It helps that BCR is styled exactly as a retro remake should be. Vibrant 3D visuals set it apart from the gritty monotony of many contemporary releases and the only-slightly-modernised chip music adds to the nostalgic flavour. Features impossible on the 8-bit NES have been added for enjoyment%26rsquo;s sake, notably the single/split screen two-player campaign co-op and four-player adversarial multiplayer modes. The result is a slick and, given that it%26rsquo;s download only, surprisingly complete platformer. The spirit of nightmarishly difficult %26rsquo;80s arcade games still rears its head. BCR is a tough nut to crack, and reintroduces the concept of a limited number of lives in an era that%26rsquo;s increasingly mollycoddling players with recharging energy bars and overzealous autosaving. Not only do you have a meagre three punts at blasting through a level, but you have to deal with a boss encounter that requires you to figure out a specific technique and execute it perfectly on the same budget of lives. Not a game for the easily frustrated.
If you%26rsquo;re up for the challenge, there%26rsquo;s plenty to do outside of the already reasonably sized campaign. Much of the replay value comes from a series of puzzle style %26lsquo;simulation%26rsquo; missions, bite-sized challenges that test your abilities against the clock. Perfect for obsessive compulsive play, while inclusion of world ranking leaderboards for these virtual reality missions ensures you%26rsquo;ll never be truly satisfied either. Once you%26rsquo;re done with the single player modes, if you can persuade some chums to huddle around the monitor, the competitive multiplayer is a blast as well, if a little cramped. Only in one area do things go terribly awry: the top-down Enemy Encounter missions are always a chore. The aiming is imprecise, the level layouts are ugly and repetitive and act simply as a punishment for clumsy negotiation of the world map rather than a satisfying change of pace. At least as distractions they%26rsquo;re relatively brief.
BCR is at once beautifully reminiscent of its era, and polished enough to be palatable to a modern audience. The core grappling and swinging mechanic is satisfying, the weapons a joy to wield and the levels are imaginatively designed. It may have started life as a promotional tool for Capcom%26rsquo;s upcoming third-person shooter, but if anything, BCR proves that the traditional 2D platformer is still relevant even for PC gaming%26rsquo;s current generation.
Aug 19, 2008