EA to Re-release an Original Ultima for the Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP)?!

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Bill Loguidice's picture

Sony's PSPSony's PSPFor $20, Electronic Arts plans to release the following games on one UMD disc for the PSP: B.O.B., Road Rash II, Budokan, Road Rash III, Desert Strike, Syndicate, Jungle Strike, Ultima: The Black Gate, Haunting Starring Polterguy, Virtual Pinball, Mutant League Football, Wing Commander, Road Rash, and Wing Commander: Secret Missions.

I don't know about you, but I find that pretty amazing! How they can possibly translate the controls from complex software like Ultima VII: The Black Gate is beyond me, but between that and the Wing Commander games, they must have a hell of a PC emulation engine going for the PSP. I'm happy to own the system just for this, and it has a killer price point to match. Call me stunned and actually pleasantly surprised in regards to EA going ahead with this.

EDIT/UPDATE: Thanks to member, flojomojo, it was pointed out that all of those games had SNES and Genesis versions, which is obviously what this collection is based on. Both controllers, but particularly the SNES', are quite friendly to the PSP layout and the games have therefore already been made console friendly...

The full press release:

Press Release Source: Electronic Arts Inc.

EA Embraces 90's Nostalgia With EA Replay
Friday September 1, 8:00 am ET
14 Classic Console Games From EA Will Be Available on the PSP

REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 1, 2006--Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:ERTS - News) announced today that it will release a compilation of EA games from the 90's exclusively for the PSP® (PlayStation® Portable) system under the EA(TM) brand. The game is under production in Vancouver, B.C. by EA Canada, EA's main hub for PSP development, and will ship to retailers November 7, 2006. Let EA bring you back to a simpler time when the dawn of gaming's golden age took hold. EA(TM) Replay is a throw back to what you loved about videogames in the first place.

"We're very excited to be offering PSP consumers an unprecedented glimpse into EA's past," said David McCarthy, executive producer on the project. "EA Replay is a rich compilation of classic EA IP that stays true to the original experiences, while offering modern gamers additional features geared towards on-the-go game play."

EA Replay promises to deliver a great console experience on-the-go for all 14 games including hit franchises such as the Strike series, Road Rash(TM), and Wing Commander(TM). Go head-to-head with friends in multiplayer on select titles, unlock original game art, and save your game at any point. Let the memories come rushing back and take the fun of the 90's wherever you go with EA Replay. The complete title list is as follows:

B.O.B. Road Rash(TM) II

Budokan Road Rash(TM) III

Desert Strike Syndicate

Jungle Strike Ultima(TM): The Black Gate

Haunting Starring Polterguy Virtual Pinball

Mutant League Football Wing Commander(TM)

Road Rash(TM) Wing Commander(TM): Secret Missions

EA Replay will be available exclusively for the PSP system with an MSRP of $19.99. This game has not yet been rated by the ESRB. Media can find screen shots and a fact sheet at http://info.ea.com.

About Electronic Arts

Electronic Arts Inc. (EA), headquartered in Redwood City, California, is the world's leading interactive entertainment software company. Founded in 1982, the company develops, publishes, and distributes interactive software worldwide for videogame systems, personal computers and the Internet. Electronic Arts markets its products under four brand names: EA SPORTS(TM), EA(TM), EA SPORTS BIG(TM) and POGO(TM). In fiscal 2006, EA posted revenue of $2.95 billion and had 27 titles that sold more than one million copies. EA's homepage and online game site is www.ea.com. More information about EA's products and full text of press releases can be found on the Internet at http://info.ea.com.

Electronic Arts, EA, EA SPORTS, EA SPORTS BIG, POGO, Road Rash, Ultima and Wing Commander are trademarks or registered trademarks of Electronic Arts Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries. PlayStation and PSP are registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.

Contact:

Electronic Arts Inc.
Jen Riley, 604-456-5081
jriley@ea.com
Robin Chandler, 650-628-3610
rchandler@ea.com

Source: Electronic Arts Inc.

Comments

Matt Barton
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Joined: 01/16/2006
Syndicate

I'd get it just for the game Syndicate. This is, I assume, Bull Frog's classic action strategy game? I loved that game so much on my Amiga.

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flojomojo
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Joined: 09/01/2006
They're SNES and Genesis ports.

Don't be too stunned -- there were Super Nintendo ports of both Ultima Black Gate and Wing Commander. Secret Missions was the SNES sequel to Wing Commander. All three will be fun but they aren't as sophisticated as their PC parents. Still, it's a fun set of games and one wonders if they're using the same Genesis/Megadrive emulator as the Sega collection.

Bill Loguidice
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SNES and Genesis, that's no doubt it!

Ah, you're right flojomojo, I should have thought of that! I didn't remember Black Gate getting a SNES port, but I certainly remember the Wing Commander games. Yep, that would definitely explain all of it, save for Syndicate, which I only remember getting a 3DO port, though I'll have to look into it more. Still, as you say, it's a fun set and a good deal and would definitely translate well to the PSP, since it has a similar controller layout...

=================================
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.
[ My collection ]
[ http://www.MythCore.com ]

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Fighter17 (not verified)
Missing Urban

Missing Urban strike.

Where's General Chaos?

The list doesn't make me go "wow."

Mat Tschirgi (not verified)
Wing Commander SNES Controls

The Wing Commander SNES games had convoluted controls that somewhat worked, but nothing feels as natural as playing a space flight-sim with a joystick/keyboard combo. Still, the port of Wing Commander for the SNES is what got me into that series in the first place.

The Wing Commander SNES games were just as sophisticated as their PC counterparts, though the SNES ones were censored somewhat. Angel, one of the female copilots, had her earrings removed in the SNES version and Hunter, an Austrlian male copilot, wasn't smoking a cigar in the SNES version either. The changes were mild and the in-game text is still the same; still the SNES Secret Missions port was lacking the second Secret Missions expansion for WC1.

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Bill Loguidice
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Tough to say it's not a great deal...

It doesn't make you go "wow", huh Fighter17? Obviously this is one of those things that comes down to "personal preference", but I do find it hard to believe that in this particular case, especially for $20, it's hard to say this is not a good deal. These are not simple twitch games, a lot of these like the Ultima and Wing Commander games, not to mention Syndicate, etc., take a long, long time to complete. Many of these are epics mixed in with more twitch style games like the Road Rash series (a personal favorite on the Genesis). Sure, it's missing games like Mutant League Hockey and what-not, but I'd happily pay another $20 for another pack of this caliber with that and games like Urban Strike. I also like the idea of favorable save state systems and the other bonuses no doubt thanks to the emulation. The games should also look quite sharp on the PSP screen, though they'll have to address the widescreen issue...

=================================
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.
[ My collection ]
[ http://www.MythCore.com ]

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Fighter17 (not verified)
The problem with..

the collection is that EA would let only two of the Strike games on a UMD disc, but won't add in the third game in a series? I find that lazy on EA's part. The collection would be better in my belief that General Chaos should be on the game list. That game would be perfect for the PSP's mutliplayer (after all, the game was a four player game). Save States are nice, but in the end it does kind of ruined the game experince (for me at least).

While Wing Commander and Ultima are nice, EA should had use some of its better titles on the collection (not many people are fond of B.O.B., but people sure remember M.U.L.E.).

Matt Barton
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Joined: 01/16/2006
Archon

MULE would be a perfect game for multiplayer! Wow, there's definitely potential there. I would also add the classic game Archon.

However, it doesn't seem to me that this collection is really 8-bit retro. I haven't heard of any of these games except for Syndicate.

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Bill Loguidice
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Exactly, as was discovered,

Exactly, as was discovered, these are SNES and Genesis conversions, so classics like M.U.L.E. and Archon and all the original album cover games don't have a place. That is until they get their C-64 emulator working. $20 is hard to argue with, like I said, particularly for a mix of twitch and in-depth games. The Ultima game alone probably provides more playing time than your typical UMD...

=================================
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.
[ My collection ]
[ http://www.MythCore.com ]

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Bill Loguidice
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I just picked up "EA Replay"

I just picked up "EA Replay" for $19.99 plus tax. It is indeed all its cracked up to be and more. I also wanted to pick up the Sega collection, but since that was $29.99, I chose to pass, even though I wanted it to just check out the Genesis Phantasy Star series. In any case, I'll put that down for a future purchase along with the Capcom collection.

In any case, shocker of shockers, EA got this totally right, including the price. I haven't tried every game, but there is a choice of wide screen or original aspect ratios, pretty good control flexibility and mid-game saves. The visuals are crisp, even in wide screen mode, and the sound is better than ever, particularly with headphones (the music is a standout on a lot of these titles, while the sound effects, particularly the speech, are a bit muffled, as was the norm on a lot of these). There are also unlockables and you can play three of the games via ad-hoc multiplayer. A particularly nice touch is that somehow these likely SNES and Genesis emulated games (or is it all SNES?) have had their in-game menu systems modified to point to the correct PSP button. For instance, in Mutant League Football, when you call plays, it actually shows the circle, square or triangle button assignments rather than the original controller's tags. Nice stuff.

The list of titles are as follows: B.O.B., Budokan The Martial Spirit, Desert Strike, Haunting Starring Polterguy (highly original - I used to own it), Jungle Strike, Mutant League Football (frankly a more interesting version of Madden), Road Rash I - III, Syndicate, Ultima: The Black Gate, Virtual Pinball (spiritual sequel to Pinball Construction Set by I believe the same guy), Wing Commander and Wing Commander Secret Missions.

How could you not like that? $20, GOOD 16-bit games and optimized for the PSP. Did I mention the load times? Very fast, even on first load, and it's easy to switch out to other games. I can't wait to try out the rest...

======================================
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.
(A PC Magazine Top 100 Website)
======================================

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