Qubyte Games has made a name for themselves over the last couple years by porting several 8 and 16-bit titles to modern platforms within compilations. Radical Rex is their latest port, bundling both the SNES and Gameboy versions into one digital release. The Sega CD and Genesis also received versions of Radical Rex but those versions are not included in this Qubyte compilation.
While I appreciate the effort of recognizing and porting a forgotten game to modern platforms, Radical Rex probably should have been left extinct, just like The Humans Collection. The SNES version, which was released one year after the Gameboy original, is a nearly unplayable mess as it tries to replicate the speed and momentum-based gameplay of Sonic but to poor effect. In order to navigate loop-de-loops, Rex needs to gain speed, mostly on an unwieldy skateboard, to make it over these never fun hurdles. Missing the mark, which is easy to do, or slamming into the wall forces the skateboard to disappear which can leave players stuck and forced to restart, or worse yet, stuck against a wall with no way to disembark from the skateboard. Then, if you make it over these poorly designed obstacles, the player must deal with loose play control, non-interactive bugs/critters that unnecessarily fill the screen making the player think they are enemies, and speed that doesn’t give the player time to react. Even the default button mapping doesn’t make sense for a platformer and blind jumps with a fast moving screen is never friendly.
Surprisingly, the Gameboy version is much more playable even though it was released a year prior and played on lesser hardware. While still not great, at least the player can competently finish stages and are not exposed to as many blind jumps and poor stage design.
In terms of quality-of-life features, there is a save state option and a couple of screen filters. The presentation is bare bones but honestly it is all you really need. It is just a pain that you need to click through a couple menus to reach the save/load state screen. Why couldn’t these just be mapped to an empty button on the controller? Fast access to the save/load states would have made the troubling gameplay a little more playable and tolerable.
Even though Radical Rex isn’t the best platformer, I still give a ton of respect and appreciation to Qubyte and Piko Interactive for re-releasing these forgotten games. Radical Rex is a platformer that you definitely do not need to play even though I still think it is cool it has received a re-release. I am looking forward to Qubyte’s upcoming releases (keep your eye out for the Glover re-release).
On Par With: so many other me-too platformers of the 16-bit era
Watch It Instead: The Land Before Time
Wait For It: a Zool port
By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief myGamer.com
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