Retro-Bit has been doing some excellent work in the field of physical re-releases of classic video games, having already given us new versions of R-Type III, Holy Diver and Undercover Cops, as well as collections for the NES and SNES.
For its next trick, Retro-Bit is reviving one of the Mega Drive / Genesis' most beloved shmups, Gaiares – which was the first game to receive a 'perfect' set of scores from a reviewer in US magazine GamePro.
Developed in 1990 by Telenet Japan and published by Renovation in both Japan and North America, this horizontally-scrolling blaster has a unique gameplay hook in that you can 'steal' the weapons of enemies using the 'TOZ System' (which is a bit like R-Type's Force pod). 18 different weapon types are on offer, and the more times you use the TOZ against the same enemy, the more powerful the stolen weapon becomes.
Those of you old and crusty enough to recall the release of Gaiares in the west might recall the mulleted star of the game's promotional campaign, 'professional gamer' Jamie Bunker. Retro-Bit has enlisted Bunker to recreate the magazine advert he starred in back in 1990, which is a nice touch. The game will even include an interview with him. According to Sega Retro, Bunker joined Renovation in 1989 as a video game tester and now works as Staff Program Manager at Seagate Technology.
The new physical version of the game will include the following items:
- Translucent Tektite Cartridge
- Full-colored instruction manual
- Reversible cartridge Inlay sleeve
- Individually numbered certificate of authenticity
- Exclusive interview with James Bunker
- Embellished slipcover
- Free Commemorative T-Shirt
- Each sale will provide a donation to the Videogame History Foundation
According to Retro-Bit, there won't be a digital release of the game on modern systems, and there are no other plans for more reprints – so once it's gone, it's gone. As noted above, a donation from each sale will go to the Video Game History Foundation.
Retro-Bit has also confirmed that the cart will be compatible with North American and PAL consoles, as well as "most" third-party consoles that are able to run Genesis/Mega Drive cartridges. However, due to the shape of the cartridge, it won't fit in Japanese Mega Drive consoles.
Retro-Bit also states that the cart uses a 5-volt chip "to retain your console’s performance" and that its edge connector is bevelled "to allow for proper insertion without damaging the pins in the cartridge slot". This might seem like an odd thing to mention, but other re-releases – such as Gleylancer – came with unbevelled edges.
This article was originally published by nintendolife.com on Tue 16th November, 2021.
I already own the original, but this is really cool to see. I'm tempted by the t-shirt alone.
No digital? That’s a very self-interested move..
I'd be interested in a physical Switch release, sadly it seems there's little chance of that. On a side note, does anyone else think the top photo looks like Dreamcast Guy? It's almost as if they could be related.
Lots of retro shooter revivals lately...
But if it's more than $5-$7 digital, I'm out.
To be fair, this is a retro cartridge release by Retro-Bit, they don't release games for modern systems.
Although they do have retro-style controllers that are compatible with both original and modern systems.
Limited Run Games are only acting as a distributor here.
Still got my original copy, great game but the difficulty level could spike quite a bit. Glad it’s getting more work exposure.
Nice repro reprint for those who never got into the game. If you want to support retro reprint then this is the way to do it. Still I'm sure if you look very hard you could still find a cheap copy of this game in the wild (don't get it online though as they will scam you). I had seen this game go for around $5--$15 at garage sales from out of town.
I'd be impressed if he was still rocking that mull.
Great news that it will work with European Megadrives. Have heard lots about it but it was never released over here back in the day, nor since via the Wii shop or Megadrive Mini.
That ad is g-darn amazing!! So cool they got the original model.
Fantastic to see, own the original Japanese version. But very tempted for the collection:)
The man has aged well! You rock Jamie Bunker!
@RupeeClock well it’s still a privilege and in some cases a miracle to have licensed access to some of these old games. Because of that I’d say there is some onus to publish the games as widely and as fairly as possible to do justice for aged software properties
So, talking of shmups, does NintendoLife have any plans to cover this weeks big japanese releases, Eschatos and Illvelo Swamp?
I'm under the impression Damien, Goncalo Lopes, Kerry Brunskill and some of your other writers really love shmups, so i think import reviews for those 2 would be a great idea.
Still have the original US cart I got when Genesis games were dirt cheap.
But why wouldn't they make it compatible with Japanese consoles? It just requires putting a little hole in the right side of the cart. Other aftermarket releases have used that design (the western case with Japanese hole) to be internationally compatible.
I played Gaiares back in the days. Frankly, I didn't like it very much.
The 'TOZ System' was neat but the whole game just felt so slow and sluggish. Compared to other Genesis Shmups the Music wasn't very good either.
Seeing that Electronic Gaming Monthly in that pic really makes me miss my childhood. Gaming was so much more magical then and getting that magazine in the mail every month was like heaven.
If they put this on modern consoles with some bells and whistles like the recent Gleylancer and Gynoug releases I would buy it and they would make money from me.
As they only seem interested in shelf collectors who'll likely leave the game entombed in plastic, I guess I'll have to track the original down and add it to my Mega Drive Mini instead.
Mullet or no buy.
Also "Zz Badnusty" just....wow....Japanese localization was something else in the 80s....I forgot how bad it was.
You almost got my hopes up for a Switch port. Instead, it's just another crappy Sega article that doesn't belong here.
I remember my friend and I rented this game when it first came out. It seemed mind blowing at the time. Fortunately, we had an invincibility code because the game was HARD! Considering it was a one or two day rental, we would not have seen much of it in the time we had.
If I bought this re-release, I'd feel obligated to grow my mullet back. I did that about five years ago as a joke. I don't care what the cool hipsters say, I thought it looked cool.
Another great Genesis shooter! Blew my mind when it hit and I still have my mint complete copy. Would still love to see it hit the eshop and other consoles tho!
That marketing is freaking hilarious! What a fun, random throwback.
Come back when the game is available digitally, thanks.
"How do you like your eggs?" — "Unbevelled."
@WeltraumDreamer "Never heard of it, but since I'm a Gradius and R-Type fan, I will give it a try."
A while ago I searched the Internet for lists of the best Sega Genesis/Mega Drive games. They had to be ranked lists, at least 50 games long. I found 16 qualifying lists, assigned points based on rank and added it all up.
I ended up with 397 unique titles and 1,465 entries.
Gaiares ended up a Top 60 Sega Genesis/Mega Drive game. It finished just above Panorama Cotton which was another shmup recently released on the Switch.
@MontyCircus what were the top 10?
The Top 10 were:
1.) Streets of Rage 2 / Bare Knuckle 2
2.) Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles
3.) Sonic the Hedgehog 2
4.) Contra: Hard Corps
5.) Gunstar Heroes
6.) Sonic the Hedgehog
7.) Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium
8.) Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master
9.) Shining Force II
10.) Beyond Oasis / The Story of Thor: A Successor of the Light
All of them except for Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles are available on the Switch via the Nintendo Switch Online and/or the Sega Genesis Classics Collection.
@rushiosan This is from Retro-Bit who only does physical releases. We don't need every game to be digital, and these companies are trying to keep physical games alive as the publishers don't want to anymore.
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