A long awaited letter in homage of your 80s/90s childhood.
So let’s paint a picture of you reliving your childhood all wrap up in one 8bit de-make of a Grand Theft Auto series. Sounds cool right ? Well for 10 years Brian Provinciano was in the lab to make it all possible. The once Nintendo Hombrew project of a Grand Theft Auto port has now come into manifestation to relive our hilarious one liner moments in 80s/90s pop culture, with Retro City Rampage.
Soon as I saw the box art of the game, I automatically thought “Grand Theft Auto meets Back to the Future”, well if you thought the same as me then you are not too far off, but there is more to the story as it pans out. The
game entirely is a well played out parody of an open-world action adventure I might say , where you get to play as a retro criminal for hire named. The world where you will embark on is in an early style the first couple of Grand Theft Auto series but all built within a 8-bit realm of a city called Theftropolis.
During the course of story mode you play as a character named Player, a henchman that will take on any odd job for hire. His entire persona in Retro City Rampage is touted throughout the game making fun of the all time favorite GTA protagonists. Within the first ten minutes of the storyline you are doused with parodies and nostalgic references. The heist cut scene at the beginning of the game is snippets from The Dark Knight , then you are jumped by the A-Team and even Ninja Turtles out of no where. Through a series of events after the heist you are then mistakenly transported to the future in a telephone booth ( From Bill &Ted ), from there on you are acquainted with a weird looking old man, who is an inventor by the way, that meets you in a futuristic type car. Sounds familiar ? The main objective now is to get you back home, but of course like every sandbox game there is a catch and a whole lot of side missions to accomplish and also a nemesis to alleviate.
RCR is packed with content which was a major plus and surprisingly thought out for a 48 MB game. There are over 60 missions to tackle, the challenges are frustrating to even play, but you can get some side fun in at the arcade when you go off and play some Free Roam . Even though there is much to accomplish, the storyline has its up and downs as the missions become not that interesting nor fun due to its attention deficit to stay on topic but the randomness helps by setting a tone to see what craziness is up next on the roster to complete.
The weird thing about it all is this factor kept me playing and added on to the question of “which throwback parody is coming up next ?”, so I can hysterically laugh out loud. From impersonating a batman type of character named Biffman, all the way to Ghost busters like characters named the Go Go Busters who clean up gooey substances from strip clubs , the innuendos help out the lacking substance in the storyline to make up with its fun factor of gameplay. At times the ambiguities of the past become bit an overrun within the story but seeing a remake of Dr. Robotnik, The A-Team, Batman, Ghost Busters, and countless others is too hilarious to past up.
Aside from the premise and what the story has to deliver , the retrospective take was done beautifully. Upon beginning the story line you cannot help but to notice , the game is displayed in an arcade cabin like frame, which I thought was a cool added touch to make even a fancy HD TV show some retro love. Within the options menu you are also given the choice to change the panel to various retro frames. This also includes an on screen filtration of the game as well, so if you want to harass the streets of Theftropolis in a Gameboy theme, it is all possible.
Brian’s take on 8bits in a new era is very refreshing. The open world of a 8bits is remindful of the early series of an over the top display but the sprites and the environment take on a different angle that is not too dated but more dimensional to not bore your eyes too much. The “overtop” view is perfect compared to the very first Grand Theft Auto games. The dynamic view of buildings and funky vibrant citizens break dancing, walking and also the mariachi players in the street are not too hard to decipher from. As you roam the city you will encounter different distinctive buildings of comedic titled stores like MJ’s Plastic Surgery. The well mapped out collective interaction is not too over abundant on the screen. Seeing how the city is displayed entices you to want to explore it even in a 8 bit world next gen gamers. To say this is an 8bit sandbox adventure I was quite impressed on how the city was planned out and the beautiful graphics it displayed for its genre. To say that this was a title in the making for 10 years, the take on a nostalgic look in the 21 century was pulled off well. I will add though that if another installment is made improvement on the player model’s sprites can be improved more. Taking in all the the nostalgia and retrospective outlay you have to have some cool tunes to go along with it. The composition of the chipped tunes of remixed renditions of mega man, Mario, and Zelda to name a few spans out into a well crafted sound track . It is done in a tasteful manner to not upset any retro catalog. The classic sounds of a shoot em up or Contra gun bursts is prevalent while Player is toting multiple types of weaponry.
I was only able to play it on PS3 but it is also a great addition to the PS Vita. It is a cross buy purchase so I also recommend playing it for the Vita for on the go fun. From the start action begins and you are immersed into the world of quirkiness , one liners, and random rampage. The storyline is a but everywhere and random but the hilarious scenarios and remade cameos make up for where it lacks. The references can be a bit overbearing because it is like the game is just riding on that factor instead of something more creative, but when a good one comes along you have to give props when it is due. The modern take on the game mechanics that all all mashed up within the 8bit world was a bit different at times but not extreme that make the game unplayable. I would say this indie title should not be passed up and if you are not into retro games this would be a great one to start up and play to get you back in the scene.