Oh no! I’ve been sent back through time by Game Master Arino! His quest to “torment” this generation of gamers with retro game challenges begins with… Star Wars-like scrolling text. A digitalized version of Arino says told me we’re going to “dual”, sends me through time, and turns me into an 80’s kid which is in his words “pretty rad”. There’s that 80s lingo XSEED told us about!
Back in 1984 you meet Arnio as a little boy with a brand new copy of Cosmic Gate, a vertical shooter done in the style of Galaga, in his hand. But, before you can play it Arino tells you to blow on the cartridge to make Cosmic Gate work. Ah, just like the old days!
Once Cosmic Gate starts the first challenge you’re given is just survive to stage five. You’re in control of a ship anchored to the bottom of the screen. The ship can only move left or right and fire shots that zap Insektors, intergalactic bugs. Enemy bugs attempt to dive into you if you don’t blast them fast enough. Most of the stages in Cosmic Gate are won by shooting all of the enemies. Stage 3 gives you a little break by throwing you into an asteroid zone. In this level you can shoot asteroids for bonus points or just dodge them to survive. Since the first challenge is to make it to stage five you don’t need to care about points… for now.
This challenge was pretty much a warm up. The next one is easy too, but there is a trick to figuring it out. Cosmic Gate’s virtual instruction manual doesn’t tell you everything about the game. Little secrets like activating warps are found by reading issues of Gamefan magazine. Retro Game Challenge sticks lots of secrets in these little in-game magazines. Part of the fun of Retro Game Challenge is digging through issues of Gamefan for nuggets of information. Some are necessary others are just for amusement.
Back to that asteroid field… there is a massive asteroid that flies by. In the first challenge you can dodge it. Later you need to gun it down. Retro Game Challenges manages to give you different goals so you replay Cosmic Gate a few times before moving on. The feeling I got from playing Retro Game Challenge other than nostalgia was achievement hunting. I’m not an achievement hunter, but I like these little tasks. People who collects trophies or tries to max out their Gamerscore are going to feel right at home with the concept of Retro Game Challenge.
Images courtesy of XSEED Games.