I still have fond memories of sitting underneath my lounge room light, trying to find the perfect angle to play my Game Boy at. The weird green hues brought with them plenty of entertainment … even if I could barely see them half the time (stupid lounge room light) … but you know what? I loved the fact I had to fight with that light. I loved that weird motion blur, the green and black screen, that low buzzing sound whenever you first turn it on. The Game Boy was and always will be my favourite handheld, and luckily for me there’s a few developers out there who agree.
Super Rad Raygun is the latest in the line of side-scrolling platformers from the ScrewAttack team. Yes, that ScrewAttack, the very same that’s made its name in Death Battles and various gaming/comedy videos over the years. They’ve had a number of retro based titles on Steam of late, largely based on fan favourite the Angry Video Game Nerd, but lately they’ve branched out into new and unique IP’s. First came the psychological platformer Disorder and now, in all its green glory, comes the Radness.
Set in the year 198X, you play as robotic action hero Rad, who must use his crime fighting skills to save the world … because that’s what all rad super heroes do. Developed by Tru Fun Entertainment, the game is a hark back to those classic Game Boy days whilst mixing in plenty of Mega Man references between the running, jumping and shooting mechanics. There’s plenty of boss battles in-between, with a rather large looking world map containing plenty of variety, all the while feeling like it’s straight out of the late 80’s design philosophy that made the likes of Capcom household names. I mean, even Rad’s jump itself looks straight out of the Capcom book! That’s a compliment, not a complaint.
But of course, the key selling point is its graphics. Though the shades of green might be off putting to those who have grown up with more modern handheld technology, Super Rad Raygun excels in its delivery of old-school action and in its own special way, provides a modern take on a Game Boy game if the handheld existed today (or in the case of Rad’s design, was a real robot intent on saving human lives). There’s obviously animations and little touches here and there that could only be possible through modern animation, but it’s a well rounded marriage between the two aesthetics. It revels in the fact it isn’t the most detailed platformer, advertising itself with ultra sharp 144p resolution graphics and 4 unique shades of monochrome off-green.
Super Rad Raygun hits Steam on November 9th. If you’re a fan of the classic Game Boy games, Mega Man himself or perhaps the more recent Shovel Knight, then I’d suggest keeping an eye out for it. Perhaps one day it will also make the jump to a Nintendo handheld, just to bring it back full circle. Never say never.