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Retro City Rampage Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . Retro City Rampage works as an always funny parody of Grand Theft Auto and classic games. But it's much more than that. There's some devilishly clever content here, including a solid action game with consistently humorous writing. Not every joke lands, but the experience is so dense with ridiculous fun that it's impossible to imagine somebody not having a good time with Retro City Rampage! Rating: 78%
Retro City Rampage
Retro City Rampage Retro City Rampage Retro City Rampage Retro City Rampage
  • Review Score:

  • B+
A few years ago, Michael Thomsen published an article wondering if Metroid Prime was video gaming's Citizen Kane. It's a baffling notion that was, understandably, mocked by gamers around the world. Honestly, I don't know if Metroid Prime is our Citizen Kane. I liked both and wouldn't even know where to begin when it comes to comparing the two. But there's one thing I do know for sure: Retro City Rampage is our industry's Mad Magazine.

Retro City Rampage is a never ending confetti explosion of classic video game references and jokes. Within seconds of starting the game you'll be bombarded with references to the Mega Man II intro, the Duck Hunt pooch, Mortal Kombat's "Toasty" guy, the Green Hill Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog, the underground piping of Mario Bros. and a big money pool like Scrooge McDuck had. And that's just the video game references. The whole stage is couched in what appears to be an 8-bit retelling of the opening minutes of The Dark Knight.

Retro City Rampage (PS Vita)

Although it looks like an 8-bit Grand Theft Auto 2, Retro City Rampage has its sights set a little broader. This is a stinging indictment against modern games, the people that make them, and those of us in the press that cover them. By stretching them to their extremes, designer Brian Provinciano has pointed out how ludicrous modern day gaming tropes really are. I'll never look at another pointless tailing mission the same way after playing this game.

There's a story here, though it's little more than an excuse to get us from one parody to another. You play a low-level criminal named Player, who spends much of his time hunting down ridiculous parts so that his mad scientist buddy can rebuild a time machine. Gee, where have we heard that before?

Each stage is an opportunity to skewer a different game or genre. Often you'll have to play a parody of a specific level from an iconic game, all while the game is tossing jokes and references at you. Early on, Player is forced to stealth his way through a Metal Gear-like compound (complete with guards with translation problems). This gives the designer a chance to also make fun of RoboCop and Bionic Commando, a couple of franchises I never thought would be smooshed together.

Retro City Rampage (PS Vita)

Later in the game you'll meet up with the Game Genie, who forces you to go through a Legend of Zelda-style dungeon. By itself that isn't a terribly original idea, yet it works here because they take the time to lampoon other overhead games (including Smash TV). The same thing happens late in the game when we're presented with a Rad Racer parody. The fact that this section is compatible with your old school red and blue 3D glasses may have been enough for some people, but Retro City Rampage goes the extra step by tossing in references to Super Mario Kart, OutRun, SpyHunter and many other classic racers.

Like any comedy, not all of the jokes hit their target. There's a parody of an infamous Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles stage that doesn't go far enough. Other times it felt like I was left hanging as I waited for a punchline. Thankfully most of the humor works, and even when it doesn't, the absurdity of the story and situations should be enough to keep you going through all 62 stages.
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