10 Japanese retro classics we’d love to see on Evercade

 10 Japanese retro classics we’d love to see on Evercade

The Evercade retro gaming handheld has been out on the market for a while now, and has already built up a substantial library of classic games — including some top-notch Japanese fare.

There’s still a lot of retro games out there unaccounted for, though — so what would be the dream Japanese games to have on the system? Let’s speculate and ponder!

Cleopatra Fortune (Taito)

Evercade games we'd like to see.

Cleopatra Fortune is one of Taito’s less well-known puzzlers from the ’90s, but it’s a hell of a great game. Offering an interesting twist on the falling block puzzle formula, Cleopatra Fortune challenges you to either make complete lines of blocks a la Tetris, or to completely enclose jewels and other shiny treasures in “tombs” to claim them and the valuable points they’re worth.

Cleopatra Fortune is primarily noteworthy for one of the most irritatingly infectious pieces of music of all time, courtesy of Taito’s in-house sound team ZUNTATA — and most of the home ports managed to mess this up in some way. (The PS1 version in particular was notoriously awful!) As such, if we ever see this on Evercade, let’s hope it’s the arcade version.

R-Type (Irem)

We'd love to see R-Type on the Evercade.

R-Type is a horizontally scrolling shoot ’em up in which you take command of a lone spacecraft on its way to face down the evil, monstrous Bydo empire. Featuring an incredibly memorable mechanical-organic look and feel to all its enemies, R-Type is a legendary game that it’d be great to see celebrated on the Evercade.

R-Type is an all-time classic of the shoot ’em up genre, despite its notoriously unforgiving and brutal level of difficulty. VTuber Korone spent nearly 12 hours straight playing R-Type recently, and the long-awaited R-Type Final 2 is just around the corner — so it’d be a fine time to see the original games make a comeback on Evercade.

Gradius (Konami)

We'd love to see Gradius on Evercade.

Like R-Type, the Gradius games from Konami are all-time classics of the scrolling shoot ’em up genre, and also offer a stiff challenge. There are a fair few Gradius games to explore from over the years, too; it’d be great to see something along the lines of the Gradius Collection that was available for PSP a few years back, for example.

Gradius is beloved for its distinctive power-up system, where you collect coloured pods to cycle around a series of weapon options at the bottom of the screen. By making use of these pods at the right time, you can outfit your Vic Viper with some serious tools of destruction — but one slip means you’ll lose everything! Just don’t fling your Evercade at the wall when that inevitably happens…

Dragon Quest (Square Enix)

We'd love to see Dragon Quest V on Evercade.

The Final Fantasy series has been rereleased a bunch of times over the years and, make no mistake, it’d be great to see them on the Evercade. But it’d be even better to see the classic Dragon Quest games get another chance on the Evercade — because a lot of these haven’t seen a decent quality rerelease or port since the Nintendo DS era.

If Square Enix do decide to do this, however, we’ll all have to put our hands together and pray that they use the good old classic pixel art instead of those horrific sprites they used on the mobile and PC versions of Final Fantasy, and the recent Switch versions of the first three Dragon Quest games…

Breath of Fire (Capcom)

We'd love to see Breath of Fire IV on Evercade.

With Capcom releasing the first two Breath of Fire games on the Nintendo Switch online service, it proves they remember this great series of RPGs exist. And with more RPGs being one of the most requested things for future Evercade cartridges, a Breath of Fire collection, covering the first four games on Super NES and PlayStation, would be a very welcome addition to the system’s library.

Featuring distinctive character designs, compelling stories and the ability to turn into a dragon, the Breath of Fire games very much have their own distinct personality about them — and it’d be great to see some of these titles again on Evercade after so many years.

Gunbird (Psikyo)

We'd love to see Gunbird on Evercade.

Psikyo shooters are great fun, and the two Gunbird games are some of their best work. Blending a distinctly ’90s anime style with fast action, noisy, chaotic shooting, the Gunbird games offer a variety of playable characters, some delightfully silly setpieces and a wide range of endings according to the characters you choose to play as.

Psikyo games also tend to be fairly flexible on the difficulty front, too — even if the lower tiers of difficulty tend to get increasingly insulting towards the player! This makes them a good addition to the Evercade’s library, as they’re broadly accessible to newcomers while still offering a challenge to grizzled veterans.

Ninja Gaiden (Koei Tecmo)

We'd love to see Ninja Gaiden on Evercade.

With the more recent 3D Ninja Gaiden games on the way to current platforms, it’d be great to see the classic NES and arcade titles return on the Evercade. Challenging platformers are a great fit for handheld play — particularly with the ability to make use of save states if you’re struggling — and the Ninja Gaiden games are some of the most challenging around!

A complete collection of all the classic Ninja Gaiden games together would be great — it’d be fun to play the beat ’em up-style arcade games again, as well as getting increasingly sweary at the precise jumps and tricky enemies of the NES games!

Super Monaco GP (Sega)

We'd love to see Super Monaco GP on Evercade.

Sega made some great racing games, but all we ever seem to see get rereleased is OutRun. Not that there’s anything wrong with OutRun, it’d just be nice to see some other classics from back in the day getting a rerelease.

To that end, I nominate Super Monaco GP, simply because it hasn’t had a lot of love and attention over the years. It’s a fun, speedy racer — and the excellent Mega Drive version offers both the original arcade game experience and a more substantial career mode to take on.

Crystalis (SNK)

We'd love to see Crystalis on Evercade.

SNK’s 1990 action RPG would be a great fit for the Evercade — and would once again appeal to those who hunger for some more substantial adventures to enjoy on the platform.

Awakening after the great nuclear war of 1997, it’s your job to ensure humanity doesn’t repeat the same mistakes twice — but the tyrannical Draygonian Empire has other ideas!

Xanadu Next (Falcom)

We'd love to see Xanadu Next on Evercade.

And also on the action RPG front, it’d be great to see the Evercade play host to some classic Falcom titles that haven’t seen many rereleases over the years.

Xanadu Next is a particularly enjoyable game that blends elements of the company’s iconic Ys series with elements of western action RPGs such as Diablo. The game got a modern PC release via GOG.com and Steam a while back — but this ran on the Nokia N-Gage back in the day, so I’m sure the Evercade could handle it!

What other classic Japanese retro games would you like to see on the Evercade? Let us know in the comments or via the usual social channels.

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Pete Davison
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