GTI Club + Rally Cote D'Azur takes a bow on PlayStation Network today along with a demo of LEGO Batman and add-ons for the likes of Race Driver: GRID and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.
Konami's spirited remake of the arcade machine of the same name nicks the gameplay and splatters it lovingly across more up to date graphics in a way that made us quite tingly in our 7/10 review, which should not be seen as too off-putting. We're looking forward to more tracks and other content.
Meanwhile, there's another couple of PSone games (Red Alert Retaliation and Jet Rider - classics, we're sure you'll agree) and of course the requisite downloadables for Guitar Hero World Tour and Rock Band.
The rise of downloadable games has returned immutably single-minded arcade releases to contemporary relevance in a way that even the harshest retro-sceptic would struggle to condemn, and sieved through that perspective GTI Club + Rally Cote D'Azur is a shrewd piece of commissioning: a fondly remembered three-minute racer on a download service with roll-your-own pricing.
Hiring SUMO Digital was also excellent; the Northern codeshop broke the rules by eulogising OutRun 2's simplicity rather than drowning the player in misguided compensation, and it's a trick repeated here. Contracting SUMO is more perceptive than at first appears, too; when asked, the developer extended OutRun 2 with rarefied compassion. Who better to build on GTI Club + if it succeeds?
But we're getting ahead of ourselves. SUMO hasn't; the Cote D'Azur setting is rendered out in pin-sharp 720p at mostly 60fps, but the real-time reflections and shadowing of the buffed-up Mini Coopers and Golf GTIs are restrained and humble guests at a banquet of nostalgically blocky buildings and nakedly regimented and paraded NPC traffic obstacles under cheery blue skies. It's achingly, but lovingly game: cement flower-beds tumble and loop across an overpass on sufficient, speed-sapping impact; an uphill launch past a garage must veer left or right or be impaled upon an invisibly-walled triangular outpost for pumps in a petrol station forecourt; and player vehicles spin on the spot upon impact with an NPC, or cartwheel elaborately if they land on a downturned nose, most notably at the foot of a rough shortcut from the top of the hill above the single town circuit that makes up the initial release.
Konami has said that its upcoming GTI Club remake will be released for PlayStation Network on 4th December for the previously announced price of GBP 9.99.
It's a double dose of nostalgia, this: GTI Club + is a retooling of the 1996 Konami arcade cab, and doesn't shy away from the electric blues, burbling jazz-funk and reedy voiceover exclamations that will send you straight back to somewhere sticky-carpeted on the seafront. But GTI Club was hardly aggressively contemporary back in its day. The racer had a selection of classic hot hatches scrambling around the back streets of a breezy Cote d'Azur resort, in a throwback to The Italian Job and the 1960s heyday of the Monte Carlo rally.
Konami has announced plans to release a Sumo Digital-developed remake of GTI Club on the PlayStation Network this November.
Called GTI Club+, the new game adopts the 1996 coin-op's open racing environments and spruces them up with 720p graphics at 60 frames-per-second.
There will be a great many vintage and modern vehicles to race around in, apparently, and you will be assisted by Sat Nav, a new rear-view mirror and fancy 5.1 surround sound - including a remix of the arcade machine's Atjazz music.
Sumo Digital remakes the coin-op for PSN.