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Rebelstar Raiders

Julian Gollop / Red Shift 1984
Genre: Strategy
Rating: 4/6
Licence: Commercial
System: ZX Spectrum

Not many games can claim the honour of having started something really big and immensely popular for themselves. Rebelstar Raiders is one of the notable exceptions. It spawned a whole modern genre and has to be recognized as the seminal work for countless others. Games like UFO (X-Com) and Jagged Alliance wouldn't exist without RR. Talking about UFO, RR was even made by the same person, so it's even a direct descendant.

Red Baron

Dynamix 1990
Genre: Simulation
Rating: 4.5/6
Licence: Commercial
System: PC

With the advent of new technologies comes a time of innovation, a time when pioneers set out to explore the potential of the latest inventions. Red Baron is remarkable in this concern because it is not only about the early days of a new kind of warfare, but because it was in itself one of the first dedicated combat flight simulators for home computers set in this era. And so it helped to lay down the basics of the genre just like the historical biplanes in it did for the aerial combat. A very fitting combination so to speak which gives the game a timeless appeal: Entering this world of rough 3D graphics and simplistic flight models seems to have a lot in common with taking off in one of those fragile flying machines of WWI. But let us take a look at how exactly this works to the game’s (dis)advantage and what else makes it a classic.

Red Storm Rising

Microprose 1989
Genre: Simulation
Rating: 6/6
Licence: Commercial
System: PC

Red Storm Rising is based on a novel by Tom Clancy creating the background for this submarine simulation by the outbreak of a conflict during the last phase of the Cold War. The player as the commander of an US attack submarine has to fulfill various missions whose success may influence the outcome of the war.

Redhook's Revenge

ImagiSOFT 1993
Genre: Strategy, Puzzle
Rating: 4/6
Licence: Freeware
System: PC

The most vicious pirates of the Carribean want to find out who is the biggest cutthroat, so they make a bet. They're all sailing the same route, and whoever can show the biggest amount of loot at the end of the journey wins. Master pirate Redhook plays the judge, but there aren't many rules - everything is allowed as long as it earns gold.

Rescue on Fractalus!

Lucasfilm Games 1984
Genre: Action, Simulation
Rating: 2.5/6
Licence: Commercial
System: Atari 400/800

[Mr Creosote] Last year, LucasArts closed its doors. Instead of spreading even more malice than already out there about them not having produced good games for many years anyway, we would like to go back to the beginning of this development studio under the name of 'Lucasfilm Games'. One of their first two games called itself Rescue on Fractalus.

Rescue: The Embassy Mission

Infogrames 1989
Genre: Action
Rating: 3/6
Licence: Commercial
System: NES

I suppose everybody knows the famous SAS rescue operation on the Iran embassy. Well, here is your chance to do something similar, as this one is based on it. But don’t expect anything spectacular, or even tactical, as the idea ends just on a small set of action games.

Retro City Rampage

VBLANK Entertainment 2012
Genre: Action
Rating: 5/6
Licence: Commercial
System: PC

Retro City Rampage calls itself a parody. Putting the likely legal reasons for this badge aside, there are (broadly speaking) two kinds of parodies: biting satires and warmly affectionate ones. RCR clearly falls into the latter category. It is a tour de force crammed full of references to (mainly) 1980s pop culture, both in style and contents.

Retro Wars Episode IV¼

Amiga Wave 2016
Genre: Adventure
Rating: 1/6
Licence: Freeware
System: Amiga
Compared to when this site started, "retro" has become "mainstream cool" in the meantime. This confronts us with all sorts of attempts, sometimes genuinely coming from somebody's heart, sometimes out of cold-blooded calculation, to capitalize on this trend. When it is for money, clearly riding the commercial train, we should be extra cautious about it. Though even freely available works may fall into one trap or another. Retro Wars Episode IV¼, for instance, embodies pretty much exactly what I bitterly complained about when first wrote about the emerging retro trend five years ago.

Return of Double Dragon

Technos 1992
Genre: Action
Rating: 3/6
Licence: Commercial
System: SNES

That's a game which doesn't require much talking about. The programmers intentionally left out an intro or a story as the subtitle says it all: 'The Sleeping Dragon has awoke.' Ah yes. In other words: 'The 1st part was quite successful so let's make more money.'

Return of the Phantom

Microprose 1993
Genre: Adventure
Rating: 4/6
Licence: Commercial
System: PC

We are on the late XX century, enjoying the opera at the famous Paris Opera House. But there is no peace nor enjoyment, as suddenly a long dead criminal comes back to murder and spread terror. The Phantom of the Opera has returned!

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