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access_time October 30, 2012 at 7:44 PM in Reviews by Adam Larck

The 5 & 1 Review | Retro City Rampage

Welcome back to another 5&1 Review. This week, we have what may be the biggest homage to past games: Retro City Rampage.

Retro City Rampage

What is the game: A tribute to retro games and TV shows everywhere. Retro City Rampage packs in tons of references and, just when you think it can’t fit more, it shoves a few more in there. Within the first 30 or so minutes you’ll run into the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, play a bit of a parody of The Dark Knight and play through levels similar to Contra and Metal Gear.

The homages themselves are fairly easily to follow along, but can start becoming more obscure as players progress through. While most can be recognized, only certain people may get some references later in the game, making jokes or nods of the head fall flat. For the most part, though, the references are well done.

How does it work: Besides borrowing characters from games, the game also borrows a decent amount of gameplay from other games as well.

For the most part, the game plays like the original Grand Theft Auto. It has a top down perspective where you, as Player, can kill people, steal vehicles and more in Theftropolis after going back in time to 1985. During the story, you help the Doc try to build a Delorean-like time machine by doing various quest that take bits and pieces from other games. A good example of this is a car chase where you have to tail someone. However, while tailing them you have to find coffee to stay awake because it’s so boring.

One problem I had with this is that making fun of bad game mechanics doesn’t make them good, it just makes you chuckle a bit while dealing with bad mechanics. The chase gets old quick, and a lot of other repeating elements will too. Unfortunately, while trying to recognize every game, it often recognizes the good and the bad.

This doesn’t make the game bad, it just means that smaller doses of the game may be better off instead of longer play sessions so that the welcome isn’t warn out. There are some other nice features in the game, like the arcade that features Bit.Trip Runner, Meat Boy and Epic Meal Time, which are fun time wasters. In fact, I found that more enjoyment could come from running around in free play mode than doing the story missions of trying to stop the corporate publishing companies from taking advantage of indie developers.

The free play mode also knows what players want. It doesn’t give you nothing and set you out. Instead, it gives you a ton of money, quite a lot of guns and lets you cause havoc however you want to.

The biggest disadvantage the game may have is that, once you’ve seen the nostalgia, there’s not much reason to go back. The references don’t change and open world has been done better elsewhere. Still, the first time through will be enjoyable to most and may bring back some fond game memories.

Why should you care: Because it is a great nod to retro titles. Sure, we may not have the time to go back and enjoy games we grew up playing, but RCR at least lets gamers remember some of their favorite games or pop culture references as they go along.

Who should buy it: Older gamers that remember a lot of ’80s and ’90s references. Younger gamers will miss a lot of the references being brought to the table. Sure, the gameplay is good, but the main reason to get Retro City Rampage is to see what you can pick out as you go along.

When should you get it: When you need a new game to kill a bit of time with or want to remember some blasts from the past. The game will take around six hours or so to beat depending on side quests you do, and free play mode will let you just randomly destroy to your heart’s content. However, once you beat the game you probably won’t go back to it.

Where is it available: The game can be gotten DRM-free at GOG.com. It’s also available on Steam for PC. PlayStation 3 and Vita owners can also get it on the PSN, and it will be out later on for XBLA.


  • Ramon Aranda October 30, 2012 at 8:11 PM

    I really wanna play this game. Will have to eventually make time for it.

  • John Speerbrecker November 1, 2012 at 4:32 PM

    I agree Adam. I found this game entirely up my alley. Mainly, because I caught every single reference in it…maybe. But I can see this game going over a lot of people’s heads and for those who never had to deal with pixel graphics, It might be harder for them to appreciate.

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