Known in Japan as GameCenter CX: Arino no Chousenjou, Retro Game Challenge is based on the television series Retro Game Master. It was released on November 15th, 2007 in Japan and February 10th, 2009 in North America.
Players select either a boy or girl avatar to compete in challenges given to them by the Game Master Arino.
While each game is original, graphic, sound and gameplay elements are tailored to make each game feel retro. Many games feel similar in appearance and gameplay to original Famicom games of that time period, complete with fully illustrated manuals.
The game's structure requires that the player pass a challenge before they can move onto the next one. Once all four challenges for a game have been passed, the next game opens up. Many of the challenges are simple tasks, such as reaching a designated number of points or passing a level. Some challenges require the player to master some of the slightly more esoteric mechanics of the games within, such as knowing how to unlock and use warp gates in Cosmic Gate, or defeating two enemies simultaneously using doors in Haggle Man 2.
After clearing all four challenges for a game, the game becomes available in freeplay mode. In this mode, high scores and various other game data are saved and tracked. With the exception of continues, cheats are disabled in freeplay mode.
Guadia Quest and Haggle Man 3 saves do not carry over to freeplay mode, and accomplishing goals in freeplay mode does not affect story mode.
GameFan is a gaming magazine that young Arino reads. A new issue of GameFan is unlocked after every few challenges beaten. It features tips and cheats for all the games featured in RGC, previews for upcoming games, and sales charts that include the games featured in RGC as well as numerous other games that are not featured. GameFan's mascot is Larry T. Bird, a blue bird who appears on the cover of every issue. Several real-world videogame journalists and critics are parodied within GameFan's pages, including "Dan Sock" (based on Dan Hsu, former editor-in-chief of Electronic Gaming Monthly), "Dave" (Dave Halverson, founder of Diehard GameFan) and Milky (based on James Mielke, former editorial director of 1up.com).
Retro Game Challenge received mostly positive reviews from critics. It received a 7.5 from Gamespot's Carolyn Petit, and was praised for its "variety and authenticity". Damon Hatfield of IGN gave the game an 8.6, touting the quality of the invented games and the concept of the challenges as its high points. 1up.com's Jeremy Parish also appreciated the quality of the games contained within Retro Game Challenge, scoring the title an A-.
On the more critical end, Giant Bomb's own Jeff Gerstmann, who gave the game 3 of 5 stars, appreciated the game's concepts but wasn't a fan of the repetitive nature of some of the gameplay mechanics and design. " If it were a bit more open-ended about which games you could play at any given time," Gerstmann says, "...and didn't double-up on some of the games, it'd be a pretty cool little collection."
- Cosmic Gate
- Robot Ninja Haggle Man
- Rally King
- Star Prince
- Rally King SP
- Robot Ninja Haggle Man 2
- Guadia Quest
- Robot Ninja Haggle Man 3
Developed by TOMATO, released on November 8, 1984
While patrolling the M32 nebula, the Infinity receives a distress call from Earth. On the way back to Earth the Infinity is ambushed by humanity's sworn enemy, the Mass Insektors.
Cosmic Gate shares a lot of similarities with Galaga. Waves of enemies fly in and must be defeated. There are three types of enemies: pawns, guards, and bosses. Pawns occupy the bottom two rows, guards occupy the second and third rows, and bosses occupy the top row. Flashing pawns will open up a warp if shot before any other enemies, which can be used to skip levels. Flashing bosses appear every four levels, and drop a power-up when defeated. This power-up allows three shots to be on screen at the same time, with every third shot being a missile that can go through multiple enemies. When a missile hits multiple enemies, a multiplier increases the score for every consecutive enemy it defeats.
When bosses dive at the Infinity they will often take one or two guards with them. Defeating the guards and then the boss will reward bonus points if they are defeated before they return to the formation.
Every fourth stage is a bonus round where the goal is to destroy as many asteroids as possible. At the end of each round the score is tallied (with charmingly incorrect grammar indicating how many asteroids were "shooted") and bonus points may be awarded. There are small, medium and large asteroids to destroy, with the largest size being notoriously difficult to take down without a powered-up shot unless it was caught near the top of the screen.
Robot Ninja Haggle Man
Developed by Gears, released on September 13, 1985.
The evil scientist Chingensai has kidnapped the princess and taken her to his Mech Hideout in Neo-Kichijoji City. Haggle Man, a product of Neo-Nippon's best scientist, embarks on a journey to rescue the princess. He is joined by Koume, Cyborg K9, and Little Zenmai; who can be called upon for assistance during his journey.
On the fourth and eighth floor of the Mech Hideout, Haggle Man faces Dark Haggle Man, a robot built from Haggle Man's blueprints by Chingensai. On the eighth floor, Haggle Man faces off against Chingensai himself. After Chingensai's defeat, the princess is once again kidnapped and Haggle Man must replay through the same eight floors to reach Chingensai again.
After finally defeating Chingensai, Haggle Man rescues the princess and they return home.
Haggle Man can run, jump, and throw shuriken. Most platforms can be jumped through--that is, Haggle Man can jump onto a platform from directly underneath, and he can leap directly off a platform to surfaces below (without having to run to the edge). He can also enter doors, causing all onscreen doors of the same color to spin. Enemies are defeated by stomping on their heads or hitting them with a spinning door. Some enemies can be stunned by shuriken, making it easier for Haggle Man to stomp on their heads. In other cases, enemies will defend against shuriken, but this also freezes them in a defensive posture for a split second, giving Haggle Man enough time to run up and jump on their heads anyway. Progression is achieved by defeating all enemies on each floor, upon which the boss character will reveal itself. Defeating this boss character unlocks a portal to the next floor.
All levels are self-contained. That is, while there is enough height and breadth such that the screen must scroll left, right, up and down to cover the entire scope of each level, there is no progression from its "beginning" to its "end". As such, each level is more or less a very large room.
Entering three doors in alphabetical order will turn all onscreen doors the same color, allowing Haggle Man to defeat more enemies at once and gain more points. Entering three doors in reverse alphabetical order will heal Haggle Man if he has been hit. Entering doors can also uncover hidden scrolls. Collecting three scrolls unleashes a screen-filling " smartbomb" attack that either stuns or clears away on-screen enemies. Also, the boss characters will be hiding behind doors. Haggle Man can stay behind doors for as long as the up button was held on the D-pad. So, if the player reveals a boss character, and have Haggle Man stay behind the door long enough, the boss character will leap out onto the level. This way, Haggle Man can defeat it without having to wait until all the other enemies are defeated.
- The Japanese name for Robot Ninja Haggle Man is Karakuri Ninja Haguruman. Haguruman is a combination of haguruma and man; haguruma meaning gear, and man representing a robot like in the Mega Man series. For the North American release XSEED opted for a more direct translation, as a North American publisher would have likely done 1985.
Developed by SimpleSoft, released on November 21, 1985.
Rally King stars Holland Mackray, who is competing in the World Rally Tour with the goal of becoming the champion.
Rally King plays from a top-down perspective, using "tank" controls where left and right change the angle of the car's trajectory. There is a rudimentary drift mechanic which is activated by achieving a certain minimum speed and letting off the gas while turning hard in a direction. Drifting is indicated by smoke puffs coming from the rear wheels. A speed boost can be achieved if the player can sustain a drift in one direction for over a full second.
Rally King displays a health meter for the car. Every time it bumps into a wall or another racer, the health meter depletes. Once the health meter is empty, the car explodes. The player can choose to continue (up to three times) from the same level on which they died, but their score is reset to zero.
In addition to other cars, there are several obstacles on the course that will either cause the car to spin out (puddles, sand dunes) or merely slow down (dark gravel patches). Small bumps give the car a little air time, and "ghost cars" act as powerups providing up extra points or health refills if driven into. Furthermore, finding some secret shortcuts will award the player with a huge point bonus.
- Rally King's main character Holland Mackray is named after the late rally driver Colin McRae.
Developed by TOMATO, released on June 3, 1986.
Star Prince's gameplay is heavily influenced by Hudson Soft's Star Soldier series. It plays top-down and offers a bevy of shot power-ups, including a spread gun, a super-powerful rapid-fire laser and a simultaneous rapid shot plus short-range cluster bomb combo.
By holding down the fire button, the ship can generate a shield that absorbs enemy bullets. Every three bullets it absorbs then gets unleashed in a devastating attack. The shield can also stop bigger shots and destroy smaller enemies, but it disappears upon doing so, requiring the player to hold down the fire button again to regenerate it. (The shield cannot be used while using the rapid-fire button.)
A large points bonus can be unlocked if the ship randomly shoots across certain parts of each stage's environments. Uncovering the letters P, R, I, N, C and E will net a full bonus. The player can also get "technical" bonus points for destroying certain mid-boss characters efficiently (most likely determined by length of time).
Star Prince also loops once, requiring that the player play through the game's four stages once again to fully complete it. The second loop features slightly increased difficulty, with some enemies shooting bullets where they didn't during the previous run-through.
Rally King SP
Developed by SimpleSoft.
Rally King SP is a repackaged version of the original Rally King given away to winners of a GameFan competition.
After winning last year's World Rally Tour Holland Mackray has entered once again. This time though, he has Larry T. Bird and Inokichi Cup Chicken Noodles on his side.
Gameplay in Rally King SP is identical to its predecessor. The mechanics have not changed, nor have the high-level course designs. However, there are certain jumps and obstacles in places where they weren't in the previous game, and coloring is altered: For example, the desert level is blue instead of yellow. Another noticeable difference is the addition of GameFan and Inokichi advertisements between tracks.
Robot Ninja Haggle Man 2
Developed by GEARS, released on December 10, 1986.
A year has passed since Haggle Man defeated Chingensai and rescued the princess. One day, a mysterious building appears in Neo-Nasu Kogen, and the princess is once again kidnapped by Chingensai. But he was supposed to be dead! So Haggle Man travels once again to Chingensai's new Mech Hideout to defeat him once and for all.
Haggle Man 2 is not a huge departure from the first game. The game features larger levels with more enemies, and enemy reinforcements will appear after a time. Allies can now be summoned at any time when Haggle Man has three scrolls by pressing up and B, instead of having the ally be summoned automatically. In many cases, bosses in the previous Haggle Man could be defeated with one jump after being stunned. This time around, it takes three clean jumps to defeat all bosses.
As in the first game, Haggle Man will fight Chingensai at the end of the eighth level, and the levels will repeat themselves a second time. However there is now an all-new Wily-style boss battle against Chingensai at the end of the game.
Developed by Coelacanth, released on September 11, 1987.
Long ago, a legendary knight used beings known as Guadias and brought peace to the land. After bringing peace to the land the knight went into seclusion. The world remained at peace for many years, with Heaven, the Underworld, and the land of men all co-existing in harmony.
Centuries later, a dark power has emerged that threatens to destroy the peace established long ago. The king of Centraan has called upon the descendants of the legendary knight, who will have to use the power of Guadias to restore peace to the world once again.
Guadia Quest: Feast of the Mad King is an old-school RPG which takes much of its design from Dragon Quest.
The main feature that sets Guadia Quest apart from other role-playing games from that era is the monster-recruiting system, which takes cues from Shin Megami Tensei. Creatures called Guadias can be convinced to join the player's party, which will occasionally aid the party by attacking enemies for massive damage. Only one Guadia at a time can be recruited to the party, and they must fight and defeat a Guadia--no easy feat--before it will join the party.
Guadia Quest gives the player a three-character party. One character is the warrior or tank character, who can wield the most powerful melee weapons, gains the most hit points, and only has access to a very limited amount of spells. Another character is the basic magic user, having access to the most powerful spells and only able to deal (and take) very limited physical damage. The last character sits neatly in between the two previous ones, being adept at casting spells and also dealing a decent amount of physical damage.
Battles are completely turn-based, again in the vein of Dragon Quest, with the player queuing up their characters' commands before each round during which they are unleashed based on everyone's speed rating. The Guadia will usually attack first if it is in its ready state.
Robot Ninja Haggle Man 3
Developed by GEARS, released on July 21, 1989.
It has been five years since Haggle Man defeated Chingensai once and for all. One day Haggle Man receives a message from Haggleman Lady, an agent of a secret organization, informing him of a national emergency. The three regalia, Neo-Nippon's national treasures have been stolen. It is said that the power of the three regalia can break the wards sealing the Gate of Darkness and unleash chaos upon the world. Haggle Man them embarks on a journey to retrieve the regalia, joined by Koume, Cyborg K9, Little Zenmai, and Haggleman Lady.
Eventually Haggle Man learns that the individual behind the theft of the regalia, "Lord Dark" is actually Dark Haggle Man. After finally defeating Dark Haggle Man, Haggle Man learns that Haggleman Lady is also one of Chingensai's creations, and she challenges Haggle Man to a battle in order to learn what makes Haggle Man different from her.
The gameplay in Robot Ninja Haggle Man 3 is completely different from the previous games in the series. Haggle Man 3 is an action-platformer with open-ended level designs, taking inspiration from games such as Metroid and Ninja Gaiden.
The game consists of three episodes, each dedicated to retrieving one of the regalia. Each episode is an open-ended world that takes place in a different area of Neo-Nippon. Some areas are inaccessible initially, but can be reached after equipping certain gears. Throughout the levels there are doors, some of which lead to rooms full of enemies, and some of which lead to Elder Hakase's store where Hagglegears, ninjutsu items, and other power-ups can be purchased.
Haggle Man can run, jump, slash enemies with his sword, and throw shuriken. Taking a page from Shinobi's book, the default attack is the shuriken, but when Haggle Man is within close proximity of his target, the attack automatically becomes a sword slash. Ninjutsu items allow Haggle Man to make use of additional attacks which may be more effective than the sword or shuriken. Through the course of the game, he can pick up nuts from fallen enemies. These can be cashed in at Elder Hakase's store to buy new Hagglegears or ninjutsu items.
Hagglegears can be collected and equipped to extent Haggle Man's abilities. He can equip up to three gears at once, each being a different size. Each gear has a specified power rating, and Haggle Man cannot equip gears that cause the total power to exceed Haggle Man's maximum power allowance. Power upgrades can be purchased from Elder Hakase's shop.
At the end of each episode there is a boss battle. The third episode also features a second boss battle, followed by a third that plays completely different from the other boss battles in the game.