Retro City Rampage is one of those games that would have raised an absolute panic if it had existed back in the NES days. Of course, in reality, the Grand Theft Auto-inspired and superbly retro-looking sandbox game actually launched for PC in 2012. With that said, developer VBlank interactive has proven themselves to be absolutely mad (in the best way possible) by continuing to support the game via a wide variety of ports onto basically any modern gaming platform aside from smartphones. In the most ridiculous move yet, VBlank Entertainment took their love of actual classic games to the next level by announcing Retro City Rampage 486.
The name itself is a reference to the Intel 486 CPU, which is quite old at this point. Of course, some of us may have grown up with computers running these once powerful cards to play games. Retro City Rampage 486 is legitimately a version of Retro City Rampage which runs on MS-DOS and as such has some pretty tiny system requirements. All owners of the game on PC have received this version digitally if they ever wish to give it a shot, as it actually retains most of the main game’s features. The ultimate means by which to enjoy a MS-DOS game, however, is to actually have an old PC and floppy disc of the game.
Some may consider this notion ridiculous, but apparently enough people wanted it that the Retro City Rampage 486 – Retail Box came into existence. With 1000 boxed copies to go around, collectors such as myself snapped up the chance to take a thoroughly modern open-world game for a spin on aging hardware. Despite emulating a PC game of a bygone era, the box itself is shaped similar to NES game boxes were instead of an actual big box PC title. Slight historical niggle aside, it’s downright funny to read the box requirements. You need 4 MB of RAM, 3.7 MB of free hard drive space, and MS-DOS 3.3 or higher in order to play! In another bit of superbly fussy complaints, the system requirements are printed on the box rather than a sticker wrapped around the box.
The highlight of the Retro City Rampage 486 – Retail Box should be obvious: the included 3.5” high density floppy disc. Yes, that’s a 1.44 MB floppy which somehow manages to contain this reduced port of Retro City Rampage. The floppy itself is totally legitimate and comes in one of three colors (translucent blue, translucent purple, and business machine beige). I don’t honestly recall floppy discs being beige all that often, but it may have been due to the brands I purchased. In any case, the disc looks brand new and clean rather than some second-hand, super scuffed up thing which is a huge bonus. Where do people find new floppy discs these days, anyway? Anyhow, if you’re just intrigued by the floppy disc portion of this set then you can purchase one specifically from VBlank Entertainment’s shop for $14.99. It’s worth noting that Retro City Rampage DX itself costs just a few bucks cheaper at $9.99 normally.
Given that the Retail Box itself costs a fair bit more at $39.99, there’s obviously a lot more packed in there than the actual game itself. Also included is a cloth map, magic decoder glasses, manual, and Steam key for Retro City Rampage DX in case you don’t actually still have a computer with a floppy drive. So, let’s take a look at each of these goodies to determine whether or not they are really worth the boxed copy treatment.
Cloth maps have never been a huge deal to me, especially when they’re not even that large to begin with. Retro City Rampage may be an open-world game, but its world is certainly smaller than that of the Fallout of The Elder Scrolls series. As such, the map is fairly small at 7” x 5.9”, seeming more like a cloth for glasses than anything else. The magic decoder glasses are cute and have a lovely retro grid pattern on them. In theory, they’re also totally perfect for a collection attempting to “recreate” old PC game pack-ins. After all, the first forms of copy protection were more about looking up special words in manuals or revealing hidden text than anything else.
These glasses allow wearers to view hidden images within the manual. This means the manual included with this set is different from that included in the PS4 and PS Vita physical releases. As I do not own either of those versions, I’m not even sure that they came with one. Finally, the manual itself. At 24 pages, and at a small size, it isn’t nearly as grandiose as one might have found twenty years ago inside a PC game box. Still, it’s a cute booklet with a note from developer Brian Provinciano and multiple pages of “secret” images to decode that include artwork and cheat codes.
Hardcore fans of Retro City Rampage will find this collection a must have, alongside the other retail versions. It would probably help to also be a gamer who grew up as PC player to get the most out of Retro City Rampage 486 – Retail Box. All in all, it’s quite the little collection for those looking for a nostalgic trip back to the MS-DOS era.