An upcoming WiiWare title brings on a retro rampage like it’s 1988.
Retro City Rampage pays homage to games of the 8-bit era.
It’s an “open world action parody,” said Brian Provinciano, the game’s developer.
Originally starting out in 2002 as a “demake” of Grand Theft Auto 3 called Grand Theftendo, it switched to a full new game as Retro City Rampage in 2005.
The game was first revealed in the July issue of Nintendo Power. Yesterday, the official trailer released.
Watch the trailer:
According to an interview with DS-x2, the main character is simply named “Player.”
Player works for a crime boss called The Jester. Together they rob a bank. However, things don’t go as planned and Player finds himself teaming up with a new ally.
The game’s story and mission document is over a hundred pages long, said Provinciano.
Retro City Rampage is also filled with many references to several old school games as well as late ’80s to early ’90s pop culture. Humor is a central focus of the game. The city itself is filled with comedic interactions.
Provinciano told Tiny Cartridge:
In Grand Theft Auto III, when open-world titles like it were new, I spent hours exploring every corner of the map. In years though, there came a point where I lost interest. The cities became increasingly more detailed, yet less compelling. They needed more character to make them interesting. This was one of the things that drew me to densely filling Retro City Rampage’s city humor and references. There are numerous interactive gags around town making exploration a game in itself.
In an interview with The Retro League, Provinciano outlined some of the NES influences on Retro City Rampage:
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
- Metal Gear
- Double Dragon
- Mario titles
Even ’80s arcade games like Burger Time and Root Beer Tapper can be seen in Retro City Rampage. Provinciano said elements from those games mix into the missions and are fluid with the game mechanics. This gives players a unique experience, rather than the typical driving and shooting missions found in Grand Theft Auto, he said.
Some of the gameplay is a direct throwback to the games of old. You can jump on pedestrians heads like in the Mario games. You can also pick pedestrians up and throw them. One of Player’s weapons is even a bionic arm.
Retro City Rampage includes a scoring system, which many games today simply don’t have, points out Provinciano. The huge score is visible at the top of the screen.
Money is used for things like health, items from vending machines, or getting a haircut, among other things.
Provinciano said his game is an authentic 8-bit experience. “Actually, that’s something I take incredible pride in,” he told The Retro League.
Unlike recent retro game releases, he worked with actual 8-bit hardware. He used the same chip as Castlevania 3:Dracula’s Curse on the NES.
The MMC5 (Memory Management Controller) chip allows for better NES color palletes, putting more colors in the game. Very few NES games used the MMC5 chip, making it hard to find cartridges in order to modify them to develop Retro City Rampage, said Provinciano.
In cutscenes, he couldn’t use many colors because he’s limited by the game’s engine. However, Provinciano did take a few liberties with the sprites. He increased the game’s sprite limit because he was having technical difficulties with the cars. He also allowed for more audio to be played at the same time.
According to Provinciano, he developed the game primarily by himself these past eight years, although he did hire a couple of artists to develop some of the cars and cutscenes, and play testers to improve the overall gameplay and design.
A few people are also working on the game’s music and sound effects. He hired Jake “Virt” Kaufman, who was behind the music for Contra 4 on the DS, to compose the music for Retro City Rampage.
The game supports play with the Wiimote, Wii Classic Controller, and Gamecube controller.
Retro City Rampage will be playable at PAX Convention in Seattle between Sept. 3-5. It launches on WiiWare later this year. Provinciano said he hopes to release the game by Christmas.
You can check out the official site here.
Photos by Vblank Entertainment