Cold Vengeance Review
What’s Cooler Than Being Cool?
Cold Vengeance is a game that knows exactly what it wants to be and has no pretenses of trying to win favors outside of its intended demographic. If you’re a child of the ’90s and have a great deal of nostalgia for N64 games, Renegade Sector has made something for you. Chunky polygons, distorted music, yellow fog to compensate for draw distance, limited gameplay that recalls Sin and Punishment – it’s all here. The thing is that, unlike so many games that try hard to be ‘retro,’ this is one that feels authentic. More importantly, though, it succeeds where others fail by actually being fun to play.
Developer: Renegade Sector Games
Publisher: Renegade Sector Games
Release: January 11, 2017
64GB DDR4 RAM
Nvidia GTX 1080 Founder’s Edition
The basic premise of the game is that Canada militarizes, becomes a police state, then launches a full-scale invasion of America. America is thrown into turmoil and subsequently bombed to high hell, and it’s up to Jon Dagger to step in and save the day. Complete with an art style that recalls the weirdest Adult Swim shows and some distinctly tongue-in-cheek dialogue that lovingly lampoons ’80s action flicks, the humor in this game is esoteric and off-the-cuff – weird and wacky without feeling forced. It made me laugh out loud more than any game in the last few years, and I appreciate that.
I also appreciate the fact that Cold Vengeance is a complete blast to play, playing like what Contra ought to be in 3D. Players run down branching corridors and blast the living hell out of soldiers, helicopters and robotic scorpions, while picking up power-ups like scattershot and homing missiles. As the game progresses, it becomes something of a 3D bullet hell game, with a dozen enemies shooting tons of things at you at any given point. As a fan of these types of games, I loved stumbling onto something that got me back into my Contra and TouHou mindset – focusing on the empty space between enemy fire so I could return fire and keep going.
Cold Vengeance might not necessarily be as hard as either of those titles – it takes around two-ish hours to complete – but it’s just as inventive. There is some genuinely ingenious level design at work here, with a mastery over branching, multi-tiered levels being put on full display. Some boss stages even take up whole levels, which makes for a fun and challenging spectacle that lasts longer than the typical boss encounters that happen at every level’s end.
From top to bottom, Renegade Sector has crafted something that has a lot of heart and the sound mechanical design to back it up. There’s clearly a lot of love that went into making this game what it is, and a lot of passion for the era of games that it acts as a deliberate throwback to. I’m thrilled that a developer was able to capture so much of what made late ’90s N64 gaming so great.
” [Cold Vengance] was able to capture so much of what made late ’90s N64 gaming so great”
For fifteen bucks, Cold Vengeance delivers a few hours of decidedly retro entertainment, great writing, and tight gameplay that never ceases to please. I can only hope that this isn’t the last we see of Jon Dagger.