Retro City Rampage

7.0 Overall Score

Genuine Laugh Out Loud Moments | 8-Bit Nostalgia

Tedious Controls | Frustrating Difficulty Spikes

Written by on January 26, 2013 in [, , , , , ]

Retro City Rampage brings us a little bit of everything that you could imagine in a parody game. On the surface, the game looks like a “fetch quest,” and it is, and it makes fun of that, but beyond the surface there is still a lot to do.

The name of the game here is satire. And boy did VBlank Entertainment (which is basically just one person: Brian Provinciano) think of everything; from time travel movies and tv shows like Back to the Future, Doctor Who and even Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, to just about every video game you can imagine over the last 30 years. Every time you turn around you see something else from the past. The game shows a lot of love to the old NES games and pokes a little fun at some of those games. Blending the free world exploration, arcade action and some old school hard-to-beat levels, Retro City Rampage brings a lot to the gaming table. There are a lot of surprises to uncover, so we’ll try not to spoil them too much here.


This game has been lovingly developed over the course of about a decade. Started in 2003 running on an NES, Provinciano began experimenting with the design. Evolving over the years, Provinciano developed the game during nights and weekends until about three years ago when he made it his full time job.  So after all of the blood, sweat and tears how does the game really play and feel?

For the most part, this game is just a “fetch and return.” You have a broken time machine and have to collect pieces around the city that will repair it and get you back home. Of course, while heading out to get one piece, you have to find someone that knows where that piece is, and in return you have to run and get something for them, or cause havoc, or do some other quirky side-mission. It’s within these side-missions that the other gaming elements emerge.

These elements bring all forms of gaming genres together; platforming, 2D racing and side-scrolling underwater treasure hunting to name a few. Along with parodies of other games, movies and television shows, this game just oozes clichés. This is not a bad thing. The game clearly shows that you should be expecting this.

There are three game modes: Story Mode, Arcade Challenges and Free Roam.

In story mode you go on missions to get your time machine put back together. There are cheat codes and several visual modes that give those old style tv and game system looks, such as CGA, Monochrome Green, UHF and so forth. The cheat codes that you find throughout the missions give you invincibility, endless ammo, etc. Take note achievement hunters: cheat codes disable racking up gamerscore until you’ve relaunched the game. Arcade Challenges can also be found during story mode.


Arcade Challenges, unlocked through finding them in story mode or completing certain objectives, give you a short, pick-up-and-play option to terrorize Theftropolis. You can earn high scores and compare them with your friends on the leaderboard, as well as upload replays. This is about the only real online function of the game. Sorry, no multiplayer. There are two distinct types of sprees in this mode: the Slaughter Sprees and Second Rate Sprees with various objectives. In the first mode, you have invincibility and basically have either unlimited weapons/ammo or carry out destruction using a specific method. For example, in one, you begin already lit on fire. You have sixty seconds to light as many citizens on fire as you can by simply touching them. By the end of the minute in order for all of your kills to count, you also have to put yourself out by hitting a fire hydrant which, of course, douses you in water. In the Second Rate Sprees, you have only one kind of weapon and you can be killed.

Free Roam is what you would expect it to be. You basically explore and hunt for secret locations, while having all of the weapons unlocked to do with as you please. You also have different costumes that you can unlock and use, like Minecraft’s Steve! You can also create as much havoc as you want, but watch the life meter here.

There are a lot of things to do and places to explore, and Retro City Rampage gives you lots of weapons, hairstyles and tools to create your own customized fun. The controls (especially driving) just take some getting accustomed to. The arcade missions bring some replayability to the game and VBlank Entertainment brings an ambitious project to the table, but after about 5 hours or so, you’re not that anxious to return.

A downloadable code was provided to The Married Gamers for the purpose of evaluation and review.


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Author: Erik Johnsen View all posts by
A married gamer that spends time editing many of the articles you read right here at The Married Gamers. Erik sometimes reviews Xbox One games and writes articles, but spends his available free time from work or hanging out with his family hunting achievements for a higher gamerscore.

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