Originally starting out as amateur game designer Brian Provinciano's attempt to translate Grand Theft Auto III to the NES, Retro City Rampage is an open-world game packed full of homages to 8-bit gaming and 1980's pop culture. In fact, the game has so much content that it almost seems overstuffed at points.

Even though the game primarily takes place, like the first two GTA games, in a city viewed from the top down where you're free to hijack vehicles and employ implements of destruction in order to complete your task, many of the missions introduce new play mechanics. For instance, one level might have you sneaking around ala Metal Gear Solid, while others are platformers "inspired" by Super Mario Bros. This doesn't even figure in the side games, which are official crossovers from other indie entries such as Bit.Trip Runner. The constant switchup in gameplay leads to the player never getting into a real groove.

Despite this problem, there's more than enough fun to be had here to warrant a recommendation, especially if you are a fan of the 8-bit era and will be able to catch all the references. It's really nice to see a game like this put out on WiiWare, which is clogged with kiddie-oriented fare featuring obtuse tacked-on Wiimote control schemes.

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