When the first Retro City Rampage trailer surfaced two years ago, it promised something almost too good to be true: an original, downloadable, retro-styled, free-roaming, pop culture referencing, crime simulator. Vblank Entertainment, have you been reading my diary? However, successfully creating a game that parodies properties considered practically sacred to an entire generation of lifelong gamers is a lofty goal indeed.

While it seemed impossible that Retro City Rampage could live up to expectations, on October 9th Vblank Entertainment’s creation was finally let loose upon the world via Steam, PSN, and PS Vita (with an XBLA release soon to follow). Thankfully, not only does the game look and sound marvelous, but it’s incredibly fun to play, blending old-school themes, with various modern gaming mechanics to create an experience that is both new, yet deeply familiar.

But best of all, RCR is so densely packed with references, it’s enough to make even the most cynical, 30-something, pop-culture junky games journalist squeal with delight. To show you what we mean, we’ve compiled the following list of 51 of the subtle, and not so subtle, references we found in just the first 10% of Retro City Rampage. (WARNING: SPOILERS!)

  • The A-Team – During a campaign mission, the player is attacked by four guys who jump out of a red-striped black van.
  • Arcade Cabinets – The video settings can be set to display the game as if it’s being played on an arcade cabinet, complete with hokey, plastic menus.
  • Back to the Future – A key element to the storyline involves traveling back in time in a Delorean with white haired scientist.

In order to reach 88 mph, you must mow down pedestrians. Seriously.

  • Back to the Future – The time traveling doctor’s catch phrase is “Good Gosh”.
  • Back to the Future II – A “Biff” sign is visible on the roof of a police station.
  • Back to the Future II – During the campaign, a future version of the protagonist arrives in a second Delorean and meets up with the player.
  • The Beastie Boys – During a cut scene, sunglass wearing and comically mustached police officers named “O’Farva” and “Rookie” are shown attempting to track down the protagonist.
  • Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure – During the campaign, the player meets two surfer bros who arrive in a time travelling phone booth.
  • Bionic Commando – A weapon known as the BioClaw allows the player to use a grappling hook to reach objects and swing from high places.
  • Blades of Steel – A local casino is named “Spades to Steal”.
  • Contra – A stage known as “Contraband Base” requires the player to shoot targets in order to deactivate an electric field and move forward.
  • The Dark Knight – A stage entitled “The Dark Bank” requires the player to assist “The Jester” as he robs a bank, kills off his fellow henchmen, and makes a getaway in a school bus.
  • The Departed – During a brief cut scene, moments before his death, a henchman exclaims that he won’t make it home for dinner.
  • Duck Hunt – On multiple occasions, a brown dog pops up in the background and laughs as characters shoot guns.

In this town, life is like a hurricane.

  • DuckTales – In a brief cut scene that takes place within the coin-filled vault of “StoogeMac Bank”, a sign reading “No Diving” can be seen in the background.
  • Earnest P. Worrell – A movie titled “Earnes T Gets Rabies” can be seen on the theatre marquee.
  • Epic Meal Time – There is a playable Epic Meal Time arcade cabinet where the player must attempt to eat some of the show’s ridiculous culinary creations.
  • Fresh Prince of Bel-Air – Billboards for “Flesh Prints” can be seen throughout the city.
  • Frogger – After a bank heist, the player is tasked with crossing a busy street while attempting to avoid being crushed “like a frog”.
  • Gameboy – The video settings can be set to display the game in “Super Video Brick” mode, complete with pea green graphics within a Gameboy-reminiscent frame.
  • Grand Theft Auto – The entire game setting and structure is modeled to closely resemble the 1997 Grand Theft Auto.
  • Inception – While the protagonist sleeps, the player enters a mode known as “Killception” where they must kill as many people as possible in a set amount of time before waking.
  • iPhone – A business in the city is named iPomme.
  • Looney Toons – A rocket and several cases of dynamite visible behind a weapons store are labeled ACME.
  • Mega Man – The year 20XX is referred to on multiple occasions.
  • Metal Gear – Major Lee, the owner of the local gun shop, sports an eye patch.

Make sure to sneak into that truck before are begin to move.

  • Metal Gear – Major Lee gives the player a stealth mission that involves sneaking into a truck in order to gain access to a military base.
  • Metal Gear – Billboards for Sneaky Snake Box & Crate can be seen throughout the city.
  • Mortal Kombat – Immediately after a fiery explosion, the static image of a guy pops up from the bottom of the screen yelling “Toasty”.
  • The Nintendo Entertainment System – A caution sign for a piece of oddly familiar time traveling equipment reads “If flashing use kit to clean cart”.  Sprawled over this writing is a second sign reading “Just blow on it”.
  • The Nintendo Entertainment System – One of the pieces required to create a working time machine is a 72 pin connector.
  • RoboCop – Players must fight a tough, robotic police officer named “Bionicop”.
  • Skate or Die – A business named Skate N’ Buy is run by a skateboarder with a mohawk.
  • Star Wars – In an outer space cut scene, the Death Star is visible in the background.
  • Star Trek – A movie titled “Trek Wars: The Search for ock” can be seen on the theatre marquee.
  • Smash TV – A shooting tutorial sequences requires players to use dual sticks while shooting wave after wave of enemies armed with baseball bats and guns.
  • Sonic The Hedgehog – After receiving shoes that enable “sonic” speed running, players are referred to as a “henchhog”.
  • Spiderman – The time traveling doctor’s name of “Doc Choc” is suspiciously similar to Spiderman’s nickname for Dr. Otto Octavius.
  • Superman – The name of the city in which the game takes place is Threftopolis, a clear reference to Metropolis.
  • Super Mario Bros – Green “Escape Pipes” found throughout the city provide transportation.
  • Super Mario Bros 2 – While entering or exiting a dream stage, the protagonist is shown in a cut scene wearing a sleeping cap and snoring lightly, similar to the ending of SMB2.
  • Super Mario Bros 2 – A city park is named “Okie Dokie Picnic Zone”, which closely resembles Dokie Dokie Panic, the game that was redeveloped into the North American version of SMB2 after developers decided that the original version was too difficult.
  • Super Mario Bros 3 – During a dream sequence, the player is whisked off his feet and placed into a tank by a mini tornado that appears from off screen.
  • Tenacious D – Billboards for the “Bodacious B” cassette can be seen throughout the city.

These turtle boys won’t cut you no slack.

  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Four green turtle men wielding various melee weapons arise from the sewer and attack the player.
  • ThunderCats – The logo for “Wonder Hats”, a business found throughout the city, looks very similar to the ThunderCats logo.
  • Trailer Park Boys – The job of Assistant Supervisor for Sunnyside Trailer Park is advertised in a local newspaper.  The phone number listed is 709-555-bubs.
  • Vanilla Ice – “Vanilla Ice Cream” billboards found throughout the city feature an ice cream cone wearing sunglasses.
  • Video Games – The protagonist is named “Player”.
  • Zelda – Hearts serve as collectable health items.
  • Zelda – When the player’s health reaches a dangerously low level, a brief alert noise can be heard.

Keep in mind that all these were found after completing only the first 10% of the game! To experience all that Retro City Rampage has to offer, check out the game on Steam, PSN, or head to http://www.retrocityrampage.com.  If you find anything we missed, let us know in the comments!

About The Author

5 Responses

  1. Gage Dickerson

    Not to reply way to late or anything, but I thought the tornado in the dream sequence was a Zelda reference.


Leave a Reply