Nihilistic Entertainment System: Retro City Rampage


Currently getting owners of the PS Vitalite’s expensive knickers in a right old twist, parody open-world carnage game Retro City Rampage will also be careening wildly towards PC with a bloodythirsty look in its pseudo-8-bit eye. Essentially it’s GTA 1, if GTA 1 had happened five years earlier and was a mash-up of locales and abilities from assorted touchstones of the early console era.

See if you can name all the references in the video below! Or just impassively watch it and think ‘yes those are some videogames I recognise.’ It’s not for me to tell you whether to be enthusiastic or not. Unless you think I’m some sort of hideous emotional dictator, the Idi Amin of smiles and tears. Frankly, I’m offended by the suggestion.

Retro City Rampage is due in May, on PC and assorted console-toys. It’s been in the offing for a couple of years now, having attracted some excitable press back in 2010 but only now nailing down formats and a release date.

You can pre-order it now if you like, with the promise of assorted bonus goodies such as soundtracks and printable faux-cartridge boxes, for $14.99. That gets you a Steam copy and a DRM-free copy. Which seems an eminently sensible way of catering to the two loudest camps in PC gaming.

Of course, we’ve always got Super Mario Bros Crossover to indulge ourselves in copyright-bending retro gaming mash-ups in the meantime…


  1. Oozo says:

    It’s GTA 1with a JUMP BUTTON. Make that a double jump and give me the possibility to jump over speeding cars, and we have a deal.

    • rickenbacker says:

      GTA already has a jump button… Or is that just my memory failing me? I seem to remember sailing effortlessly over parked cars.

      …then dying due to the useless controls, but that’s been a GTA staple all along. Even GTA IV is pretty damn worthless as a game, even though it builds an amazing world.

    • Oozo says:

      Possible, it’s been a while. I’m pretty sure that you couldn’t jump on people before picking them up and throwing them around, though. So my excitement shall remain unbroken.

    • Groove says:

      You could slide over parked cars (and under some larger vehicles), but that was it.

  2. terry says:

    Couldn’t have bought it more quickly.

    I saw that bloody bomb-defusing part from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I didn’t need to remember that at all :-(

    Edit: Load 8,1 graffiti. Heh.

    Edit 2: Noticed The Scrum Bar and Lunch Out!! are two of the shops.

    • Groove says:

      “I saw that bloody bomb-defusing part from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I didn’t need to remember that at all :-(”

      I feel your pain. I’m not sure I ever got past that part without taking cripplling losses, If indeed I ever got past it. Forget the enemies and the obstacles, the walls were the only real danger down there. Killer walls, constant downward or upward motion and a coridor 3 pixels taller than your guy =(

    • roguewombat says:

      Indeed… my prepubescent fingers were not agile enough to pass those mines. Also, Metal Gear is the hardest NES game ever.

  3. Anthile says:

    That Turtles game for NES, Bionic Commando, Zombies Ate My Neighbors, Double Dragon, Paperboy and perhaps some Contra.

    • Oozo says:

      Paperboy, Super Mario, Metal Gear. And definitely Contra. Probably a bit of Batman, as well.

      …we are doing EXACTLY what that guy wants us to do, aren’t we? I feel used.

    • Luke says:

      There’s also a Duke Nukem billboard in there.

    • Nezuji says:

      And Ikari Warriors. Am I the only one who sees Zelda in there towards the end? If I’m being waggish, l might say that the look of the flamethrower reminds me of Alien Syndrome…

    • werix says:

      For sure at the :59 mark is a reference to Guerrilla War, which is hands-down, bar none, the best bullet hell shooter on the NES.

      For you uninformed cretins: link to

  4. TeraTelnet says:

    Oh hey, Skate or Die.

    • Drayk says:

      I remember the game boy version… I hated that game… too hard for me. Just like the speeder part of Battletoads

  5. Premium User Badge

    Hodge says:

    As well as Paperboy, Bionic Commando, the original Metal Gear and Smash TV. Good group.

  6. LionsPhil says:

    Sir, I must once again object to the use of “8-bit” to refer to a graphical style with a far more 16-bit bent! Such errors are akin to refering to synthesiser-heavy ’80s hair metal as “’60s hippy music”, and reflects poorly on RPS’ deep knowledge of the history and culture of shooting men in the face with pixels. I trust that those responsible shall be flogged.

    Entertaining video, though.

    • Lewie Procter says:

      This is definitely closer in graphical style to the games from the 8bit console generation than the 16bit one.

      It actually started life out as a game designed to run on the original NES.

    • sneetch says:

      Yeah! Get ‘im, Lewie!

    • Nezuji says:

      Normally, I’d be objecting right along with you, but this is rather a borderline case, surely? We might say it’s 16-bit, but more in the sense of, “developed as an 8-bit game, right up until the publisher decided to switch to 16-bit in order to cash in on launch sales, giving the artist one week to update the assets”.

    • DickSocrates says:

      The style is definitely 8-bit, but the amount of action and overall colour palette is closer to 16-bit. The kind of 8-bit dream that was never actually possible on that hardware. Looks really great by the way, I’ll no doubt ‘lash’ it up.

    • torchedEARTH says:


      That sort of attitude doesn’t wash around here I’m afraid.

      Try posting something of intellectual interest to others please.

      Hee hee – I’m playing with fire.

    • LionsPhil says:

      This is definitely closer in graphical style to the games from the 8bit console generation than the 16bit one.

      It really isn’t. Even a beast like the mighty Beeb would struggle to have that much going on at once, in that res, with that many colours. If pushed, it could handle 160×256 (WIIIDE pixels!) and eight colours. Count ’em, eight. But that was with 2/3 of your memory used on the framebuffer.

      Don’t forget that the SNES, the ST, and the Amiga were all 16-bit machines. (Admittedly, the Amiga would laugh at this, but then it was also a latecomer.)

    • Tams80 says:


    • thecat17 says:

      All that you said may be true, LionsPhil. But the style of the art still looks like 8-bit, or even “psuedo-8-bit” as Alec said. Even if 8-bit systems didn’t have the horsepower to run all that onscreen action, that still has nothing to do with “graphical style”. 16-bit games tended to have more detailed sprites.

      You’re arguing apples when everybody else is arguing oranges.

      Also, count the homages to 8-bit NES games versus any 16-bit games.

  7. hellboy says:

    Great news, I was hoping to not have to buy this on my Xbox!

  8. wodin says:

    I saw Magnum TV series aswell.

    Looks cool, but boy do I hate that old games electro shaw does grate these days.

    I agree that was more on the 16bit than 8bit side of things. If I had a game like that on my old Amstrad 464 I’d have been blown away anyways.

  9. Just Endless says:

    “Retro City Rampage is due in May, on PC and assorted console-toys.”

    Can we have, like, actual information instead of snark? It’s reasonably rare that RPS does this, but all it really does is tell me a little bit less and remind me a little bit more of the one thing about my choice of gaming platform I don’t care for, the silly elitism.


    • Alec Meer says:

      ‘The game is also due for release on some platforms that we don’t cover on Rock,Paper,Shotgun.’

    • Gnoupi says:

      Someone forgot to read this: link to

      “Before you send that press release about your new iPhone game or link to a dog playing the Zelda theme tune on a noseflute, please remember that we are a PC-only site. That’s PC only. P.C. O.N.L.Y. Honestly, you’d be amazed how many people don’t realise that, or think their non-PC game is so incredigood that we’ll magically change our minds and become multiformat overnight. P.C. O.N.L.Y.”

    • Unaco says:

      ‘The game is also due for release on some platforms that we don’t cover on Rock,Paper,Shotgun.’

      Emphasis mine.

  10. Skabooga says:

    Oh Alec, you are the Idi Amin of my heart.

    Wait, did Idi Amin eat human hearts?

  11. Godwhacker says:

    I don’t remember playing any of these games, because none of them were ever released on PC, and we weren’t allowed to have consoles when I was younger because they weren’t educational. I think I remember some of them being put on demo in Dixons though.

  12. Isometric says:

    Super Smash TV was in there too, great game.
    link to

  13. Sarlix says:

    The contrasting color pallet is damaging my retinas.

  14. LTK says:

    Well, my initial impression didn’t tag this game as ‘batshit insane’, in any case. Then I saw the trailer.

  15. Navagon says:

    “Walk over the grenades to pick them up”

    Contender for 2012’s Significant Contribution to Dismemberment Award.

  16. Kuschelwampe says:

    Actually I found the trailer’s music a little bit….annoying.