Remember the name Brian Provinciano. Why? Because he's been laboring for years working on Retro City Rampage. You might not have heard of this game yet, but you're going to. It'll be coming to the Wii and "other platforms" sometime later, and when it does, you're in for a treat. Somehow Brian has figured out a way to plug an 8-bit stream directly into the gaming / pop-culture center of your brain, and turn it into this magical video game.
What is Retro City Rampage? Well, if Grand Theft Auto had originally been created by a slightly demented genius for the NES, this is what you would have ended up with. You play the game as The Player, fittingly, and you're a very bad guy. You're charged with defeating the Evil Good Guys, and triumphing as you run through Theftropolis City. You'll do that by driving over 30 different vehicles, and wielding 20 different weapons.
And along the way you'll encounter video game and film characters that feel very familiar. There's a Bomberman clone, someone who resembles Mega Man, and an area that you'll swear looks just like Hyrule. Long before Doc Brown screeches up in a DeLorean, you're hooked. There's even a "Dark Bank Heist" level, where a fellow baddie named Jester (get it?) is busy robbing a bank and fleeing in a school bus.
We were playing a Wii using the Classic Controller, and the controls feel retro: move up, down, left or right with the D-pad, push the B button to jump, Y to attack (hold it for lock-on targeting). You can push the A button when you're near objects or people to pick them up, then hit A again to throw them. The right trigger puts you behind cover, and hitting it again gets you out. The X button steals a car, and there are bonus points if you gank a car and toss the driver out into another pedestrian.
Driving is similar, although you can switch the driving options between two different control schemes: directional or steering. Direction uses the D-pad to maneuver, while steering uses the B button as the gas, the A button to reverse, and hold both to brake. Use left and right on the D-pad to steer. Provinciano is still toying with having that be context sensitive, and admits it's one of the hardest parts for same gamers to wrap their head around.
Inside the world itself, you're able to kill people with any of your weapons, or you can simply hop on their heads and collect coins from them. It's a huge, open world, and just like GTA there are cops who will give chase to you on sight should your wanted level rise. Encounter special missions, seek out new and exotic weapons, and just ... go nuts. You play it however you want to play it.
I could go on about this game for a long time, but the gameplay footage above speaks for itself. Provinciano has really given gamers a treat here, and he's even gone so far as to create fake NES carts for the game, fake old school receipts, and lots more retro-ness. We'll update you when we hear more, but this game was one of the most popular titles in the PAX 10, and we're hoping to see it sooner rather than later.