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Retro City Rampage

Retro City Rampage photo
Retro City Rampage

See how Retro City Rampage got slimmed down to 8-bit


Did you know: Brian Provinciano has some killer biceps
Feb 27
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Long before Retro City Rampage, developer Brian Provinciano was working on Grand Theftendo, essentially a demake of Grand Theft Auto III. Brian even created his own original Nintendo development kit to make this happen! He w...
Retro City Rampage photo
Retro City Rampage

Retro City Rampage sold way more on PSN than Steam, XBLA


"Indies should definitely jump onto the PS Vita"
Feb 27
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Brian Provinciano, the creative mind behind the wonderful Retro City Rampage, took to Twitter recently and shared how the game has fared on PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade, and Steam. The clear winner is easily PSN, as ...
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Steam version will also receive prototype via update
Retro City Rampage for WiiWare missed its January release window, but creator Brian Provinciano has set his foot down and stated that the game will finally arrive next week on February 28. RCR's entire development history has...

Retro City Rampage photo
Retro City Rampage

Developer releases full Retro City Rampage map


Plus a bonus coloring contest
Feb 01
// Chris Carter
Vblank Entertainment has released the full map for Retro City Rampage in image form -- spoiler alert -- it's huge! But the world map wasn't the only thing that was released however, as the entirety of the game is pretty much ...
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The DTOID Show: The Walking Dead, Bioshock & Evil Patents


Man, I forgot we even had a show.
Jan 04
// Max Scoville
Happy New Year! We're back, and boy did we miss you! We have a lot of news today, starting with that semi-legit fan-trailer of The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct that probably made it look a lot worse that it'll actually be....
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Retro City Rampage out now on Xbox Live Arcade


Go explore this love letter to videogames
Jan 02
// Jordan Devore
After a sizable wait, Retro City Rampage has made its Xbox Live Arcade debut. While this will be neither the first nor last version of the game, it is nice to know that it costs 800 Microsoft Points ($10) instead of launching...
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Find that shoe!
Retro City Rampage was one of the most interesting releases of 2012. Written and designed largely by one man, the game was in development for years, leaving hungry fans to lay in wait. Xbox 360 and Wii owners may still b...

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Benefits from an extra month of fine-tuning
Retro City Rampage will be flying onto WiiWare some time in January, but the XBLA version has a much more definite launch date. Direct from creator Brian Provinciano himself, you will be able to download the XBLA port of the ...

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Retro City Rampage set to drop in January on WiiWare


Finally!
Dec 24
// Chris Carter
Ever since Retro City Rampage hit pretty much everything other than WiiWare (and XBLA), fans have been waiting patiently for any sort of Wii release date news. Finally, we now have a soft release window of "January 2013," whi...

Review: Retro City Rampage

Oct 31 // Tony Ponce
Retro City Rampage (PC [reviewed], PlayStation Network, PlayStation Vita, WiiWare, Xbox Live Arcade)Developer: Vblank EntertainmentPublisher: Vblank EntertainmentRelease: October 9, 2012 (PC, PSN, Vita) / Q4 2012 (WiiWare, XBLA)MSRP: $14.99 (PC, PSN, Vita) / TBA (WiiWare, XBLA) Retro City Rampage has had quite the colorful history. Originally conceived as the NES homebrew project Grand Theftendo, Brian decided to shift development to PC in order to escape the NES' limitations. From then on, the game started to gain an identity of its own. RCR may be an open-world sandbox, but a GTA clone it is not. It is a melting pot of ideas and inspiration, a conglomerate of cameos and pop culture references that are woven into the fabric so seamlessly that it feels like they truly belong together. It's Brian's own Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and the in-game world of Theftropolis is his Toontown. So rich is the city with heartfelt nods to cherished icons of yesteryear that you can't even go 30 seconds without being slammed by a parade of nostalgia. As you cruise the streets, you may notice the Ninja Turtles' Party Wagon or the A-Team's van driving by. Environments and objects straight out of Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Sonic the Hedgehog, and more dot the landscape. There's even a boxing gym operated by a man who is totally a dead ringer for Doc Louis from Punch-Out!! [embed]237235:45596[/embed] A lot of these references are window dressing, so it might be easy to pass RCR off as lacking substance. That couldn't be further from the truth. The biggest references of all are built into the missions themselves, straddling the line between parody and homage but always with love and attention to detail. In one mission, you break into the home of the very Batman-esque Biffman, don his costume, and patrol the streets in search of Biffman's nemesis the Jester. In another mission, you bust onto the set of a Saved by the Bell knockoff during a live taping, beat up the high school boys, then take the girl back to your place for some "iced tea." In yet another mission, you have to dive into the reservoir to deactivate bombs in a recreation of the infamous dam level from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on the NES. These are the kinds of adventures you'll embark upon during the main missions, but you might want to kill some time driving around the street, jacking cars, and mowing down pedestrians instead. The more carnage you create, the more your notoriety grows, attracting the attention of ever more aggressive cops and eventually the military. As with GTA, there's something morbidly cathartic about spreading wanton chaos and destruction -- even more so when the world is populated by pixelated, toy-like caricatures of beach bums, gymnasts, and mariachis. Like I metioned, there is an overarching story. You are a hired thug known only as "Player," who is hurtled through time after stealing Bill and Ted's phone booth in front of a convenience store. Stranded in the future, you are fortunate enough to bump into Doc Choc, who's willing to let you use his DeLorean time machine if you can help repair it. Thus, you must track down the missing pieces of the machine, following leads and taking odd jobs along the way. During your quest, you frequently cross paths with your former employer, A.T. Corp., which holds a monopoly on nearly every industry in Theftropolis, from the media to software development. The biggest thorn in your side is the company's lead scientist, Dr. Von Buttnik, who rides around in a wrecking ball-swinging pod like a certain blue speedster's nemesis. In a stroke of hilarious cleverness, Player's conflict with A.T. Corp. sidesteps all player agency concerns. Player claims to be disgusted by A.T. Corp.'s nefarious business practices, which would seem at odds with his penchant for city-wide mayhem. When asked about this contradiction directly, Player flatly states that the two behaviors are not mutually exclusive. By embracing such a contradiction, Retro City Rampage allows you to have your cake and eat it too! Beyond the core levels, you unlock sub-missions that task you with using a specific weapon or tool to destroy a number of pedestrians or cars or to earn a certain amount of points within a time limit. You are then rated on your performance with a bronze, silver, or gold medal, and your score is posted onto the leaderboards. While scoring is typically very straightforward -- link kills together for a streak bonus -- I had serious issues in sub-missions involving handheld explosives like grenades or dynamite. Destroying people or vehicles with these items yields very few points, so the trick is to cause a chain reaction by using the explosion of one vehicle to destroy nearby ones. For some odd reason, this doesn't always result in a substantial amount of points. Maybe I've yet to discover exactly what triggers scoring chains when it comes to explosives, but I find them to be very random, making these some of the most difficult portions of the entire game. Then there are the guest mini-games, starring Commander Video from the BIT.TRIP series, Meat Boy, and even Harley Morenstein and Muscles Glasses from Epic Meal Time. Commander Video's game is an abridged version of BIT.TRIP RUNNER, Meat Boy's takes its cues from Rad Racer (use 3D glasses for stereoscopic mode!), and the EMT crew's closely resembles "Test Your Might" from Mortal Kombat. Clearing these games unlocks the characters' likenesses in either Free Roaming Mode or in the plastic surgery office alongside the Dtoid crew's mugs. The EMT game is not all that hard, but the BIT.TRIP and Meat Boy ones may make you want to smack your head against a wall. They start easily enough, but the challenge quickly ramps up. Particularly in BIT.TRIP, I was having extreme difficulty bouncing off alligator heads using the Xbox 360 controller. When I switched to the keyboard instead, jumping became far more responsive. That may have simply been a mechanical problem with my controller, but as I didn't have any similar issues elsewhere, I'm left to wonder. Customization is another major feature of RCR. You can change the border around the game screen to look like various monitors or arcade cabinets, add CRT scanlines, or apply color filters to simulate the look of old console, handheld, or computer software. If you want to pretend you are playing on an old VGA monitor, you can! If you want to recreate the feeling of squinting at the Game Boy's tiny spinach-colored square, that's possible too! Whatever tickles your nostalgia bone, there's an option available to satisfy your desires. Options extend to play style as well. By pressing and holding the fire button, you will lock onto the nearest target in your line of sight, but you can also use the right stick on a controller to enable twin-stick shooting, Smash TV style. You can dispatch enemies either by shooting them, bashing them, or running over them. n addition, you can pull a Mario and jump on their heads, a quick means to escape a tight squeeze when you are besieged on all sides. There's even a basic cover system for fans of Gears of War because... hell... why not? I haven't even touched upon the amazing chiptune soundtrack, composed by notable game composers Leonard "Freaky DNA" Paul (Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2, NBA Jam 2010) and Jake "virt" Kaufman (Shantae, Double Dragon Neon) as well as game music arranger extraordinaire Matt "Norrin_Radd" Creamer. Their tunes can be heard on the various radio stations while cruising through Theftropolis, the pulse-pounding bass and melodies giving voice to RCR's marriage of anarchy and candy-coated nostalgia. Unfortunately, the on-screen action at any time can be so overwhelming that it drowns out the music. At its worst, the soundtrack sounds like chaotic noise, hardly the catchy rhythms we associate with 8-bit gaming. That isn't so much the soundtrack's fault as it is the sheer concentration of activity that fills every second of play time, but it's nonetheless disappointing. It's this chaos that serves as both RCR's greatest triumph and biggest failing. To go anywhere and do anything, to never go a minute without being bombarded by visual and aural stimulation -- that all sounds good on paper; in practice, it often comes off as distracting. It's a jumble of events that fly past so quickly that your sense of focus will fall apart if you aren't completely devoted. But that was always going to be a problem, considering the ambitious decade-long journey Brian embarked upon. He wanted this to be his magnum opus, a love letter to everything that ever influenced him or made him smile. At the very least, the game never feels bloated or drawn out -- if you only attempt the main story missions, you'll be done in a matter of hours. However, if you want to lose yourself in the city or embark upon an Easter egg quest, the size and scope make for the perfect playground. Will there be people who don't like Retro City Rampage? Of course. In many ways, it bites off more than it can chew, especially when it comes to some of the one-time gimmick missions. Regardless, it is an ambitious achievement that celebrates everything that gaming has been and ever will be. It's clever, funny, outrageous, and even a bit frustrating, but there is a genuine respect for both the players and the sources of all the referenced material. I've barely scratched the surface of what secrets and activities are in store, but I'll leave the rest to you to discover on your own.
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Grand Theftendo
[Full Disclosure: Not only do current and former Destructoid staff appear as unlockable character skins in the game, there's also a main story mission during which you go inside a giant Mr. Destructoid robot. For these reaso...

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Brian's back and about to attack
[Destructoid's Director of Communications Hamza Aziz asked Jonathan Holmes to make a show called 'Sup, Holmes?' so that Destructoid could later sell a t-shirt that says 'Sup, Holmes?' on it. This is that show. Subscribe...

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Retro City Rampage soundtrack gets limited CD release


Because you wanted it in every format possible
Oct 11
// Jayson Napolitano
Retro City Rampage is finally here, and many of you are probably enjoying the 8-bit soundtrack provided by virt, Norrin Radd, and Freaky DNA. The game had been in the works for a long time, and that's why it was all the ...
Dtoid staff in a game?! photo
Dtoid staff in a game?!

How to unlock Destructoid staff in Retro City Rampage


Look, mom!
Oct 09
// Conrad Zimmerman
So, by now, you've obviously bought and downloaded Retro City Rampage (or are desperately waiting for it to arrive on your platform) because I made it pretty clear a couple of hours ago that this was a thing you were go...
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Retro City Rampage is out today, watch the launch trailer


Oct 09
// Conrad Zimmerman
It's finally here! It seems like I've been writing about Retro City Rampage for as long as I've been writing about games, but the day of sweet release has finally arrived and you can pick up the game right now on PC (through Steam and GOG.com), PS3 and PS Vita. While you're waiting for your download to complete (you did go and start that, right?), enjoy the game's launch trailer seen above.
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The DTOID Show: SimCity, Retro City Rampage & Angry Birds


Plus: They still haven't finished that Unfinished Swan.
Oct 05
// Max Scoville
We weren't live today, but that's okay. We still love you. To prove it, here's some news about Sim City, Retro City Rampage, Angry Birds, and of course... The Unfinished Swan. So, different types of cities, and different types of birds. VIDEO GAMES.
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The 10-year wait is over
Retro City Rampage. October 9, 2012. PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, PC. You read that correctly. Brian Provinciano's NES-style Grand Theft Auto parody has been cooking for just over a decade, and when it missed its proposed...

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Donkey Kong inspired ride monkeys into Retro City Rampage


Aug 26
// Jonathan Holmes
In the time since the first time I played Retro City Rampage I've co-hosted a show with newcomer Tara Long, created an animated talk show, talked to women about videogames, created Sup, Holmes?, and been the subject of m...
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Retro City Rampage supports FREE PS3/Vita cross-play


Jun 29
// Jim Sterling
Retro City Rampage will support cross-play between the PS3 and PlayStation Vita versions, which is certainly neat. Even neater, however, is the fact that when you buy it on one platform, you'll get it on the other. One paymen...
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E3: Retro City Rampage in my hands! My dreams came true!


Jun 09
// Tony Ponce
The final game I checked out at E3 was the PS Vita port of Retro City Rampage, the title I was most looking forward to playing. With the copious amounts of hands-on previews and the frustration of its seemingly endless develo...
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Meat Boy goes stereoscopic in Retro City Rampage


May 31
// Tony Ponce
Today is May 31... HEY! Wasn't Retro City Rampage supposed to come out this month? Briiiiiiaaaaaan! You've got some 'splainin' to doooooooooooo! In all seriousness, the game is finished and running through a final bug check....
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GOG.com set to release Tomb Raider and Retro City Rampage


May 30
// Alasdair Duncan
A few months ago, GOG.com revealed that they would continue to re-release classic PC games on their service whilst also releasing brand new games through their service. At their Summer conference today, we got to know the nex...
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Here's what Retro City Rampage looks like on the Vita


May 21
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Retro City Rampage's mastermind Brian Provinciano sat down with the PlayStation.Blog to show off his baby running on the PlayStation Vita. Brian details some of the Vita features, from the optimized visuals for the handheld ...

Interview: The music of Retro City Rampage

Apr 27 // Jayson Napolitano
Favorite NES soundtrackNaturally, the soundtracks I heard as a kid will rank among my favourites, but there are hundreds of NES soundtracks I have heard only after becoming an adult (thanks to archives of NSF files) that have become favourites for entirely different reasons, not associated with nostalgia. Do I pick based on nostalgia, or do I pick based on the most technically amazing, or do I pick the uber cool obscure game so I look all hardcore...As bland and obvious (to NES aficionados) as this answer is, I would probably have to say that the soundtrack for Mega Man 3 is my favourite NES soundtrack, and had the largest impact on me as both a child, and an adult. When I was 9 years old or so, I found out you could plug headphones into a microphone jack on a ghetto blaster and they would actually record sound (I must have seen this on Mr. Wizard, or 3 2 1 Contact or something). The first thing I thought to do with this newfound knowledge was to turn on Mega Man 3, start up my favourite stages, and hold the headphone\mic up to the TV speaker so I could record the music by itself (turning the TV volume down for fade outs). Before long, I had an entire tape full of music from Mega Man 3, including the Wily stages later in the game, meaning I had to play the game to get to those levels. As I recall, I played this tape so loud in my downstairs bedroom that my parents actually yelled at me from upstairs to turn it down. To my knowledge, this is the first time in my life I had ever "listened to music."As an adult, and especially as a chiptune artist, my appreciation for Mega Man 3 goes well beyond simple nostalgia too. Mega Man 3 is a non-stop barrage of tricks and techniques that fill out the soundtrack and give the entire thing this razor sharp sheen. It’s possibly the most tell written and technically amazing NES soundtrack. Unfortunately, it's a very hard game to remain objective about. For me though, it's the total package.Honourable mentions would have to go to: Rollergames, Super Dodgeball, Zelda 2, Ninja Gaiden, Castlevania II: Simon's Quest, Double Dragon 2, Double Dragon 3 and Contra.I love the Shatterhand soundtrack. I don't remember how I came across it but I remember listening to it on my lunch breaks for an entire summer a few years ago when I was first seriously getting into composing chiptunes. It strikes that rare balance of technical dexterity that keeps the songs fresh every time they loop but also have great melodies that aren't annoying with repeated plays. I never had an NES as a kid but had a C-64 so most of my memories are built around the Commodore sound. A close second is Super Mario Bros. which has a great sunny calypso feel to it. The Metroid title track is one of my favourite NES tracks as it is a great overture for the game and has a strong dark vibe that really went against the grain of the songs of the time.Overall, it's a toss-up between Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3: The Manhattan Project, and Maniac Mansion. TMNT3 is pure perfection; it flawlessly captures the insane melange of late-80s leather-pantsed, 8000 watt, hard rockin' power-pop that was Konami's sound. Maniac Mansion, on the other hand, is raw, crude, uses a crappy American music driver with dumb-sounding instrumentation, no dynamic control, and abysmal timing (due probably to hasty midi conversions), and... is insanely brilliant and witty and funny and well-written and memorable. Its personality shines through the mediocre sound engine. More than maybe any soundtrack I know of, this is the "holy grail" of OCR-style arrangement for me, and some day I will attempt it. Classic NES character you’d be the best parody of if teleported into the world of Retro City RampageSam from Super Dodgeball! I play real life dodgeball in the Vancouver Dodgeball League three times a week, and I've even given names to some of my secret "special" throws, haha. Slap a green jersey on me and I'd be a dead ringer for Sam.Ha! Leonardo. TMNT was never a game that I played but I watched the original animated series back as a kid - nothing cooler than ninjas back in those days...!A fat, Jewish Golgo 13.(turns around)…Either that or the sub-boss from Double Dragon 2 Mission 1 with the creepy double disintegrating death animation. That guy's rad. I like his mask.Superpower you’d pick from any classic NES franchiseThe Spinwheel/"Jump-N-Slash" move from Ninja Gaiden, without question. That way I could roll around and smoke any boss with one hit. And it only takes five ninja points!I'd definitely want the mushroom power from Super Mario! I like the star power as well since the music change is really cool too but the mushrooms are much more useful overall. I even wrote a reggae-style song for it called "Toadstool Om Nom." If only toadstools where like this in real life… hmm…[embed]226249:43459[/embed]Probably Kirby. When you think about it, he's really the Rogue (X-Men) of Nintendo games, he can absorb any other power he wants. Except Kirby's more my style, because he is large, pink, and loves to swallow.Favorite track you wrote for the game (with lots of detail!)Two tracks. The two that took the longest to finish!The first is the track "Cyborg Mission II" (from the pre-order bonus tracks).Originally, [Brian Provinciano] wanted to use a lot of my older tracks as casual music you could hear on the radio when you are driving around the world map. Some of the tracks date back quite a ways to my first chiptune album (Melodia di Infinita). When I wrote those songs, the idea of ever having my chiptunes in a game was a pipe dream. There were no real retro throwback games, and mobile devices weren't yet used for gaming. I wrote them as a hobby, and I was (in my opinion) pretty bad at it from a technical standpoint. I've had years and years to listen to these old songs, and more and more I found little things I wished I could change. It had become so bad that I couldn't even listen to my old stuff. A couple of these songs, Brian was interested in using for the game! This was kind of a chance for redemption, because I was able to go back in to my original .IT files [Editor’s Note: .IT is a file format native to Impulse Tracker, a DOS-based software used to write music] and fix them up. It took quite a while, but I was actually able to make peace with every single "classic" track Brian wanted to use... Except one. The original "Cyborg Mission."Brian, however, seemed to enjoy the original quite a lot, and even featured it in a cut scene for one of the demo builds he'd sent me. I knew that this track had to be fixed, no matter what. I struggled and struggled with my original file, trying to make it sound up to par, but my methods back then were just too crusty. In the original .IT file, I must have used drum samples from 6 or more NES games, and my drum fills were just a machine gun firing out all of them all over the place. There were also little melodic bits that trailed off and didn't connect anywhere (transitions are so important). It seemed like a lost cause, so, I just decided it was time to rewrite the entire song anew, using my modern templates and techniques. Instead of just recreating the song though, I went somewhere totally new with it, and it came out very epic. I look at it as a triumph over my old careless ways, and I can finally put the original Cyborg Mission to rest. Though, I still have online friends that tell me they prefer the original. Psssht, fanboys.The second is the track "Smut Peddler."[embed]226249:43460[/embed]This all started out so simple... In November of 2010, Brian asked me if I could write a parody track for a mission in the game that would resemble the classic Paper Boy. The original Paper Boy only had one extremely simple song that played during every second of gameplay. One simple song that will forever haunt my dreams.This was the first time I had ever been tasked with parodying a song in chiptune format. Up until this point, I had painstakingly worked at accurately recreating songs in NES format. But making something sound similar, without actually being the original is so much harder (virt makes it look and sound so easy). And since this was not just a project for fun, I learned I could potentially get Brian in some legal trouble. My first draft was a little too close to the original song for Brian's comfort. I basically, directly, referenced portions of the original song, then transitioned into my own unique sections, and back and forth. Brian really liked my sections, and asked me if I could just alter the pieces that referenced the original enough so that it would not be a legal issue, and this was what caused so much trouble. Altering the sections was definitely foreign territory for me, and I didn't really know what was allowed, or how much you needed to change it. Throughout the entire process I kept pestering virt through email, asking him if he thought I had changed it enough. But in the end, the portions of the original song just pervaded, and Brian was quite concerned. The real shame was, the parts that I wrote from scratch were some of Brian’s and my favourite music I had written for the game, and neither Brian or I wanted to see them go. But simply removing the portions that sounded too close to the original and leaving just my parts were not possible due to the way everything was transitioned together.In November of 2011, a year of 'here and there' revisions went by, still with no luck, and it came time to release the soundtrack for Retro City Rampage. “Smut Peddler” was a definite choice to be on the soundtrack, if only it could be finished. Eventually, I think it was Len (FreakyDNA) who came along and peppered my file with some of his own melodies and sent it back to me as a suggestion for how to proceed. I didn't end up using the suggestions, but it was this small collaborative effort that really sparked my creativity again for this track, and over the next couple days, I was able to belt out a finished version that was finally license free! It wasn't until I heard Freaky's ideas and a different perspective that I was finally able to pull myself out of the depths of hell and finish. For any other musicians out there who are simply stuck (both creatively, and systematically), if it is in your means, have a friend offer you some suggestions. It will kick your butt into shape.All said and done, I spent over 100 hours of my life on this song... now go back and listen to the original, hahaha. My nightmare.[embed]226249:43461[/embed]My favourite track for the game is "Bit Happy." I had a listen to the original game and thought I'd try to follow some of the existing song melodies but I ended up not taking anything from the original game at all. I basically just sat down and composed the core of the song in a few hours by figuring out some riffs that I really liked on the acoustic guitar while sitting in the sun at home. I transposed these riffs into OpenMPT and figured out how to arrange them for the NES sounds. Unlike a lot of my other chiptune songs, I really tried to keep the percussion really simple as having a lot of beats tends to make the song heavier and not as happy as I wanted it to be. It was really a good exercise in restraint for me to not add extra notes but to really focus on the transitions between segments of the song. There's a heavy little electro-beat breakdown that happens in the song that I'm really pleased with as I feel I was able to move in and out of this section in a way I hadn't tried before. Basically, this song makes me happy each time I hear it so I'm glad to have been able to include it on the vinyl.[embed]226249:43462[/embed]One of the songs I'm most happy with on the technical side is "Riff Down." It was one of the first songs I came up with for Retro City Rampage and was basically through figuring out an interesting riff on the acoustic guitar. I really enjoy all the breaks that are in there and feel that it has a great funky feel without getting too technically oriented. There're parts that I really have no idea how I came up with which really helps keep the song fresh. The way I worked on the songs for Retro City Ramapge is to come up with strong melodic bits on the guitar, translate them over to the tracker program and then repeatedly polish a group of songs over the course of the two years we spent developing the songs for the game. This song and other songs have basically received days of tweaks by me over the time of the project so it's always important to not get things too "tweaky" and to make the groove the king. I've basically only been doing chiptunes a couple years now and still really like this song so it has a special place in my heart when I'm listening to it.Overall:For those that don't know, making quality chiptunes is really a labour of love, a certain amount of talent and a massive amount of time. I'd say that I can produce conventional electronic music about ten times faster than working on a similar amount of chiptune music. It's really like making music through a microscope and the tricky part is making all the details come together but still have the big picture make sense so that the song conveys the right feeling. I've learned tons by working on Retro City Rampage and the problem is that I've kinda been bit by the chiptune bug so it's hard for me to listen to certain types of music now as I can almost see their notes streaming by in a tracker. I'm really lucky to have been able to work with [Matt “Norrin Radd” Creamer] and “Jake “virt” Kaufman] and hope that people can really enjoy the depth of emotion and detail that we've done our best to put into the songs of Retro City Rampage.[embed]226249:43463[/embed]"Not Nate." The title is, if you don't already know, a reference to the late great Nate Dogg. If you don't know who that is, stop reading this article immediately and go jump in front of a bus, because screw you. You might have noticed that I enjoy trying to imitate the sound and playing technique of various instruments, from guitars to er-hu, in my chip music. Well, the human singing voice is a hard thing to imitate with plain old pulse waves. Nobody can do it nearly as well as the NES legend Chibi-Tech, and I'm not even going to try for that level of articulation (do yourself a favor and track down her chip stuff, it will blow your RAM off) so my vocal-emulation niche is mostly Michael Jackson and various hip hop and soul artists. I have listened countless times to every track Mr. Dogg sang on, so you could say I am familiar with his buttery-smooth vocal stylings. I tried my best to make it sound like he's singing the lead melody, because to my knowledge, no one else had yet given him this dubious honor. May his soul be blessed. Smoke weed every day.As far as tools, since I was a wee lad, I've used an old DOS program called Impulse Tracker to make "sound-alike" NES music, but Retro City Rampage was my last time using it -- I've since moved fully to FamiTracker (famitracker.com) which, rather than being a general-purpose music program, is made specifically for authentic NES music which can play on the real hardware. It's free, and not that hard to learn. You reader dudes and broettes should all download it and mess around, make some Nintendo music! Assuming you didn't already jump in front of the bus from before.
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We've been talking a lot about Retro City Rampage and its soundtrack dating all the way back to 2010. The game's finally due out on nearly every platform in May, and after our favorable review of the soundtrack and a look at ...

Note Worthy 001: Kingdom Hearts 3D, Journey, and more

Apr 18 // Jayson Napolitano
Airu Love You / I'll Love You ~Monster Hunter Arrange à la carte ~Release Date: August 24, 2011Price: 2,625 Yen ($32)Availability: LimitedArtist(s): Zunba Kobayashi, Jun -setzer- Kadoma, Shoichiro Sakamoto, Takahiro Eguchi, Yousuke Yasui, Teruo Taniguchi Okay, this one’s downright strange. Released by several members of SuperSweep, and more specifically, a bunch of the guys who worked on the 3D Dot Game Heroes soundtrack, this release offers an eclectic array of remixes from the Monster Hunter series.The strange part comes in with the grating Japanese vocal tracks, one of which is about meat. There are also lots of cats meowing and growling throughout the entire album in addition to the packaging featuring images cats geared up to go on an adventure. The karaoke versions provided at least liberate the strong arrangements from the terrible vocals, but it’s not all bad. There are a few great vocal tracks to be found, including one that delves into bossa nova territory, although the retro 8-bit remix of “Testament of a Hero” from Monster Hunter 3, a bumpin’ FM synthesis take on “Day on Pokke Farm” from Monter Hunter Portable 2nd, and the hard-hitting electronic remix of “Jungle Glutton / Congalala” from Monster Hunter Portable 2nd G are my favorites. There are even some arrangements from the Poka Poka Airu Mura spin-off titles.In all, there’s some great stuff here. The problem is getting your hands on it. It’s sold through SuperSweep’s online shop in Japan, and may be worth checking out if you’re a hardcore fan of the series. Denpa Ningen no RPG Original SoundtrackRelease Date: March 28, 2012Price: 2,200 Yen ($26.50)Availability: iTunes JapanArtist(s): Basiscape (Hitoshi Sakimoto, Yoshimi Kudo, Kimihiro Abe, Azusa Chiba, Masaharu Iwata, Mitsuhiro Kaneda)This is certainly a quirky one. Basiscape is one of the top sound studios in Japan with founder Hitoshi Sakimoto (Final Fantasy Tactics, Final Fantasy XII, Valkyria Chronicles) at its helm and a number of talented composers under him who can emulate his style as well as make bold statements of their own. This release, for a Japanese 3DS title, features nearly an hour and a half of music with Sakimoto handling the main theme which sports funky bass, strange electric shock sound effects, and a bubbly melody that sets the tone for the rest of the album. Think of a blend between Earthbound and Paper Mario and that’s what you have here. It’s kind of in line with the team’s impressive score for Opoona, but unfortunately with a lot less emotion. Two tracks that did stand out for me were the incredibly abstract “Antenna Tower” with its pitch-bending synth lines and the super funky “Cave” with its hip-hop percussion and playfully spooky soundcape.This one probably isn’t for everyone as I didn’t find a whole lot to sink my teeth into. Given the hefty asking price for a digital release (it’s probably best that they went digital, but not at this price point), I can’t see myself recommending it. Still, fans of the Basiscape team or those looking for something ‘weird’ from Japan may want to check it out, even if that means purchasing “Cave” on its own.[embed]225854:43396[/embed] Journey Original SoundtrackRelease Date: April 10, 2012Price: $4.99Availability: iTunes / CD release TBAArtist(s): Austin WintoryAfter having an amazing experience playing through the game, I had to wait in anticipation all over again for the game’s soundtrack. We hosted a lovely feature with Austin Wintory about his work on Journey where he discussed the creation of several pieces as well as offered samples, but with the complete soundtrack in hand, I’m surprised there’s actually so much music here, totaling nearly an hour of music. And all of it sounds fantastic with live session artists and even a live orchestra.All the key elements are here for you to re-experience Journey all over again, but this time aurally. There’s the blistering wind of “The Call,” the playful “Threshold,” the vibrant “Road of Trials” (one of my personal favorites), the foreboding “Temptations” with its lovely harp work and the ominous “Descent” with its rumbling percussion. There are some more atmospheric pieces in between before a powerful trio closes out the album with the desperate “Nadir” that accompanies a key moment in the game, the jubilant and dreamy “Apotheosis,” and the emotionally charged ending vocal theme, “I was Born for This.”Even when you’re out on the go, you can experience the magic of Journey any time with this soundtrack. Even those who didn’t play the game should appreciate Austin Wintory’s majestic score, and it obviously comes just as highly recommended as the game itself.[embed]225854:43397[/embed]Kingdom Hearts 3D Dream Drop Distance Original SoundtrackRelease Date: April 18, 2012Price: 3,800 Yen ($47 USD)Availability: CD Japan / Play-AsiaArtist(s): Yoko Shimomura, Tsuyoshi Sekito, Takeharu IshimotoI’ve never been a huge fan of Kingdom Hearts titles or their soundtracks. I always found them to be overly upbeat to the point of being cheesy, but that all changed with Birth by Sleep, which took a much more mature approach in the music department. Kingdom Hearts 3D Dream Drop Distance follows suit coming as light-hearted but not cheesy,and changes things up a bit by adding a lot of electronic sounds to the heavily orchestral palette of the series.Series composer Yoko Shimomura handles the majority of the score, starting with the popular series main theme, “Dearly Beloved,” which gets a sweet waltz arrangement. She provides an eclectic mix of tracks, but my favorites would be the angelic “The World of Dream Drops” with its bell tress, piano, and strings, the elegant yet desperate “La Chloche” with timpani and harpsichord, “All for One” with its classy melody, and “Distant From You...,” which comes as a beautiful and heartwrenching duet between strings and harp. “Deep Drop” also stands out with its dark electronic sound accented by organ.Square Enix’s Tsuyoshi Sekito and Takeharu Ishimoto also join the mix, with Sekito providing mostly epic orchestral cues with “Majestic Wings” and “Gigabyte Mantis” being my favorites. Ishimoto, on the other hand, provides several memorable moments with his electronic contributions that start with several remixes from The World Ends With You (the bumpin’ club version of “Calling” is my personal favorite) as well as several moody and textural electronic tracks, of which “Keyblade Cycle” stands out with its unsettling and glitchy soundscape. There are also several classical pieces by Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and others tucked away at the end of the album.There’s some great music here, and the packaging for this three-disc collection is delightful with glossy cardboard and some classy silhouettes on the discs themselves. Fans will want to definitely check out what’s new with the Kingdom Hearts series, while others may want to wait and play the game before deciding to drop close to $50 USD on this one.Manabu Namiki WORKS Vol.2 ~Thunder Dragon 2~Release Date: December 21, 2011Price: 2,625 Yen ($32)Availability: CD JapanArtist(s): Manabu NamikiFor those who don’t know, Manabu Namiki has become somewhat of a legend over the years for his soundtracks to many a shmup title from Cave, Zuntata, and more. He’s also a member of Basiscape. This album presents his soundtrack to the 1993 title, Thunder Dragon 2. While the album contains 17 tracks, several are ‘alternate versions’ of the same two themes that accompany you throughout all of the game’s seven stages.While “Fly to Live,” “Live to Fly,” and their variations are your standard energetic shmup tracks with an electronic backing and a jazzy vibe, the highlights are the two new arrangements: the super funky “Still Live to Fly” by Shinji Hosoe and the touching piano ballad, “Fly to Live -Love Theme-“ by Namiki himself. I also dig the epic final battle theme, “Marginal Attack” and the ridiculous “Voice Collection,” showing off some of the worst voice acting of all time.With so little music presented here when you remove the countless indistinguishable variations on the two stage themes, only hardcore fans of Manabu Namiki will probably find this worth the price.Piano Collections NieR Gestalt & ReplicantRelease Date: March 21, 2012Price: 2,800 Yen ($34)Availability: CD JapanArtist(s): Keigo Hoashi, Kumi Tanioka, Ryuichi Takada, Yuri Misumi This was easily my most anticipated release of 2012. The NieR soundtrack is one of my favorites of all time, but I wasn’t sure how this album would work without the haunting vocals of Emi Evans. I was impressed to find that the arrangements here retained their magic, but in a different way. The arrangements are pretty straightforward, with MoNACA (the game’s original composition team) handling most of the arrangements and performances and guest Kumi Tanioka (Final Fantasy XI, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles) performing three, which was a nice treat.In the end, the question as to whether or not these arrangements are ‘better’ than the original ones is kind of a pointless one. I don’t think they are better or worse, but rather, different. I’ll usually default to the original versions with Emi Evans, but I can’t discount the soothing and simply elegant arrangements here either. I definitely think it’s worth checking out on its own merits as well as to send a message to Square Enix that we want more NieR.The Music of Retro City RampageRelease Date: February 2, 2012Price: $7.99 CAD (Digital) / $43 CAD (Vinyl)Availability: BandcampArtist(s): Freaky DNA, Norrin Radd, virt[Update: You can pick up the vinyl for $39 CAD directly from Lotus Audio if you're interested]Retro City Rampage is attempting to be the ultimate expression of fanservice to those like me who consider the NES to be their first videogame love. The quirky humor and endless videogame references carry over into the soundtrack, and the team has once again done things right by releasing the soundtrack composed by three accomplished chiptune artists well before the release of the game to generate hype along with a limited editon vinyl release that is simply beautiful (and yes, the blue version I drooled over is almost sold out, and the green is completely gone).The soundtrack itself is a lot of fun, although somewhat short at just about 40 minutes in length. Fan-favorite virt gives us a gritty and irreverent opening theme as well as a few parody tracks that made me chuckle, including “Not Mega…” that sounds almost exactly like… well, that famous blue guy. He actually contributes the fewest number of tracks, followed by Freaky DNA who brings the funk with “Half Steppin’” and “Bit Happy,” two of my favorite tracks on album. Norrin Rad handles the largest number of tracks, lending a poppy sound with the catchy “Dance Off,” the spacey “Proton Decay,” and the giddy “Smut Peddler.”I can’t say that many of the melodies here stuck with me afterwards, but I imagine that will change after playing the game. I love what the team has done with the soundtrack and especially the fact that they’ve released It before the game’s release. Be sure to check it out.[embed]225854:43399[/embed]SONIC ADVENTURE Original Soundtrack 20th Anniversary EditionRelease Date: May 18, 2011Price: 2,400 Yen ($29) (physical) / $9.99 (digital)Availability: CD Japan / iTunesArtist(s): Jun Senoue, Kenichi Tokoi, Masaru Setsumaru, Fumie KumataniThis is an odd release that came out last year to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Sonic the Hedgehog. It’s odd in that it’s a single disc ‘best of’ collection, whereas the originally issued soundtrack contained two discs. Why they didn’t re-issue the full two-disc soundtrack, I don’t know, but it goes for hundreds of dollars on the used market these days, so with this release, you may as well take what you can get.And you’ll want to take it. Crush40 and Jun Senoue have been, in my opinion, destroying Sonic’s musical legacy for so long with all their cheesy vocal tracks that I’d forgotten just how good this soundtrack was. Senoue and Crush40 are here, but this is their first outing together, so they come off as more subdued. The few tracks that Crush40 is featured on are actually tasteful and catchy. As for the rest of the soundtrack, it’s some of the best that the Sonic series has to offer with incredibly melodies covering pop, rock, and electronic styles. I could list nearly every track on this collection as a favorite, so I’ll refrain and simply say “Windy Hill” from Windy City and “Egg Carrier - A Song That Keeps Us On The Move” are my jam.Fans of classic Sonic the Hedgehog music that missed out on the two-disc version will want to pick this up for sure.SONIC THE HEDGEHOG CD Original Soundtrack 20th Anniversary EditionRelease Date: November 23, 2011Price: 2,400 Yen ($29) (physical) / $9.99 (digital)Availability: CD Japan / Play-Asia / iTunesArtist(s): Masafumi Ogata, Naofumi HatayaFew soundtracks are as controversial as the Sonic CD soundtrack. The original soundtrack was composed by Sega composers in Japan and was featured intact in the Japanese and European releases of the game. Fans in North America were probably unaware, however, that Sega of America completely re-scored the game for the North America release. The original score was much more electronic in style, resembling past Sonic soundtracks, while the North American version got a more atmospheric slant. Why this was done, nobody knows, but it happened, and there wasn’t a proper release for the original Japanese/European soundtrack until now.What you have are the core stage themes with additional “good future,” “bad future,” and “boss” mixes. I have to say that while I like both versions of the soundtrack, I prefer the ones presented here with a fun, tropical “Palmtree Panic,” the sexy smooth jazz flavored “Tidal Tempest,” the upbeat fusion “Quartz Quandrant,” and the chugging electronic “Wacky Workbench” areas. The early 1990s-flavored hip-hop version of “Stardust Speedway” also made me chuckle. While this version resonates with me more, I do have to admit I like Nielsen’s “Sonic Boom” vocal theme better than the horrible hip-hop “You Can Do Anything” found here, and the inspirational rap ending theme, “Believe in Yourself” is just embarrassing. There are some bonus remixes found here as well, including renditions of “Sonic Boom” and “Stardust Speedway” featuring Jun Senoue, Crush40 and Cash Cash (an electronic group featured heavily on Sonic Generations). Fans of Naofumi Hataya (who also scored NiGHTS) should appreciate the track-by-track artist breakdown.Of all the 20th anniversary soundtrack releases, this one is most worth your attention as it’s not a simple re-issue, but a first-time release with bonuses. It’s worth checking out to get an alternate take on the game’s soundtrack for fans in North America who didn’t know any better. Valkyria Chronicles 3 Sound and Song CollectionRelease Date: May 11, 2011Price: 3,500 Yen ($42)Availability: CD Japan / Play-AsiaArtist(s): Hitoshi Sakimoto, Shiro Sagisu, Hikaru Nanase, Masato Nakayama, Katsuhiko Kurosu This is another one by Hitoshi Sakimoto. I love his Western-flavored Valkyria Chronicles soundtracks, and the soundtrack for Valkyria Chronicles 3 was particularly mature and moody after the more upbeat Valkyria Chronicles 2. I’m looking at this one so late after its release because it was initially released by Basiscape Records in February 2011. I was wondering what this re-issue was all about, and apparently it’s the same great soundtrack with the wonderful guitar arrangements featured on the Basiscape release swapped out for four licensed vocal themes used in the game and in the anime adaptation. These are rather standard Japanese pop and rock tracks, although JAM Project’s “Song of the Soldiers Chasing the Wind” from the game actually fits in with the score as a triumphant march with male choral-style singing, much to my surprise.I’d honestly recommend picking up the Basiscape Records version with its guitar arrangements over this one. They are incredibly well done, and with the exception of the aforementioned JAM Project track, the vocal themes here don’t have a whole lot of connection to the series. You can pick up the Basiscape Records version at CD Japan as well.[embed]225854:43423[/embed]
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Welcome to Note Worthy, a new feature we’re rolling out on Destructoid! If you’ve read anything I’ve contributed over the past year at Destructoid, you’ve probably noticed that it all pertains to game ...

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Retro City Rampage cereal is a download for your face


Apr 01
// Tony Ponce
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Is Nintendo's favorite ape coming to Retro City Rampage?


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[Destructoid's Director of Communications Hamza Aziz asked Jonathan Holmes to make a show called 'Sup Holmes?' so that Destructoid could later sell a t-shirt that says 'Sup Holmes?' on it. This is that show. Download the...
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Sup Holmes? Talking modern gaming with Brian Provinciano


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This weekend on Twitch TV: Tales from Retro City


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The DTOID Show: Borderlands 2, RCR, & toys! SO MANY TOYS!


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Retro City Rampage OST now on Bandcamp and limited vinyl


Feb 22
// Jayson Napolitano
Retro City Rampage is just a few short months away, and I for one have been looking forward to the game's 8-bit soundtrack composed by Jake "virt" Kaufman, Leonard "Freaky DNA" Paul, and Matt "Norrin Radd" Creamer. It looks a...

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