Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 (worldwide)
Price: $7.99 / €6.99 / £6.29
Publisher: Hamster / Irem
What’s this? A mostly-horizontal bio-horror shooting game, developed and distributed in arcades by Irem in 1989; set inside a human body infected with an extraterrestrial virus, players control a tiny vessel that can be equipped with tentacles that are impervious to enemies and undulate with the movement of the ship.
Why should I care? You’ve played and enjoyed all the R-Type games but somehow missed this game from the same people that might as well be another (somewhat grosser) R-Type game.
Useless fact: Like all late-’80s Japanese video games, the title “X-Multiply” was swiped from the band Yellow Magic Orchestra – specifically, their 1980 album, X∞Multiplies.
Metal Wolf Chaos XD
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC via Steam (worldwide)
Price: $24.99 / €20.99 / £19.49
Publisher: Devolver Digital / From Software
What’s this? A notoriously silly third-person mecha action that chronicles the US president’s “personal war” to TAKE. AMERICA. BACK from armed insurrectionists led by vice-president and Billy Mitchell cosplayer, Richard Hawk. This game was developed for the original Xbox by From Software and published exclusively in Japan in 2004, owing to concerns that the game’s naive caricature of US politics and depictions of domestic terrorism would be misconstrued by overseas audiences, but a recent grassroots push allowed Devolver Digital to license the game and bring it to modern hardware, warts and all.
Why should I care? Viewed strictly as a mecha action game from the people who brought the world Armored Core, MWC XD eschews the mechanical ballet of traditional mecha combat for something simpler, clumsier and more destructive (or, to put it another way, more American). Viewed in terms of a remaster, it’s perfunctory – mediocre, even. Viewed as a mid-’00s throwback to the absurd fun-mirror jingoism of vintage Data East with lightgun-tier voice action and a strange fixation on the concept of white slavery, it’s a goddamn hoot.
Useless fact: While Metal Wolf Chaos never received a sequel, it did get a few nods in future From games: the Metal Wolf mech appears as a preset character in 3D Dot Game Heroes and as a summonable golem in Enchanted Arms, and the father of president Michael Wilson is featured prominently in Ninja Blade. (Metal Wolf Chaos also hosts a certain staple From weapon that appears in most of their games, but I’ll let you figure out how to acquire it.)
Turok 2: Seeds of Evil HD
Platform: Nintendo Switch (worldwide)
Price: $19.99 / €17.59 / £15.79
Publisher: Nightdive Studios
What’s this? Nightdive’s 2017 remaster of Acclaim’s exploration-heavy first-person shooter, featuring all the dino-blastin’ you remember and enhanced with both the N64 and PC soundtracks, support for higher resolutions and modern post-processing effects, a revised warp system for quick travel, optional gyro aiming and settings to reduce the game’s notorious, omnipresent fog. (Not included: multiplayer of any variety, but the developers seem confident about patching in online multiplayer at a later date.)
Why should I care? Turok 2 is arguably the most essential entry in the original trilogy – the first one’s a second-rate Quake 2 and the third’s a second-rate Half-Life but this one’s a prototypical Metroid Prime, made by a few of the people who’d later contribute to the actual Metroid Prime, so viewed from that lens it’s a fascinating game, if not always an entertaining one. It’s also the game that debuted the Cerebral Bore, so y’know, props to that.
Helpful tip: Nightdive’s Turok remasters aren’t as faithful to the original games as is often touted; in particular, the layouts and item placements of the more labyrinthine maps have been substantially altered in order to provide a smoother experiences for newer players, so if you’re worried you won’t have the patience for pre-Half Life FPS map design, or you just have bad memories of getting lost in Lair of the Blind Ones, the remaster may still be worth your time.
DIGITAL DELISTING NOTICE
Ducktales Remastered, 2013-2019
WayForward’s HD remake of the classic Capcom NES platformer is being delisted right this moment, so if you think you might ever want to own a digital copy, head to the digital storefront of your choice, like, now. (The exact termination dates for each storefront are as follows: Wii U – August 9, 4:59 PM PDT; PlayStation 3 – August 9, 8AM PDT; Xbox 360, Xbox One (via Backwards Compatibility) – August 8, 5 PM PDT; Steam (PC) – 4:59 PM PDT.)
LIMITED-PRINT PHYSICAL EDITIONS
Metal Slug 3 (PS4 & Vita) from Limited Run Games
Platform: PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita
Price: $24.99 (standard edition) / $54.99 (limited edition)
Availability: from August 9, 10AM & 6PM batches
Of the approximately eight hundred different configurations of Metal Slug 3 currently lingering in the PlayStation ecosystem, Limited Run Games picked the correct option – that is, the standalone version emulated by Code Mystics – to issue on disc and card for PS4 and Vita. As always, they’re offering both a reasonably-priced standard version and a limited-edition package that comes in a Neogeo AES-style, Fangamer-designed shockbox case.
Toki Tori Collection from Super Rare Games
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Availability: August 9, exact time TBA
Thanks to a notoriously mum publisher, I can’t tell you precisely which games will be included, what comes with the package or how much it’ll cost, but I’m reliably informed there’s a Toki Tori collection coming for Switch tomorrow that’ll include, at a minimum, the existing Switch ports of the critically-acclaimed side-view puzzle games Toki Tori 1 & 2 on a single card.
Metal Slug: The Ultimate History by Bitmap Books
Price: £29.99 (standard edition) / £49.99 (“fully loaded” limited edition)
Availability: ships in November
Bitmap Books’ latest tome offers over 450 pages of promotional art, design sketches and dot art from SNK’s venerable run-and-gun series, Metal Slug, as well as never-before-published interview with several of the series’ creators, information on unreleased games and prototypes and profiles on earlier games that influenced and shaped the franchise. The book ships in November and is available in both a standard edition and a “fully loaded” collector’s edition, limited to 1000 copies, that plays Metal Slug sound effects when you touch the front cover, if that’s something you’re into.