(PS3 / PlayStation 3)

Retro City Rampage (PS3 / PlayStation 3)

Game Review

Retro City Rampage Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Nathan Michalik

Copy right

In a generation where just about every game has some kind of serious story with complex characters, Retro City Rampage does a complete 180 and focuses on plain and simple goofy fun. The 8-bit styled game resembles the original Grand Theft Auto at first, but if you dig a little deeper, you’ll also find it pays homage to a handful of retro classics and popular modern indie games.

The story mode relays a time travelling narrative with events closely resembling both Back to the Future and Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. It can be a little bit over the top at times, but it provides an interesting set of goals for players who might not care for the open-world style of gameplay. Most missions boast fetch and deliver mechanics, but often include aspects of other games like the original Metal Gear and Paperboy. These variations are frequent and keep the gameplay fresh.

For individuals who’d rather just explore the city doing side missions and challenges, there’s also free-roam. Here you can spend time driving around the city, or searching for special areas and secret items. The variety of weapons and power-ups throughout the game is both impressive and entertaining. From golf clubs to rocket launchers, the weapons are as satisfying as they are destructive. Special power-ups like a set of boots allow you to sprint at high speeds through the streets, ploughing through people and scooping up huge combo multiplier points. Other than weapons, there are a multitude of unlockable characters, hair styles, and head designs to collect.

From mini-game clones of Bit.Trip Runner to re-created versions of Pole Position with aspects of Meat Boy, there’s plenty to do even after the story is finished. Scattered around the city are also a multitude of challenge modes with different ranks to achieve, as well as online leaderboards. Most objectives involve using a single weapon or power-up similar to the Rampage challenges in Grand Theft Auto, and are often fairly difficult if you want to achieve the gold rank.

As one of the cross-buy promoted titles, purchasing for either PS3 or Vita unlocks the game for both platforms. Each of the releases deliver the exact same gameplay experience with identical controls. There aren't any touch screen, rear touch-pad, or motion controls in this game, but quite frankly, that’s a good thing. A cross-save feature is also included, making it easy to switch between the two different platforms.

The 8-bit visuals are complemented by a huge selection of chiptunes and sound effects. While driving around, your car radio can tune into a number different 'stations' with varying styles. The catchy songs really add to the nostalgic theme and never get old.

Another awesome feature is the TV Simulation mode. This allows you to recreate the visual aspects of many different displays from the past, including arcade cabinets and the original GameBoy. Also, to add to the effect, the colour palettes and text can be changed to further mimic the various throwback presentation styles.


Even if you managed to play the entirety of Retro City Rampage without understanding a single reference, you’ll still find plenty to like about the game. However, if you’ve grown up playing video games and watching cult movies, your enjoyment will be amplified. This is a difficult type of title to pull off, but Vblank Entertainment’s debut is the perfect parody.

Game Trailer

User Comments (16)



irken004 said:

Based on other reviews, it seems to be a love it or hate it kinda thing. At least Wiiware owners get in on this too. But I just got inFAMOUS FoB and Odin Sphere sooo won't get this anytime soon.



Samholy said:

interesting for a future buy, but not right now. already got a couple of titles to finish.

what ive heard from a friend is that yeah its good, but all the minigames ressembling to original retro games dont control like the original, and it detracts from the nostalgia feeling.
again, he is a purist
still gotta keep that in mind.



SpaceKappa said:

I've really gotta check this out! I love the idea of different graphical filters to make it look like it's playing on different retro setups.



CanisWolfred said:

I want this game, but like others, I have too much to play right now. It's definitely high on my to-get list, though.



Azikira said:

I got this game the day it came out, and it is amazing. The amount of references is incredible, the first mission including 4+ in itself. Plus the gameplay is very solid and works well. A definite must buy for fans of GTA or those looking for a good, instantly nostalgic game



Gamer83 said:

I love the game and all the references to stuff I grew up with as a kid. It's not without its flaws and some of the levels like ones inspired by TMNT 1 for NES are beyond annoying but for the most part the game hits all the right notes. Definitely worth the $15 if you grew up in the 80s and still enjoy 8-bit games and old school GTA.



Knux said:

This game sounds awesome! I'll download this for my Vita the next time I'm online with it!



CanisWolfred said:

I played the demo and so far I agree with this assessment. Most parody games suck, but this seriously managed to pull it all off wonderfully so far. It's not quite perfect, but and I'll admit that I haven't laughed out loud to any of the jokes yet, but it's damn fun to play, and to be honest, it takes a lot to get me to LOL irl.



Stuffgamer1 said:

I can't believe the review failed to mention it, but this game gets HARD towards the end! Like as in frustratingly, controller-hurling, make-you-cry level hard. People need to be warned of this.

It IS beatable, however...I got 100% in less than a week, but it took quite a lot of effort. Definitely has its fun parts, especially earlier on where the difficulty is lower and you can more easily concentrate on the references.



NathanUC said:

@Stuffgamer1 I didn't particularly think it's that difficult of a title. Some of the later levels required a bit of planning rather than the guns'a blazin technique. Games of the past that this game is trying to simulate were often notoriously difficult so it seems about right to me!



DRL said:

I'm having an absolute blast playing this game. Anyone who grew up in the 8-bit era owes it to themselves to check this one out.



odd69 said:

I got this day one, will buy it on wiiware also. Im having a blast with this, borderlands 2 and doom 3. I had to get this, been following its progress for a couple of years and it was worth the wait



Zach said:

I bought this game yesterday and I sure wish I agreed that it deserves a 9/10. The parodies are so obvious, it's like they threw everything at it to see what would stick without any care for smarts or subtlety. And the automated parts are so lengthy. I'm going to keep playing because $15 is no small potatoes to me, and thanks for the review... I hope I end up agreeing with it after I'm through more than I do now.

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