Remember the 80's? It was a much simpler time, when Valley Girls were all the rage, Tiffany could make a living out of mall tours and this little thing called WarGames was the closest thing we got to Global Thermonuclear War. It wasn't always great times (especially when Howard the Duck roamed about, ouch) but for those growing up in that era, there was nothing like it.
If you somehow missed out on it or you just feel the need to revisit it without actually chopping a Flock of Seagulls inspired haircut into your skull, then this article will bring you back. There are several games now that feature an inspired 80's look to them, whether you're into action or the revival of a popular franchise that bloomed during that time.
So sit back, relax (don't do it) and chill with some 80's inspired goodness!
Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded (PC, mobile)
You can forget all about the ridiculous Leisure Suit Larry games of late that hit current gen consoles (especially that cruddy 360 release) and instead hunker back to a simpler time of sexism, when Larry was just a guy trying to get some action while enduring a number of puzzles along the way.
Thanks to KickStarter, Al Lowe and his team are returning to the good ol' adult-oriented days of the series, which lean more on suggestive jokes and using your head to resolve situations than full-on nudity and relationship troubles. Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded is a fine tribute to the older Lowe games, with Paul Trowe and his dedicated team at Replay Games retaining the classic 80's flavor that the original games had.
There's plenty of flirting and humorous situations to get through, but it's really all about Larry eventually finding that girl of his dreams and managing to win her over – even if she is twice his height. It doesn't hurt that the music for Reloaded is being done by Austin Wintory, the same Grammy-nominated composer who made Journey so magical last year. (This is a completely different style of soundtrack, mimicking the old-school jazz the older Leisure Suit Larry games had.)
It's good to see Larry is back to his slimy ways. Be sure to check out Reloaded when it launches early this summer for mobile platforms and Steam/PC.
Double Dragon Neon (Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network)
When Contra IV and Mighty Switch Force developer WayForward launched Double Dragon Neon last year, it not only brought back beaming memories of the classic beat-em-ups featuring Billy and Jimmy Lee, but also the 80's themselves. The game featured an inspired soundtrack backed by plenty of ridiculous fashion statements, whether it was thugs with puffy afros or fashion styles that would make Don Johnson blush.
However, WayForward knew what kind of cheesy territory it was crossing into and relished in it. The game is filled with plenty of tongue-in-cheek humor, whether it's main boss Skullmageddon cracking all-too-obvious jokes to himself or in-game decor that matches what you'd find in any given Dolph Lundgren action film. (Yes we're looking at you Showdown In Little Tokyo.) But it balanced this act with the kind of raucous fighting action that Double Dragon had become known for, pleasing both long-time fans of the series and newcomers alike – a feat that's not easy to do when your soundtrack mimics old Sheena Easton tracks.
Check out the game for yourself now on Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network. If you're an 80's child, you'll definitely be glad you did. (And if you don't believe us, check out this soundtrack sample.)
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon (Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network)
Finally, we have a game that could easily be the most inspired 80's title to date, one that takes most of the first-person shooting mechanics of last year's critically praised Far Cry 3 and wraps it around a ridiculous 80's universe. As a colleague of ours stated, "It's so bad, it's good." Welcome to Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon.
Set for release sometime next month on the download front, the game revolves around a cyber commando named Rex Colt voiced by veteran actor Michael Biehn (star of 80's favorites Terminator and Aliens) as he battles against any poor soul who manages to get in his way. Judging by what we've seen from gameplay footage, the game has no problem going over the top with action, whether you're bringing down enemies with an assault rifle or driving around in a space buggy. Like the original Far Cry, Blood Dragon is open world rewarding exploration with a number of missions to choose from. And the fact you don't need the original game to partake in what's happening here is a nice touch – though that shouldn't stop you from owning it already.
Perhaps where Blood Dragon is most memorable is with its presentation. It's completely inspired by the 80's through and through, whether it's the ridiculous neon lighting that you'd find in any given night club in the era or the over-the-top sci-fi action resembling cheesy 80's fare like I Come In Peace or The Hidden. Some might say it's a little too overloaded in the decade, but that's kind of the point. We're expecting Ronald Reagan references to pop out of the woodwork somewhere.
More official details will be coming for Blood Dragon in the weeks ahead and we'll follow up with a full strategic preview as its release grows closer. But for now, you're going to get the best of both worlds – a competitive shooter coupled with one of the wackiest decades out there that's wrapped into one convenient downloadable package. The only thing missing is a KITT car from Knight Rider…but who knows what'll be added via DLC in the months ahead?
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon releases sometime next month for Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network.
What are your favorite 80's inspired games, dude?