SwitchArcade Round-Up: Reviews Featuring ‘Star Wars: Dark Forces’, Plus the Latest Releases and Sales

SwitchArcade Round-Up: Reviews Featuring ‘Star Wars: Dark Forces’, Plus the Latest Releases and Sales

Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for March 12th, 2023. In today’s article, we’ve got a few more reviews for you to enjoy. It’s a bit of a retro-fest, as I take a look at Star Wars: Dark Forces Remaster, Top Racer Collection, and EGGCONSOLE Hydlide3. After that, we have a few new releases including Contra: Operation Galuga, and the usual lists of new and expiring sales to close things out with. Let’s get to business!

Reviews & Mini-Views

Star Wars: Dark Forces Remaster ($29.99)

Nightdive really knows what it’s doing. It does such a reliably good job with its classic reissues that it sometimes feels like there is little point in reviewing them. Yes, this remaster of Star Wars: Dark Forces is excellent. It has a few technical issues that might bother players who are sensitive to the occasional bit of stuttering, but for the most part it looks and runs like the game might look in your memory if not in reality. But if you want it to look like it did in reality, you can flip a few options and have it your way, baby.

Indeed, there are all kinds of options that spiff the game up that you can use or turn off as needed, so the few expected things that are absent stand out all the more. Like, you can’t save in the middle of a level. Which is accurate to the original, but it’s one thing I’d really have to liked to have seen here. I’m playing handheld a lot of the time, I don’t always have the time to get through some of the larger later levels in one sitting. Sure, I can just put my system to sleep, but I have to commit to finishing the entire level before I can do anything else. Help a fellow out, Nightdive.

With all that said, Star Wars: Dark Forces is still a heck of a lot of fun and this Remaster is certainly the way to play it. It’s sitting in that zone between DOOM and full-on 3D first-person shooters like QUAKE, and that’s a nice place to be. The action is slick, the license fits like a glove, and the level designs are clever and enjoyable to navigate. There’s a real attempt to make some interesting puzzles to solve here, similar to the contemporaneous Duke Nukem 3D. It’s good stuff. If you haven’t played it before, you should.

While there are some small technical issues here that are atypical for a Nightdive release, it’s nothing that should keep you from digging into this excellent remaster of Star Wars: Dark Forces. The old-school charms of the game are given just enough of a boost to make it a blast to play even in the current year, even if some aspects like the save system are perhaps a bit too old-school. Overall, another fine effort from Nightdive and yet another solid Star Wars release on the Switch.

SwitchArcade Score: 4/5

Top Racer Collection ($19.99)

Full disclosure: the first Top Racer (Top Gear) games were very important games to me and my friends in our younger years. Like, we stayed up all night playing them some weekends. I have a great deal of nostalgia for these games, and it’s even more difficult than usual for me to set that aside. As long as QUByte didn’t completely mess this up, I was going to like it. And QUByte definitely didn’t mess this up. If you have happy memories of the Top Racer games on the Super NES, you’ll be really happy with this collection. It has everything except the original Western brand name and some of the original menus. All that and more, really.

The three Super NES Top Racer games are included here, and they’re running just as they should. QUByte has hacked them up a bit and uses its own menu system in places, but in doing so allows things like online play and extra modes the original games didn’t offer. If you just want to hop in and play them like they were, you can do that. There’s also a fourth game here called Top Racer Crossroads, but it pretty much just hacks some cars from Horizon Chase into the first game. Cool, but not really a distinct game.

There aren’t a ton of extra materials here, and you can tell QUByte was somewhat hobbled by not being able to say or show anything that says Top Gear. You do get scans of the Japanese manuals of the three games, plus some packaging scans. There are online leaderboards so you can compete on each of the courses in the games with others around the world too, but don’t count on them being too populated. Along similar lines, the online mode is fine if you can set things up with other players beforehand, but don’t expect to run into any random players. It’s a ghost town already, and that doesn’t bode well given the launch period should be the busiest. I’m also not sure is what up with the menu music. You have all that great Top Racer music you could use, and you pick some generic butt rock? Well, okay. At least the in-game music still rules.

If like me you have nostalgia for these games, you’ll be quite happy with the Top Racer Collection. Fans of Horizon Chase who want to see where it draws much of its inspiration from might want to check this out, too. They’re very much of their era, but they were among the best of that era. It’s great to have them all in one place and in fine form.

SwitchArcade Score: 4/5

EGGCONSOLE Hydlide3 PC-8801mkIISR ($6.49)

This one is coming in a little later than some of my EGGCONSOLE reviews tend to, and that’s because that’s how long it took me to wrap my head around this odd game. The original Hydlide owns its place in history for being an early and influential example of the action-RPG genre. Hydlide 2 appears to be the Bruno of the series, and being the Bruno of the Hydlide series is saying something. And then there’s this third game, which first released in 1987. The world of action-RPGs had changed significantly in those few years between the first game and this one, and I’ll grant that it at least tries to keep up. In addition to the morality system added in for the second game, this one has a day/night cycle, a hunger system, and encumberance rules. As with the first game, this third one managed to get a console release that was localized back in the day: the SEGA Genesis Super Hydlide.

Wait, come back! Well, maybe not. Look, I’m not going to snow you here. Like most of the releases in the EGGCONSOLE line so far, Hydlide3 is probably mainly of interest to those interested in gaming history. It certainly isn’t unplayable (indeed, there’s even an in-game English setting that renders most, but not all, of the vital text in English), but it’s hard to justify spending the necessary grinding time the game demands to see what lies ahead of you. Fortunately, there are checkpoints you can zip to from the main menu like in some of the other EGGCONSOLE releases, so you can see most of the highlights without putting in the work. Should you choose to put in the work yourself, you’ll find a game with some interesting ideas that don’t quite come together.

The presence of an English option in the game itself makes Hydlide3 a little easier to recommend than some of the other RPGs in the EGGCONSOLE line, but this is still a near forty year old game that feels every inch of it. Fans of gaming history will enjoy poking at it and checking out the included scans and such, but most are going to find it enormously difficult to get into, let alone seeing it through to its conclusion. Still, it’s nice to see more of these classic Japanese computer games made widely available.

SwitchArcade Score: 3/5

New Releases

Contra: Operation Galuga ($39.99)

Contra… has had a hard life. Back in the 8-bit and 16-bit eras, it was the final word in run-and-gun action gaming. The 32-bit era was not kind to it, nor was it kind to the 32-bit era. A couple of decent entries on the PlayStation 2 showed the series might still have some life left in it. There was a great entry on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, but for some reason it didn’t use the Contra name. One real bright spot was WayForward’s Contra 4 on the Nintendo DS, one of the better classic revivals of that era. Well, WayForward is back to take another crack at things, and it surely has to be better than Contra: Rogue Corps. Surely. We’ll have our review ready for you as soon as possible, but at this point I’ll say the game is fine but this particular port might not be.

Passing By – A Tailwind Journey ($9.99)

Something to chill with today if that’s what you’re looking for. You play your balloon ship around to various islands, meet characters, gather resources, do some platforming, and solve various puzzles. Where are you going? When will you get there? Do they have cinnamon buns there, and are they fresh or those frozen ones they warm up that taste kind of dry? The answers to some of these questions are waiting for you in this game. But not all of them. Sorry, Shaun’s being silly again. There could be something to this one, but I haven’t been able to dive into it to find out.

Empty Shell ($15.99)

A top-down roguelite shooter, one that leans heavily into survival-horror elements. You’re a soldier exploring a mysterious facility on a Japanese island. Death comes swiftly and mercilessly, and each time one of your characters is killed, another one with a randomized set of equipment is sent in to start fresh. Of course, the facility itself is procedurally generated, so there’s a heavy degree of luck involved in this one. Fair warning, it’s filled to the brim with jump scares. If all of that sounds good to you, you might want to give the game a look. It’s quite well-liked on other platforms.


(North American eShop, US Prices)

Not too much going on in today’s inbox, but if you’ve been looking to stock up on Shantae games then you’re in luck. And hey, Mortal Kombat 1 is half-price already. I still wouldn’t buy the Switch version, but there it is. The outbox is also fairly small, so I’ll just leave reading the lists to you. Believe in yourself!

Select New Sales

RWBY Arrowfell ($14.99 from $29.99 until 3/26)
Shantae ($5.99 from $9.99 until 3/26)
Shantae: Risky’s Revenge DC ($4.99 from $9.99 until 3/26)
Shantae & the Pirate’s Curse ($9.99 from $19.99 until 3/26)
Shantae: Half-Genie Hero Ultimate ($14.99 from $29.99 until 3/26)
Shantae & the Seven Sirens ($14.99 from $29.99 until 3/26)
LEGO Star Wars Skywalker Saga ($17.99 from $59.99 until 4/1)
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes ($9.99 from $39.99 until 4/1)
LEGO City Undercover ($5.99 from $29.99 until 4/1)
Mortal Kombat 1 ($34.99 from $69.99 until 4/1)
Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate ($8.99 from $59.99 until 4/1)
WitchSpring3 ($9.99 from $39.99 until 4/1)

Sales Ending Tomorrow, March 13th

3000th Duel ($4.49 from $14.99 until 3/13)
9 Years of Shadows ($13.99 from $19.99 until 3/13)
Anuchard ($1.99 from $14.99 until 3/13)
Despotism 3k ($2.19 from $10.99 until 3/13)
Doomsday Hunters ($12.59 from $17.99 until 3/13)
Dreamscaper ($9.99 from $24.99 until 3/13)
Hello Goodboy ($1.99 from $13.99 until 3/13)
Jetboard Joust ($1.99 from $9.99 until 3/13)
Mars Base ($9.99 from $19.99 until 3/13)
Neon Blight ($4.99 from $19.99 until 3/13)
PigShip & the Giant Wolf ($3.59 from $7.99 until 3/13)
Ruin Raiders ($4.99 from $19.99 until 3/13)
Sifu ($15.99 from $39.99 until 3/13)
Terracotta ($7.99 from $19.99 until 3/13)

That’s all for today, friends. We’ll be back tomorrow with more new releases, more sales, another review, and perhaps some news. It’s a rainy day here today, but that’s sometimes a little nice. You miss out on the sunshine, but there’s that nice patter the rain makes when it hits the ground. Yes, I didn’t have much time to do anything interesting last night so I’m struggling to find something to talk about. I hope you all have a terrific Tuesday, and as always, thanks for reading!

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