In the past month, we have seen some major retro releases that have flopped. The release of Double Dragon 4 was huge news, and garnered a lot of talk among the retro gaming community. Than the game actually released. And while it definitely had a retro feel, it also felt that the developer forgot how to innovate in the years. The game replicates the classic NES look, including screen tearing and flickering. While a nice touch, there should be an option to turn the flicker and tearing on or off. The enemy variety is painfully low, with way too many recolors. While there is nothing wrong with keeping the retro look and feel, not taking advantage of a single aspect of the more powerful hardware the game is released on makes no sense if the game isn’t actually running on an NES. When staying in those strict confines takes away from the game (such as with enemy variety) maybe its time to either take advantage of extra storage or at least look at other games in the NES era that did it right (Battletoads for example had decent variety in baddies). Double Dragon 4 ended up being a lackluster release and did little to bring more positive attention to the Double Dragon name. Even the 2012 title Double Dragon Neon did more to improve the standing of Double Dragon than this release.
Capcom, on the other hand, has proven they can take the retro formula and still make a solid game with Mega Man 9 in 2008 and Mega Man 10 in 2010 (has it really been that long?). These two games had the feel of the NES games, but still took advantage of online modes for addons and online competition as well as some storage for more enemy variety. However, last year Capcom released the first six Mega Man titles for mobile users of Android and iOS, and this release was another disaster. The games are barely even playable, even if you are using an external controller for your mobile. The frames per second are significantly lower than the NES (roughly 15 FPS on phone, vs. roughly 24 FPS on a standard television in the NES era) making for a very jittery experience. And without an external controller, using a touch screen to play these games is almost impossible.
It is rather early in 2017, but already we are seeing examples of companies trying to ride the nostalgia and retro hype trains for quick cash. For every good release like Nintendos NES Classic, or a solid retro style game like Shovel Knight, we are getting duds like Double Dragon 4 and Mega Man Mobile. Consumers must force these companies to realize without quality product, they will not be buying. With options like RetroPie around, retro game fans can build their own console rather than purchase tripe, and if the large companies don’t learn this lesson, they will soon see their profits drop.