Like GTA On An NES: Digging Into Retro City Rampage DX

Ben Stegner 06-12-2014

While indie games used to get a bad rap for being poorly made, in recent years they’ve come into their own. Some will even make you forget they’re independent at all 10 Indie Games So Good, You’ll Forget They’re Indie At All There may be times, however, where you want something different from the indie norm. A game that follows indie values, yet is made with the quality that top-shelf AAA games are known for. Titles like... Read More . We’ve covered plenty of indie games Xbox Live Indie Games: Must-Play Titles That Won't Break The Bank Xbox Live Indie Games are the product of hobby and folly, providing anyone with an idea and some programming skills with a chance to make and release a game. The platform went live in late... Read More at MakeUseOf, but one that’s missed the spotlight is Retro City Rampage.


Retro City Rampage (RCR) is a throwback game that is summarized in a single phrase: an 8-bit version of Grand Theft Auto with more 80s and 90s references than you can count. It originally released in 2012 on PC, but since then it’s migrated to almost every modern platform.

Its recently re-released DX version adds tweaks across the board. Let’s see what’s different in RCR DX and why there’s no better time to experience this gem!

A Better Map

The original RCR provided an in-game map for players, and being an open-world title Completed GTA V? 7 More Open Worlds To Play Through So you've ploughed all your spare time into beating GTA V but still have that open world itch? Good news, we've assembled 8 of our favourite sandbox games to play through next. Read More , it was a necessity. However, the map didn’t zoom, and trying to pinpoint where you wanted to go was an issue, since the icons crowded each other.

The map has been completely reworked for the Deluxe version, allowing players to zoom in, filter icons, and even set waypoints. Theftropolis isn’t as massive as Los Santos, but it’s still nice to know where you are at any time. If you played the original, this will certainly be one of the most welcome changes.

New Filters, Borders, and HUD

RCR has a story mode, but a lot of the fun comes from just messing around in the open world Play It Your Way: 4 Sandbox Games That Reign Above the Rest A poorly executed sandbox game is a waste of time, but when it's done right, it can transport you to an entirely new world full of wonder, excitement, and experiences. Read More . Whether that means cranking up your wanted level and fleeing the cops, searching for secrets scattered throughout the city, or just trying out the different weapons and power-ups, Retro City Rampage has a lot to play with.


While you’re fooling around, you might enjoy RCR’s built-in color filters. Alternatives include Game Boy, Virtual Boy 4 Nintendo Products That Were Way Ahead Of Their Time Nintendo has always been an innovative company, but even their lesser-known products were ahead of their time. Read More (fully red!), and Sepia. If that’s not enough retro goodness, try out the borders. You can mimic the Super Game Boy or a classic arcade cabinet around the screen.


Other small changes add up to a smoother gameplay experience. A reworked HUD stays out of the way, allowing you to see more of the screen and offers a more immersive experience. Additionally, weapons can be switched quickly by opening a new menu with the tap of a button. Another welcome change is the ability to choose between three different levels of zoom; fantastic since the original game felt like it was a bit too far out.



Touched-Up Missions

RCR’s missions are varied and provide lots to do, but when the game first launched, lots of users had complaints. For instance, cars moved at a snail’s pace, the teaching of some mechanics was easily missed, and some parts were extra-tough 5 Crazy Difficult Games You Can Get On Steam Thanks to Steam, you can play these games without spending too much money. Read More . Thankfully, the developer, Brian Provinciano, listened to players and reworked many of these missions.

The DX upgrade features improvements across the board in the missions. Enemies are removed where there were too many, or an additional platform was added to simplify a jump. Cars now move fast enough 2 Ultra-Fast Racing Games That Truly Test Your Driving Abilities I came across a couple of racing games I hadn't spotted on SourceForge before. They're both well rated by the user base there, and they both promised to offer realistic physics engines that would make... Read More to justify using them, and the early missions make sure that you’ve grasped the basics (in a satirical way, of course). Over time, this game’s rough edges have been whipped into shape, and it’s a much better experience for these small edits.


It’s Easier To Get Weapons And Lose The Cops

Theftropolis is a rough place; when you get killed, you’ll drop every weapon that you were carrying. Since you can wield everything from golf clubs to flamethrowers, this can be a disappointment and building your stock back up can take a while. Thankfully, in RCR DX you’re able to buy weapons from vendors around town. If you’re testy, try stealing instead.



The cops aren’t chumps Fight Crime: 4 Games Where You Get To Be The Police With all the crimes we commit in our video games, it's a nice change of pace to be the one actually ridding the streets of the criminals instead of the other way around. Read More either. In the original version of the game, if they were on your tail, you had some serious work to do to get them off. Now, however, after you defeat a few cops they’ll drop a stealth token, which will effectively lose your wanted level immediately. If a massive chase is what you seek, you can turn this option off, but otherwise it’s nice to know that you don’t have to engage in a ten-minute battle every time you accidentally run a few people over.

Reworked Trophies And Challenges

Trophy Hunters go for the easiest platinums possible The 7 Easiest PlayStation Platinum Trophies You Can Earn Want to earn some Platinum trophies without putting in the effort that some of the harder games? Here are seven games that will net you the easiest Platinums you can earn on the PSN! Read More , and while RCR doesn’t have a platinum trophy, it does have a handful to earn. The original ones were a tough bunch, so they’ve been reworked for the re-release. You won’t earn them just for playing normally, but they’re much more reasonable this time.

In addition to the story and side missions, you can also partake in sprees like the video above. These challenges have you causing as much chaos as possible in 30 seconds, and if you’re good enough you’ll earn medals and might even make it to the leaderboards. Like the rest of the missions, these have been balanced, tying into the Trophies.


Everything The Original Gained

Unless you played Retro City Rampage when it first released, you might not realize how many changes it had gone through before the DX upgrade. As mentioned, the original game had some issues, among them slow cars and frustrating missions, but that’s not all that got a makeover. A notable new side feature is a jukebox allowing you to enjoy the game’s awesome music The 20 Best Video Game Soundtracks for Studying or Relaxing Video game music is engineered to promote focus with enjoyable background tracks. If you need some music for studying or relaxing, look no further. Read More at will.

Added to RCR partway through its life was ROM City Rampage, a playable tech demo of Provinciano’s original idea of GTA on the NES. He’s even provided information showing how close RCR is to being able to actually run on an NES. That’s authenticity!

If you don’t want to take advantage of all the new features and enhanced graphics for some reason, all you have to do is toggle a setting and you’ll be playing the first iteration of the title. Even there, you can still enjoy the arcade games featuring other indie stars, different playable characters in free roam mode, good old cheat codes 10 Best Comprehensive Websites to Go to for Game Cheat Codes Video games are challenges in themselves; it’s just that cheat codes make them more interesting. From 8 bit games of old to today’s massively multiplayer online games and even Facebook games like Farmville, cheat codes... Read More , haircuts and plastic surgery to change your character, and awesome 8-bit music Free 8-bit Chiptune & Video Game Music Downloads [Sound Sunday] When is your next video game party? Invite your friends, get some snacks, set up the consoles, and you're all set. Sound Sunday contributes free chiptune music downloads for your pre-gaming playlist. Read More .

Should You Get Retro City Rampage DX?

Unless you’ve already played RCR DX on 3DS or completed the game recently, it’s totally worth picking up this refresh. Every platform that already carried the game gets the DX update for free, along with PS4 and Mac, which are getting it for the first time. You’ll be able to find the game on a platform you own for sure.

If you’re the type of person that hates to replay games this isn’t radically different enough for a second purchase, but if you started the game soon after it came out and were frustrated by some of its issues, you have a perfect chance to give it another try.


Retro City Rampage shouldn’t be overlooked by any gamer, especially those who grew up in the 80s or 90s. The Deluxe edition is the best way to experience this gem, and its reduced price sweetens the deal even more.

Looking for fewer pixels in your open-world violence? Grand Theft Auto V may be the game for you 5 of the Best GTA V Mods Available Right Now Read More .

Retro City Rampage DX is available now for $10. You can pick up the game DRM-free from the developer for PC (includes either a Steam or GOG key, plus the Mac version), on Steam for Windows and Mac, Wii and Wii U, 3DS, Xbox 360 ($15), PS4, PS3, and Vita (Cross-Buy 5 Of The Best Cross-Buy PlayStation Games You Should Play Looking for value? Looking for games you can sink your teeth into, whether you're at home or on the go? These Cross-Buy PlayStation games have you covered. Read More for all 3). If you already bought the game, you should receive a free update to the DX version.

For platform differences and full information, please see the developer’s chart.

Related topics: Mac Game, PlayStation, Retro Gaming, Steam.

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  1. pdrift
    December 10, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    I'm guessing this doesn't work on steam for Linux. That would be good if it did..