Not only does the Dead Island Definitive Edition include the original game and Dead Island Riptide, it also bundles in a very different game called Dead Island Retro Revenge. You can purchase Dead Island and Riptide separately but you only receive Retro Revenge if you buy the bundle. The game is developed by Empty Clip and is published once again by Deep Silver. Dead Island Retro Revenge is a very different experience from the previous two as it’s a 16bit side scrolling beat ’em up style arcade game.
With an 80’s style and wacky premise the game is a lot more fun than I was expecting. Your cat is kidnapped and you must fight through hordes of zombies that roam the streets in order to get back your beloved cat. It’s certainly a weird premise, which I enjoyed and once again the developer knows what kind of game its trying to go for, with fun gameplay and tongue in cheek humour.
The main character must fight many zombies during his search and they come in various sizes and types. You even come across zombie dogs and human enemies which keeps the gameplay interesting and fresh throughout. As you progress though stages you can collect power-ups, weapons and other attacks to blast and smash your way through waves of horrific zombies. I haven’t played a classic side scrolling beat ‘em up in quite some time and have to say that I enjoyed the simple story and addictive gameplay. The game certainly doesn’t bring as much content as the two other games in the package but it’s a nice addition.
As I said the zombies come in different forms, whether its faster moving enemies or explosive zombies, they mix the gameplay up and keep you on your toes. There are 3 acts to complete and plays as a mix of beat ‘em up and endless runner elements. You can check the meter in the corner of the screen to see just how far you have made it through each section. You’re able to take a fair amount of damage before you die but the game does start to get incredibly challenging later on, with multiple wave of more powerful enemies. You can pick up health packs during stages which become more crucial as things become trickier later on.
The gameplay has some interesting elements and mechanics that have some parallels to the other games in the franchise. The idea is to find the best route through the multiple enemies whilst taking down some of them in the process. You will find its nearly impossible to avoid enemies altogether and you will need to face some during each stage. The stage is divided up into three vertical lanes that you can switch between as you move from left to right across the screen.
I really liked the controls and found them fairly easy to use once I had put a bit of practice in. When things start getting more troublesome and you have more to contend with then the game does start to ramp up in difficultly and you will need to start improving your reaction and timing to be successful. If you do start to get a grip of how the game plays and the controls, then chaining together strings of combos can feel very satisfying. It’s important to note that if you die you have to restart the stage from the beginning. This can get incredibly frustrating at times but it does add to the overall challenge.
When taking on enemies there are various attacks that you can use, and playing with the DualShock controller it felt very natural. The X, triangle, square and circle button each perform a different attack move. X is used for a slide attack, square attacks from behind, circle is forward punch and the triangle button performs a stylish uppercut attack. This is where the combat becomes more complicated as different enemies are more vulnerable to different attacks. You have to not only time your attacks well but also make sure that you string the correct attacks for each enemy type.
Now this all might sound fairly straight forward but you also have the ability to have one magical power and a super weapon. These can include things like lightning and fire for the magic and lawn mowers and a crossbow for the weapons. These are hugely beneficial and very powerful but can only be used once per stage and therefore its best to use when you find yourself overwhelmed. The power weapons are very helpful in clearing everything in front of you.
The overall presentation of Dead Island Retro Revenge is great and is very different in style to the other two games in the bundle. I loved the over the top gameplay, classic pixel art style and ridiculous plot. The gore is still here in bucket loads, but manages to keep a lighthearted and humorous tone. The sound design is great and I especially enjoyed the music used throughout.
Overall Dead Island Retro Revenge is an awesome addition to the franchise and I enjoyed spending some time playing through the challenging stages. It’s certainly not as deep and diverse as the main games but it offers a something a bit different. The endless runner, lane changing mechanic works really well and it does feel like a classic arcade game at times. The abilities and weapons is what makes the game so fun and it does a good job of making you want to try just one more run. It gets a little repetitive but I would certainly recommend giving it a chance as I enjoyed my time with it and it acts as a nice change of pace from the other games in the package.
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