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Last night I went to the monthly GameCityNights event in Nottingham. I just had to attend when I found out that Brian Provinciano's upcoming XBLA/WiiWare title Retro City Rampage would be playable, and that Brian himself would be coming to us live via video conference. More videogame/pop-culture references than you can shake a joystick at, plus appearances from Mr. Destructoid and Jonathan Holmes? Sold.



The Alpha build at GameCityNights featured two modes: the first few stages of Story Mode, and an Arcade Mode which gave you one minute of infinite life, all weapons, and infinte ammo, in which to rack up the most amount of points by causing as much carnage as possible. With so many ways to score points, this'll be great for pass-the-controller parties and XBLA leaderboard challenging. Will you zap everyone with the Ion Taser AS5? Burn them to a crisp with a flamethrower? Blow them to bits with a rocket launcher? Or just carjack the nearest vehicle and drive all over them?

Retro City Rampage's setting of Theftropolis is chock full of references to video games and pop culture, and ridiculous puns. People drive motorbikes that look like Yoshi. There are shops such as "Sixbucks Coffee", "Phlesh Prints", "WonderHats", and "Epic Falafel". You can play Super Mario Bros. 3-style gambling games at the Spades to Steal Casino. "LOAD,8,1" is graffitied on a wall. It's just as fun to spot and name all the references as it is to play Retro City Rampage itself.



And then there's Story Mode. The events and missions here reference pop culture even more directly. The player character, Player, gets a job as henchman for notorious criminal The Jester. As they escape with their loot from the police, Player must use Speed Shoes "from the green hills" to crosss a road full of fast-moving traffic. He suddenly gets intercepted by The T Squad. He travels in time to 20XX, and is met by Doc Choc ("GOOD GOSH!"), who needs Player to get a Flux Combobulator, in a mission that involves hiding in a truck, a Bioni-Cop, and escaping through a giant half-pipe. The final mission in the demo was an Impossible Mission-inspired mission involving the retrival of codes for The great Gamedini, an "unlicensed" Master of Codes who suffers from "meatboyism". I just hope that Dave Rapoza plays Retro City Rampage when it releases...



And of course, thereís the excellent soundtrack, featuring music from virt (Shantae, Mighty Flip Champs), Freaky DNA (NBA Jam), and Norrin Radd. It totally rocks, and is set to be one of the best soundtracks of the year.

Retro City Rampage Soundtrack Demo Mixtape from Vblank on Vimeo.



During his video conference with GameCityNights, Brian Provinciano said that he has no firm release date yet, but is hoping that the XBLA version will release near the end of Summer, with the WiiWare release a couple of months after that. It sounds like Retro City Rampage would make the perfect end to Summer of Arcade 2011. My verdict from the preview: save $15-worth of Green Coins for it.