Two new games that couldn’t be any different. The violent homage to every iconic game imaginable and the return of my favorite gaming duo all in one week! Trying to partition time between the two games is proving quite the daunting task, but don’t feel pity for me. In fact, you should feel the opposite, because each game is great in their respective right. If you don’t believe me, then you should probably keep reading and let me change your mind.
Retro City Rampage
Retro City Rampage is a game that has clearly been made by a gamer and for other gamers. There are video game references in each and every section of the game. Aside from the gameplay borrowing largely from Grand Theft Auto, you also run into the Game Genie, based on Galoob’s old cheat device, you murder the Ninja Turtles, infiltrate an enemy hideout with Solid Snake, rent a bike from Doc Louis of Punch-Out!! fame, and that’s all in the first hour! To avoid copyright laws, the names of these characters aren’t said directly, but you know it’s them. I was honestly impressed by the amount of reference in just this one game. The reason I am telling you this is because your enjoyment of Retro City Rampage is going to depend greatly on your knowledge of past video games: the more you know, the more you’re going to enjoy the dialogue, missions, and everything else within the game.
Retro City Rampage doesn’t take itself too seriously either, which is 100% a good thing. If you want to just hijack cars, run over some people, grab a shotgun, and go on a killing spree instead of doing the story missions, go right ahead! Hell, there’s even an entire game mode that gives you infinite cash and every gun to just play around with! Not only that, but the game rewards you with combos and bonus points if you kill people in quick succession, something you won’t likely see in a more “realistic” game.
I’ve completed about 1/4 of the game so far, and I’m thoroughly enjoying my time with it. The simple missions make for quick play sessions if short on time, and the open 8-bit world will give you lots to do when you just want to explore. Retro City Rampage is a love letter to video game fans, not just NES and/or GTA lovers. If you’ve been playing games for any significant amount of time, you should definitely check out Retro City Rampage.
Professor Layton and the Last Specter
In anticipation for the upcoming release of Professor Layton’s fifth game, The Miracle Mask, which I’m ridiculously excited about, I decided I’d better play through Layton’s previous installment, The Last Specter. The Professor Layton series of games has remained one of the premiere DS exclusive games out there, with each entry in the series being as good, if not better, than the one before it, something that not every game series can say. Naturally, with this much hype and quality to it’s name, I am expecting a lot from The Last Specter. Though I’m only a short ways in, I’m already hooked with the story.
This is the fourth game in the franchise, but it’s the first of a prequel trilogy to the first three games. Taking place three years prior to The Curious Village, this story tells the tale of how Layton first met his apprentice, the young lad Luke Triton. The town of Misthallery is plagued by a mysterious, gigantic specter that has been destroying homes for some time now. There’s also a thick fog that covers the city and sinkholes have been showing up around town, on top of other unfortunate events happening in and around the city. Right from the get-go I was on board with this game, and the interesting, mysterious story has already got me in its clutches. The series has always had an amazing knack for storytelling, and The Last Specter is set to impress already!
It wouldn’t be a Professor Layton game if there weren’t puzzles, and The Last Specter is proud to advertise that it houses the most puzzles out of any past Layton game. I’ve only come across a little more than a dozen puzzles so far, but they’ve been fun brain busters so far. I am liking that the game is attempting to do more with it’s mindless tapping to find hint coins. To it’s credit, the past games have tried to do this too, but in The Last Specter it feels like they’ve tried harder. Not only can you find hint coins scattered throughout the city in suspicious locations, but you can also tap on objects to hear testimony from everyone in your party, and through repeated tapping you can uncover hidden items, puzzles, and other goodies. All in all it feels like there’s more to the game than just puzzles and story, which is literally what every past entry in the series was. On that note, I must say that I have not yet tried Layton’s London Life, which is an additional RPG outside of the main storyline and game. I’ve heard nothing but good things from this little diversion, and you can bet I’ll be diving into that side project here soon.
Like I said, you really couldn’t get two dramatically different games. And yet I find myself strangely satisfied with each of them. I thought I’d be entranced by Professor Layton entirely and devoid of any lingering urges to play Retro City Rampage, but I was pleasantly surprised that both games have been reaching for my time.
Who’s the real winner here: Layton or RCR?
Neither. It’s me, for having two awesome games to play this weekend!