Ask me which indie game I'm most looking forward to in 2011. Go on, ask me! Oh, well since you're asking, it would most definitely have to be Vblank Entertainment's Retro City Rampage, coming to Xbox Live Arcade and WiiWare later this year. There are two main reasons for my RCR anticipation - the glorious gameplay, and the multitude of references that I can't wait to pick my way through.

Actually, multitude is quite the understatement. If you thought Super Meat Boy had more tributes to classic gaming titles than humanly possible, just wait until Retro City Rampage blows your mind. Not content to simply parody video games, Brian Provinciano's brainchild also throws film and music references into the mix too, with something to smile at every few seconds.

That's really not an exaggeration. Within the first five minutes of play, I had spotted references to the following: The Simpsons, Batman, Duck Hunt, Ducktales, Bomberman, Mortal Kombat, Super Mario, Bill and Ted, the NES, Monkey Island, Back to the Future, Frogger, Sonic the Hedgehog, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the A-Team, Tenacious D, Duke Nukem and, quite obviously, Grand Theft Auto. I should repeat: that was simply in the first five minutes of play, and I'm pretty sure I missed a fair number too.


Retro City Rampage is a video game fanatic's dream come true. The main action takes place in Theftropolis City, as you take control of THE PLAYER. Spotting a poster advertising a henchman position, THE PLAYER joins up and becomes one of the most ruthless mobsters in the city. However, after a bank heist goes wrong (and one that very closely resembles the start of Batman Begins), THE PLAYER finds himself thrown through time.

Gameplay definitely has a very Grand Theft Auto layout to it, although the feel is something else entirely. As you mow down pedestrians, cops and vehicles, combos constantly flash onto the screen, and it feels far more arcadey than the world of GTA. To say that Retro City Rampage displays the polar opposite of realism in gaming would be bang on the money.

Retro City Rampage thrives on the idea that it is a game, and therefore can go in whatever direction it fancies. As you drive around town finding missions to partake in, the gameplay will constantly change in dramatic fashion. Many different gaming genres are explored through the main story missions, as well as plenty of film and TV ideas.


A few examples, perhaps - Brian was kind enough to provide me with the latest build, and some of the newer missions are hilarious. Death Cam VHS will please Smash TV fans, with enemies spawning from doors around each room and arena-shooter style gameplay to blast and beat your way through.

See if you can guess what Smut Peddler parodies...indeed, you jump on your bike and start dishing out dirty magazines Paperboy-style, complete with out of control lawnmowers and trucks trying to take you down. Super Criminal Vigilante starts in what looks suspiciously like the Bat Cave, puts you in control of what looks suspiciously like the Batmobile, and sends you out to do suspiciously Batman-like tasks. When you beat the baddies up, comic-book 'Pow!' and 'Zonk!'s spring into the air.

Of course, in a Grand Theft Auto world, it would be silly if there wasn't also Grand Theft Auto style gameplay. THE PLAYER can take cover behind barriers and walls, leaning out to shoot at cops and gangsters. Jump in a taxi to start a cab service, racing around town getting your punters to their destinations on time.


When Retro City Rampage lands later this year, it's going to be one of the big hits of the summer, hands down. It's constantly good fun, and never appears to tone down its wicked velocity and charm. Up for the Excellence in Audio award at this year's IGF, it's worth checking out the music 'mixtape' video released a couple of months ago.