This is a big week for remakes, remasters, classic game collections, ports, and expansions with almost everything coming out falling into one of those categories. Yeah, there’s a small handful of actual NEW games but your biggest hitters are all going to be things you may (or may not) have played before. Desolation; yes. Hesitation; no.
Destroy All Humans! 2: Reprobed (PC/PS5/Series X|S) – Releases Aug. 30th
Developed by: Black Forest Games
Published by: THQ Nordic
After a well received remake of the first Destroy All Humans! back in 2020, the game’s sequel is also getting the remake treatment with Reprobed. Set in the swingin’ sixties, players once again take on the role of Crypto, an alien hell bent on the eradication of humans. However, after the events of the first game, Crypto is now hell bent on getting revenge against the humans who destroyed his mothership and he has to, GASP, get help from other humans; noooooo!!!
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle R (PC/PS4/PS5/Switch/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases Sep. 2nd
Developed by: CyberConnect2
Published by: BandaiNamco
Originally released in 2013/2014 on the PS3, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle is back, this time with an R. Featuring 50 characters from across every arc of the manga/anime, you’ll be delighted to see how characters who could never physically meet in the series interact with each other. Aside from the graphical upgrades from being on next gen consoles, All Star Battle R also features several new battles in the game’s story mode, includes new gameplay mechanics like hit stops and jump dashes, and now includes voice acting from the cast of Part 6.
NIS Classics Volume 3: La Pucelle: Ragnarok / Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure (PC (maybe)/Switch) – Releases Aug. 30th
Developed by: Nippon Ichi Software
Published by: NIS America
The bane of resellers existence, NIS Classics is back with their third volume of incredibly rare Japanese RPGs, now for modern consoles. This time around, the two very expensive retro games you can now get for a reasonable price are La Pucelle: Ragnarok and Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure. Technically, La Pucelle is the PSP remake of the PS2 game, La Pucelle: Tactics, but is essentially the same game and features gameplay very reminiscent of the Disgaea series, with characters from both franchises appearing in each other’s games. Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure was originally released on the PlayStation in 1998/2000 and was followed by a DS port in 2008/2009. This game is a much more typical JRPG with players exploring an overworld map and encountering random battles, however, the battles are tactical, with players moving their units around a grid. Unlike a typical tactics based game, though, these battles only last a few short minutes. Stick it to the resellers and buy your copy today (and then resell it in 15 years for $200 bucks).
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection (PC/PS4/PS5/Switch/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases Aug. 30th
Developed by: Digital Eclipse
Published by: Konami
Wow, I never EVER though we’d see this day come, but it has and I am so damn excited. Every single Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game (sans Shredder’s Revenge) is now in one grand collection; cowabunga! Featuring…
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (NES)
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Arcade)
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game (NES)
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project (NES)
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time (Arcade/SNES)
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist (Genesis)
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters (NES/SNES/Genesis)
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fall of the Foot Clan (Game Boy)
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Back from the Sewers (Game Boy)
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: Radical Rescue (Game Boy)
Tinykin (PC/PS4/PS5/Switch/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases Aug. 30th
Developed by: Splashteam
Published by: tinyBuild
Tinykin is one of the very few actual NEW games to come out this week. However, you’ve most likely played it before. What do I mean? Well, Tinykin is basically Pikmin. You are a tiny person in a gigantic world filled with creatures that want to kill you. In order to protect yourself you enlist the help of an even smaller group of creatures called Pikmin…er, Tinykin, who you can command to kill hostile creatures. These Tinykin can also help you by carrying heavy objects, or combining together to help you reach out of the way places. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so I’m told, I wonder if Nintendo feels that way.
Immortality (Android/iOS/PC/Series X|S) – Releases Aug. 30th
Developed by: Sam Barlow
Published by: Half Mermaid Productions
This also came out, apparently.
Ports and Re-releases:
Commandos 3 – HD Remaster (PC/PS4/Switch/Xbox One) – Releases Aug. 30th
Originally released on PC back in 2003, Commandos 3 is a real-time strategy war game that also has similarities with tactical war games. Set during WWII, players control a group of special forces commandos as they assist the Allies in the fight against the Axis powers in Europe. The original PC game received mixed reviews for its removal of several hot keys from the first two games, its unintuitive menus, and that its graphics were considered subpar for the era. Does this HD remaster fix those things? I guess we’ll find out.
The Last of Us Part I (PS5) – Releases Sep. 2nd
Man, that PS4 version looks like shit! I’m so glad they did the right thing and remastered this for the PS5, looks way better now.
LEGO Brawls (PC/PS4/PS5/Switch/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases Sep. 2nd
After a two year, exclusive deal with Apple Arcade (which is becoming a less and less attractive platform by the month), the Smash Bros.-esque title LEGO Brawls is now making its way to PC and consoles. To win, players must stand in the center of the arena until their team’s color fills up to the top of some gauge, all while knocking your opponents out of the center. The game has received decent reviews, particularly for it’s incredibly deep character customization options, and is likely a fun diversion.
Aliens: Fireteam Elite – Pathogen (PC/PS4/PS5/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases Aug. 30th
The Left 4 Dead inspired Aliens: Fireteam Elite is getting some DLC, are you excited? Subtitled Pathogen, a mysterious, um, pathogen, is mutating the Xenomorphs into even greater threats. Do you and your buddies have what it takes to fight them back or you will be crying, “game over man” through your headsets.
Back 4 Blood: Children of the Worm (PC/PS4/PS5/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases Aug. 30th
8-bit weapon skins?! Tight.
Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis (PC/PS4/Xbox One) – Releases Aug. 30th
Not only is Phantasy Star Online 2 getting a bunch of new content, but now PlayStation owners in North America can play the game!
The rest of this week’s games look pretty interesting, I bet somebody out there is going to get enjoyment out of them.
- Scathe (PC) – Releases Aug. 31st
- Chenso Club (PC/PS4/Switch/Xbox One) – Releases Sep. 1st
- Gerda: A Flame in Winter (PC/Switch) – Releases Sep. 1st
Notable Releases from 10, 20, and 30 years ago:
Double Dragon Neon (PS3/Xbox 360) – Released Sep. 11th, 2012: Wiki Link
Notable Film Release: The Possesion – Starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Kyra Sedgwick, Natasha Calis, and Matisyahu
*Click here to watch the trailer*
Notable Album Release: Imagine Dragons – Night Visions
*Click here to listen to the album*
It had been nine years since a Double Dragon game had been released, and 20 years since the last new installment (that wasn’t a fighting game). After being such a huge part of gaming in the 80’s and 90’s, Billy and Jimmy Lee were footnotes by the 2010’s. This likely had to do with the bankruptcy and dissolution of Technos Japan in 1995, with the rights going to Million Co., Ltd. Million would release a GBA remake in 2003 and the just sit on the property, only putting out ports of the the arcade game in subsequent years. It was surprising and welcome news in 2012 when WayForward and Majesco announced they were making a new entry in the series.
Despite my best efforts, I was unable to find any information online about HOW WayForward got the rights to make this new game, Double Dragon Neon. Million was still technically the rights holder, though it has been stated that they had absolutely no involvement with the game’s production, so I don’t know. While Million wasn’t involved, WayForward did reach out to the creator/designer of the original Double Dragon arcade game, Yoshihisa Kishimoto, for guidance and to act as a consultant on the new game, giving feedback on character design and gameplay elements.
Taking the helm on this title were two WayForward veterans, Sean Velasco and Jeff Pomegranate, who had worked on titles like Contra 4, A Boy and His Blob (2009), Aliens: Infestation, and Duck Tales: Remastered. Their take on this new Double Dragon game was to do a hard reboot of the series, making it look like a modern remake, but then going out of this world, literally, and making it as gonzo and bonkers as possible. Double Dragon Neon is very much over the top, with a 1980’s, action film aesthetic that really plays up that era’s influence. Players collect mix tapes to improve their stats and learn new moves, and the clothing, colors, and music are all inspired by the Regan Era.
For those not familiar with the series, Double Dragon is a beat ’em up game and is arguably the first in the genre to go mainstream. Developed as a spiritual successor to Technos’ first Kunio-Kun game, called Renegade in the West, Double Dragon was a huge success in arcades and began the “golden age” of beat em’ up titles, influcing the likes of Final Fight and all of those Konami brawlers like TMNT and The Simpsons. Double Dragon Neon starts exactly the same as the original arcade game, with Billy Lee’s girlfriend Marion being punched in the stomach and kidnapped by a gang of thugs. Throwing open the door to his garage, Billy (and Jimmy if there are two players) leaves behind his bad ass convertible and hits the streets in search of his love.
Critically, Double Dragon Neon was considered “okay”. There were some critics, like the ones at EGM, that thought Double Dragon Neon was a brilliant brawler that perfectly nailed the 1980’s aesthetic. Other critics, like the ones at IGN, found Double Dragon Neon to be painfully archaic, meaning it was far too hard and unforgiving for modern audiences who no longer had the patience to play through difficult games (remember, this was also an era where single player games were “dead”). Having played this myself, I think this is a completely, down the middle, just okay kind of game. The graphics and sound are great, but the controls are sluggish. There just isn’t any “oomph” when you hit an enemy, making combat, the key element of a beat ’em up, feel unsatisfying.
While I do think the game is a bit difficult, it makes up for it by allowing you to increase your stats. Not only that, but the super move is key to winning, so liberal use of it is necessary, especially when you are often given multiple items that refill the gauge. Overall, I don’t think Double Dragon Neon is a bad game, it just isn’t a good game, not really. In 2015, Arc System Works would purchase the rights to the franchise and would put out Double Dragon IV in 2017 for PC, PS4 and Switch (with an XBone port in 2020). This game would use the same NES sprites for its graphics and played very closely to those classic games. It is vastly superior to Neon and I highly recommend you go out and play that instead.
Armored Core 3 (PS2) – Released Sep. 5th, 2002: Wiki Link
Notable Film Release: FeardotCom – Starring Stephen Dorff, Natascha McElhone, and Stephen Rea
*Click here to watch the trailer*
Notable Album Release: The Acacia Strain – …and Life Is Very Long
*Click here to listen to the album*
Before Dark Souls, Bloodborne, Sekiro and Elden Ring, From Software’s most popular franchise was Armored Core. With a huge focus on stats and vague/complicated controls, Armored Core was the series that hardcore gamers wanted to play. The series began its life on the PlayStation in 1997, with five releases before the 2002 entry, Armored Core 3. What makes this title unique is that it was considered a reboot of the franchise, stepping away from the story and world that players had seen in the previous games. Instead, Armored Core 3 moves players underground as the surface of the Earth has been decimated by nuclear war. The surviving humans decided to move underground and reform society, under the watchful gaze of a computer AI named The Controller. Vying for control of this new society are three competing corporations, as well as a resistance group that wants to overthrow The Controller.
Players take on the role of a mech pilot working for a mercenary group called Raven, who are given missions by the three corporations. Upon completion of a mission, players are rewarded with credits which they can use to upgrade their mechs, called “Armored Cores” (duh). Gameplay wise, Armored Core 3 was very, very similar to its previous entries. Players go on short missions, dispatch a variety of enemies, return to their home bases and upgrade their AC’s. It was a tried and true formula, I guess From found no reason to change it. Critics disagreed.
Reviews for Armored Core 3 were mixed, with some critics, like those at Game Informer and Famitsu, praising the game for its depth and commitment to solid, challenging gameplay. Other outlets, like those at EGM and IGN, thought that the latest entry in the long running series was stuck in the past, failing to update itself for modern audience tastes, and beginning to feel stale. They were particularly put off by the game’s controls, level design (or lack thereof), and its overwhelming statistics. Playing through it this past weekend I found myself enjoying it, for the most part. It’s pretty much the same as the previous entries, so if that’s what you like, then that’s what you get. Sadly, this game is locked to the PS2 and you have no legal way to play it without finding a copy of the original disc. It’s probably easier, and smarter, at this point to try and find one of the Armored Core games on Xbox 360 or PS3. Will From ever return to this series or have they resigned themselves to keep making Dark Souls over and over? Time will tell.
The Simpsons: Bart vs. the Juggernauts (Game Boy) – Released Sep. 1992: Wiki Link
Notable Film Release: Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me – Starring Sheryl Lee, Moira Kelly, David Bowie, Chris Isaak, Harry Dean Stanton, Ray Wise, and Kyle MacLachlan
*Click here to watch the trailer*
Notable Album Release: The Ramones – Mondo Bizarro
*Click here to listen to album*
For their 5th video game (or 6th, if you count pinball machines), and their second on the Game Boy, The Simpsons went the minigame route. In The Simpsons: Bart vs. the Juggernauts, players, once again, play as Bart Simpson. This time, instead of taking on space mutants or questionably racist relatives of Mr. Burns, Bart has to compete against The Juggernauts on a game show that is not unlike the popular 1990’s television program American Gladiators. The game features seven challenges played over the course of four weeks (levels). In order to advance to the next week/level, Bart must earn a certain amount of points in the challenge. If he fails, he is kicked off the game show and the player loses, making you start over again from the beginning.
The games you play include a wrestling game where you push your opponent off a platform, a jousting game that is basically the same thing (and mimics a famous game from American Gladiators), a basketball game where Bart must avoid stepping on electrified squares, a “death course” where Bart must avoid land mines and mortar fire, a skateboarding game where Bart must avoid obstacles and pitfalls, a “wack-a-mole” style game, and a traditional side scrolling platformer game where Bart must avoid obstacles on his way to the Kwik-E-Mart. As you can see, a stunning game, all around.
Just kidding, it’s a complete piece of shit. Critics of the day were a bit more forgiving than me, where it received average reviews. Some modern critics, reviewing the game several years later, were very impressed, calling it a unique collection of minigames that ranks it among the best Simpsons games of all time (they’re very, very wrong). What makes this interesting, though, is that Bart vs. the Juggernauts foretold what the future of Acclaim’s Simpsons games were going to be, with the ideas presented here expanded in Bart’s Nightmare and Virtual Bart, with each being a loose collection of minigames joined by some kind of overarching story. It should come as no surprise that Bart vs. the Juggernauts isn’t available on any modern console, nor will it likely ever be, although I thought the same about all of the TMNT games and look what just happened. In any case, if you’re going to play an older Simpsons game, Bart vs. the Juggernauts is the last one you should check out.