Yesterday, Slipgate Studios and THQ Nordic released an updated version of the 2018 platformer game Rad Rodgers, dubbed the Radical Edition as the game’s debut on the Nintendo Switch and as a free patch for the PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One releases. This version, apart from bug fixes, includes a 2-player co-op mode, new levels, new mini-games, a photo mode, and its main selling feature: the ability to unlock and play as various characters who aren’t just Rad and Dusty, and they’re all characters who are parts of IPs that are or were once owned by 3D Realms (with the necessary licenses, of course): Duke Nukem, Lo Wang, Shelly “Bombshell” Harrison, Cosmo, Evil Rad, and an inhabitant of the game’s in-game world, if that makes sense, and each of these characters has a unique melee attack. (Technically, this is the first official released game where Duke and Bombshell can be seen at the same time, which 3D Realms has been attempted several times since 1996!)
Here at GameFront, we had access to some beta builds while the Radical Edition was being developed, and I’d like to share some impressions with you. Keep in mind that I hadn’t played the original version beforehand.
"Reunited and it feels so good..."
The general jist of the plot is that Rad Rodgers, an avid gamer kid, is sucked into his TV one night and enters the world of a video game, and is joined by his game console, who is somehow sentient, named Dusty, and is a useful companion. As he traverses the game world, he faces a force that corrupted it and helps the remaining unaffected inhabitants while fighting off the ones who turned aggressive. Rad, or another character who replaces him in this version, has a gun which can change ammo types depending on power-ups that act like switches, while Dusty is there to not just help in platforming sections, but also in the “glitched” parts of the game world where he must get through dangerous corridors to solve a puzzle, and if he is harmed, he loses points in his separate bar that holds collectible “shards” that are basically his health. A level ends when all the parts of a circular key that opens a large gate are found and assembled.
Even as someone who does not really play platformers, I found this game quite fun. The characters make good use of their quotes and are neatly modeled considering the cartoony universe (fun fact: Bombshell’s model is the exact same that was used for the Ion Maiden Founders Edition figurine!), so the game gets even more likeable once you unlock your favourite one. The shooting is quite satisfying and the alternate ammo types behave pretty much as you’d expect them to (e.g. the grenade launcher sends ricocheting grenades), and both you and the enemies can shoot up and down less solid platforms like those made out of wooden logs (if you’ve played platform/shooter games like Metal Slug, you might be familiar with this). The movement on vertical and horizontal beams works and blends with the rest of the game perfectly. The soundtrack is nice to listen to, and tries to push the nostalgia buttons in our gamer brains to reminisce a time when games were simpler and more lively. Although the game is rated M by the ESRB and 16 by PEGI, the game is still viable for
indoctr... educating younger gamers with games that are more wholesome than the overblown Fortnite, since the mature language and blood effects can be turned off in the game’s settings. As of the Radical Edition update, there’s 10 ever-larger levels to beat, not counting the mini-games in between, so you have quite a bit of “homework” to do if you want to beat the game.
Despite the seemingly cheerful and childlike tone, things get quite bloody very fast.
On a bit of the downside, some of the game’s unique mechanics (in particular, the “glitch” puzzles) are explained only once, and if you’ve accidentally pressed the Continue key before finishing reading it, you can’t go back to a help menu, but eventually can figure it all out on your own. Also, if you’re not a long-standing platformer player, you might not immediately guess that you can move along the aforementioned beams. Finally, while many bugs were squashed, some more rare ones still remain.
If you’re a platformer fan, especially if you have a thing for 3D Realms’ IPs, you’re more than likely to get hours of fun from Rad Rodgers. For the rest of you who are willing to give the genre a chance, it may even be a good starting point.
The game is currently out on Steam, GOG.com (20% off until March 5th!), PSN (NTSC | PAL), Microsoft Store, and Nintendo’s store, and there are even retail versions of the Nintendo Switch release out there. If you've already bought a version for the PC, PlayStation 4 or Xbox One before, just let it update automatically and you'll get all the new content.