Brand new NES games are something that I truly enjoy about gaming nowadays. As time goes on, and people become more and more talented, the quality of releases has steadily increased. Fast forward to Retro-Bit and their newest release on the Nintendo Entertainment System, Holy Diver. Originally released on the Nintendo Famicom in 1989, Retro-Bit and CastleMania Games (who I purchased the game through), have truly outdone themselves with this worldwide release. But what’s in the box!?
Right from the get go, you can see the large box that it comes in. This is heavy duty cardboard, which is really well put together. I also have a “First 1000 Club” certificate, which is interesting as I had no clue what that meant until I checked their site.
Opening this awesome box up, there are tons of goodies inside. The NES game is shrink wrapped, which is a nice touch and all the partitions really add a ton to the ambiance. The little notebook is also really cool, although if I were to use it, the box wouldn’t be tight anymore.
They also included another certificate, which ironically doesn’t match as it’s #2410, which obviously isn’t within the “First 1000”! Things like that should be paid attention to, as technically if it’s over #1000, it should be a black cartridge. Let’s see which they sent to me…
So I did end up with the white cartridge after all. The box itself isn’t “glossy” but has a little rougher of a feel to it. Instead of Styrofoam spacer there is a little plastic one, which was ironically on the top of the game for some reason instead of below it like in a retail release. The manual is custom and very well put together with some amazing art inside. The sleeve is also custom made.
The box is slightly taller than a standard NES game, as the box protectors that I use on all of my NES games in my collection are extremely snug when I closed it over the top of the box. That being said, the box with protector still fits nicely within the Limited Edition box.
The other items in the box are various pins, stickers and alternate artwork for the label, which I wish they would have put on the limited white cartridge! These are all a nice touch and really put this box set over the top.
Overall, this is an amazing aftermarket NES release and for basically a $60 “brand new back-in-the-day NES game” price tag you more than get your money’s worth. I would highly recommend it to NES fans. However, let’s get to the other part of the puzzle…
Is this an “official” release, thus now part of a full NES set?
I would say without a shadow of a doubt: NO.
While, Retro-Bit did indeed get the rights to sell this game, kind of like the re-releases of Ducktales, Street Fighter II, and Super Noah’s Ark, it does not have the Official Nintendo Seal of Approval, thus technically not “licensed”. This could be considered part of an “Unlicensed” set, however I like to call these types of releases “Aftermarket Releases”. That way there is a new category, as games like this have been coming out for a long time now, and likely won’t ever stop. Heck, this isn’t the first boxed copy of Holy Diver that I have in my collection! (Although it is the first to properly have the rights.)
So while the newest release of Holy Diver by Retro-Bit isn’t part of an “Officially Licensed US Collection”, it is one of the nicest Aftermarket NES Limited Editions that I’ve ever seen and would recommend it to anyone who is a fan of 8-Bit games. Now it’s time to actually play this amazing “Castlevania-esque” game based on a song by Ronnie James Dio!
At the time of writing this article, there are still copies of the Limited Edition box available from CastleMania Games. Here is where I got my copy from: