While there are a ton of melee arms that wield exactly the same, some methods such as running shoes present a more novel option. With these boots, the player can bash into people and objects with great force. There are still tanks and crazy over the top action for those that enjoy it, but the run-of-the-mill weaponry is not where the excitement is.

Unfortunately, all this nostalgia is not without its flaws. Most noticeably, the game’s controls can sometimes be a burden on the tiny world. Vehicles sway heavily, which makes the top down view hard to manage. The perspective also messes with the perception. As players can jump, some fences can get leaped over, while others are too high. Without recognizing the patterns, it’s nearly impossible to decipher which is which. The same goes for other sections or cover mechanics, which get hindered by the small non-descriptive pixels that rule this world. The premise of a throwback should not excuse these flaws in the presentation that cause needless frustration, despite its difficulty curve. Shooting also suffers from a lacking amount of control and the auto aim does more harm than good in that sense.

retro City Rampage - NoobFeed Review
Imagine playing this on PS Vita.

Nostalgic people can jump on this title immediately, as Retro City Rampage can be easily summarized as Reference: The Game. Gaming and pop culture reign supreme in this open world of destruction and altering gameplay sequences. It may get stale after a while and contain several control issues, but until then, laughs will be had as if it were a Family Guy episode that was still funny.

Daav Valentaten, NoobFeed. (@Daavpuke)

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  • Yeah from all the gameplay footage I've seen, RCR seems like a lot of fun. I hope the rest of the references are funny though. I used to think Family Guy was funny, but I've long since outgrew it. I'm still interested in playing this though.

    Also looking at your last image, this is something I'd rather play on the Vita. To me, it just seems like it's best fit for a handheld system rather than console or PC. At least I'm actually leaning closer to getting a Vita in the future, this game included.

    Posted Oct 18, 2012

  • @azn_pride: If so, I hope you have excellent vision. I played on a 22" screen and already had trouble differenciating nuances. I couldn't imagine what that must be on a fraction of that. Still, definitely worth a pickup. It's pretty fun.

    Posted Oct 19, 2012


General Information

Platform(s): Xbox 360, PS3, PC, WII
Publisher(s): Vblank Entertainment Inc.
Developer(s): Vblank Entertainment Inc.
Genres: Action, Adventure
Themes: Open World
Release Date: 2012-10-09

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