As with Slam Bolt Scrappers, Retro City Rampage was one of the games I saw at Penny Arcade Expo last week during my "lightning round". In PAX's final hour, I raced to get to more games. Hark! An exclusive!
Game developer Brian Provinciano pretty much had his finger on the button of his Wii development kit, preparing to shut down for the show when I barked the magic "Kotaku" word at him. Soon he was playing through Retro City Rampage for me, showing me how the upcoming downloadable game (December targeted for WiiWare, who knows when for any other platforms) plays out like a love letter to old games.
No, this is not the original Grand Theft Auto, which a passer-by asked while Brian played. You do have an open world, cops and missions. But GTA didn't have a Yoshi-cycle. It didn't have a Zelda sword that knocks enemies back. It didn't have a boomerang. It didn't have gaming throwback weapon after gaming throwback weapon.
Retro City Rampage, you see, even has an in-game light gun that looks an awful lot like a Nintendo Entertainment System Zapper. It's a late-game unlock. And in the clip I shot - a clip showing, Provinciano told me, a world exclusive - we can see that when you shoot a guy with this in-game light gun, a white square flashes. Former NES owners will get the visual joke. That's what the zapper did to your TV screen every time you shot a target in Duck Hunt and other games.
The lightning hour didn't allow me to get any more time with Retro City Rampage - there was a princess in another demo station (more on that later) - but hopefully this quick video I shot gives you a taste. We'll have more on this old-school game when we get to play more of it.