LifeisXbox’s QUByte Classics Radical Rex Review | Originally made for the portable Nintendo Gameboy in 1993 and then for other systems such as Super NES and Mega Drive in 1994, QUBytes Classics Radical Rex has now been brought to the current gen in the original two formats which you can choose from. Developed by Piko Interactive LLC and published by QUByte Interactive, some of us have been given the option to relive older gaming memories in the modern day and age. By playing as Radical Rex, a Tyrannosaurus Rex, your job is to beat various platforming levels in an attempt to save the dinosaur race as the most remarkable dinosaur there is. Whether you choose to play the portable version or the 16-Bit one, make your way across the levels in this nostalgic version using whichever actions you have available until you reach the end of your journey. Find out more about what I thought below.
ℹ️ Reviewed on Xbox Series S | Review code provided by PR/publisher. This review is the personal opinion of the writer.
What we Liked!
- Casual platformer | As Radical Rex is an action and adventure platformer title, the gameplay is pretty straightforward to learn and play. You have to jump or skateboard across levels while avoiding damage and death until you reach the end, all while collecting eggs along the way; although not essential. It might sound simple enough but you only have a set amount of lives, each made up of either three damageable hearts (portable) or a health bar (16-Bit), in which to complete the level. It gives people the chance to learn what is upcoming in the level and the best way around any obstacles they may come face to face with. You are also given a time limit in the portable version to be mindful of meaning you can’t stop for too long on your run.
- Target audience | Whether you are playing Radical Rex with a fresh pair of eyes or are someone who has played the 1993/4 versions, I think there is an appeal for both sets of players. It keeps the original enticing gameplay and visuals so people can relive their prior experience and the fun that comes with it or people can appreciate an old classic that has been made available to the current generation consoles. No matter which side you come under, I think Radical Rex can appeal to almost anyone but perhaps for different reasons. For example, I reminisced about playing on my GameBoy so it gave me major nostalgic value and a new gaming experience as I had never played the originals.
- Different mechanics | In the portable version of Radical Rex, the only two things you are able to do is move and jump; there is not a single way you can fight back or defend yourself. This means you have to be far more careful around anything that has the ability to damage you. Then, when moving onto the 16-Bit version, you have two defensive options – kick and fire breath. Although it does make the gameplay a tad easier, it can be confusing going from one to the other. I guess if you want more of a challenge, then I would recommend the portable but if you want more room for error, 16-Bit might suit you better.
- Change with visuals | Between both versions of Radical Rex, there is a clear difference in the starting appearance with one sporting the use of four green colours of varying contrast and the other using a multitude of colours to enhance what we see on screen. As we know, GameBoy is well known for its unique visuals that most people will recognise and appreciate for what they were at the time but they don’t quite hit the same spot they used to. The quality of the visuals has not been touched either which left much to be desired. Therefore, I much preferred playing the 16-Bit version in terms of visuals which appealed to me the most, having that extra level of depth and more colour made me enjoy the gameplay more and appreciate how far modern gaming has advanced.
- Additional options | There was a small selection of four filters for portable (Blue, Black/White, Yellow, and Red) and four others for 16-Bit (Smooth, Sharp, CRT or XBR) to choose from should you want a different look to your game and three screen modes which included stretch, fit, and normal while the portable mode had Blue, Black/White, Yellow, and Red. This allows you to play on a bigger screen instead of the square format used on the older platforms as I can imagine the majority of people don’t game on a 1×1 monitor or television. Although it’s nice to have customisation, there isn’t really any need for the filters in my opinion but I would always expect to have access to larger screen size options for modernisation and ease purposes. In terms of difficulty, when playing the 16-Bit mode, you can change this to either easy, normal, or hard depending on what you would prefer but not with portable.
- Manual saves | Thankfully if you manage to get past a level perfectly without taking any damage, you can save your game when you start the next one to start from there next time instead of repeating what you’ve already perfected. This was a Godsend to me as it meant I could take breaks in between sessions without losing any important progress. There is no autosave feature so it’s essential you remember to save frequently otherwise you could be left disappointed should you forget. I didn’t expect this to be included so it was definitely a positive point but I think autosave should have kicked in after a level perhaps. Again, this is most likely down to the age of the original game.
What we Disliked
- Emulation issues | To my, and I’m sure many people’s disappointment, there were numerous issues with the performance of the gameplay with visual and gameplay problems getting in the way of smooth gameplay. I experienced incredibly poor input delay that can essentially make the difference between a successful and failed run, with accurate jumping and dodging being key factors – especially when around hazards that cause instadeath. Secondly, I encountered some screen tearing at times that was rather distracting and off-putting when cruising through levels. Finally, there were shimmering issues I encountered due to playing a standard resolution game at high resolution, causing the ratio to be unhappy. The flickering bar at the bottom of the screen was slightly irritating to see; hard not to though.
- Clunky controls | I’ll be honest – it took me longer than anticipated to understand the button mapping with the 16-Bit version. I don’t know about other people but, for me, jump tends to be A and X would be perhaps a melee button – not the opposite way around. Thankfully, this can be changed within the in-game options which was a huge relief for me. This did not however stop the input lag from being a major problem, making the ability to change button mapping not even relevant in the grand scheme of things. Therefore, you can only imagine Radical Rex was far from the best gameplay experience for me.
- No modern version | It should be known that Radical Rex is purely a generic platformer which has been rereleased way past its time and doesn’t really bring anything else to the table. If you were hoping for some type of remaster or modernised game, you won’t find what you’re looking for but if you would like to play a classic platformer from the 90s in 2022, you are in the perfect place and looking at the right game to quench your thirst and gameplay needs. I really do reckon Radical Rex could have done with an entire radical makeover!
- Unattractive interface | Sorry to say but the user interface was too large and in charge for my liking, taking up too much of the screen and not looking good in the process. I understand there is important information that players need to see but it just didn’t sit right with me. As an older game that used to be played in a far different setting back when it was first released, perhaps that is just something which has improved with games over time and isn’t applied to rereleased titles to keep the game within its classic perimeters.
How long to beat the story | Approximately 2-3 Hours
How long to achieve 1000G | Approximately 5-6 Hours
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Hello, I’m Victoria. I’m from the UK and have been playing video games for as long as I can remember; back on DreamCast. I’ve pretty much fallen for Xbox since I was around eight years old and remember BioShock being my first game on the Xbox360. Although I find it thoroughly enjoyable to not only experience gameplay, I also find comfort in getting lost and engrossed in the online worlds that sometimes differ greatly from what we know. Another side of my Xbox passion would be achievement hunting and gamerscore. I thrive when I hear the little sound of one popping up on the screen and I’m always finding ways to work on my backlog when possible. Horror is my favourite genre so if you have any recommendations, don’t be afraid to send them my way!