Retro-Bit has been doing some excellent work in the field of physical re-releases of classic video games, having already given us new versions of R-Type III, Holy Diver and Undercover Cops, as well as collections for the NES and SNES.
For its next trick, Retro-Bit is reviving one of the Mega Drive / Genesis’ most beloved shmups, Gaiares – which was the first game to receive a ‘perfect’ set of scores from a reviewer in US magazine GamePro.
Developed in 1990 by Telenet Japan and published by Renovation in both Japan and North America, this horizontally-scrolling blaster has a unique gameplay hook in that you can ‘steal’ the weapons of enemies using the ‘TOZ System’ (which is a bit like R-Type’s Force pod). 18 different weapon types are on offer, and the more times you use the TOZ against the same enemy, the more powerful the stolen weapon becomes.
Those of you old and crusty enough to recall the release of Gaiares in the west might recall the mulleted star of the game’s promotional campaign, ‘professional gamer’ Jamie Bunker. Retro-Bit has enlisted Bunker to recreate the magazine advert he starred in back in 1990, which is a nice touch. The game will even include an interview with him. According to Sega Retro, Bunker joined Renovation in 1989 as a video game tester and now works as Staff Program Manager at Seagate Technology.
The new physical version of the game will include the following items:
- Translucent Tektite Cartridge
- Full-colored instruction manual
- Reversible cartridge Inlay sleeve
- Individually numbered certificate of authenticity
- Exclusive interview with James Bunker
- Embellished slipcover
- Free Commemorative T-Shirt
- Each sale will provide a donation to the Videogame History Foundation
According to Retro-Bit, there won’t be a digital release of the game on modern systems, and there are no other plans for more reprints – so once it’s gone, it’s gone. As noted above, a donation from each sale will go to the Video Game History Foundation.
Retro-Bit has also confirmed that the cart will be compatible with North American and PAL consoles, as well as “most” third-party consoles that are able to run Genesis/Mega Drive cartridges. However, due to the shape of the cartridge, it won’t fit in Japanese Mega Drive consoles.
Retro-Bit also states that the cart uses a 5-volt chip “to retain your console’s performance” and that its edge connector is bevelled “to allow for proper insertion without damaging the pins in the cartridge slot”. This might seem like an odd thing to mention, but other re-releases – such as Gleylancer – came with unbevelled edges.