Ever since the series was created on the GameBoy Color, Shantae has been notorious for being difficult to track down. Be it through limited production runs or releases on a single system, many new Shantae fans have struggled to find a way to experience the popular series. For those who may not be familiar with the games, Shantae is (for the most part) a Metroidvania series. They all play Shantae, a semi-genius, with the strength to dance and transform into various animals and creatures. Some, like the harpy eagle, allow Shantae to fly while others, like the crab and mermaid, allow her to traverse underwater. It’s probably the combination of Shanta’s unique gameplay twist, great character design, and WayForward’s dedication to the series that has allowed her to maintain her popularity over the years. Now that Shanta’s popularity is resurrecting on modern consoles like the Switch (which even shows up as a Mii fighter costume in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate), I thought it would be a good time to take a look back at each of the five mainline Games To Throw In The Shantae Series And How Accessible They Are Today.
Unsurprisingly, the game that started it all was the hardest game to find for this list. The game was originally released in 2002 and developed (but not published) by WayForward. In a twist, the original game was released by Capcom. At the time the game was being developed, the developers realized that Shantae would need a 32-megabit battery backup cartridge, which was extremely expensive. Combined with Shantae as the brand new IP, many publishers refused to take the risk of releasing the game until Capcom finally agreed to release the game. Eagle-eyed Nintendo fans will find that the game was released on the GameBoy Color a full year after the GameBoy Advance was launched. The main reason for this was Capcom, who held the game on hold for eight months after it was completed. The combination of a risky (pun intended) new IP, an expensive cassette to make, and releasing after the GBA was already released has made Shantae’s original print one of the rarest and most valuable games on the platform. It is estimated that only 20-25,000 copies were ever produced. To give you a sense of how valuable the game is, at the time of this writing, a loose copy of the game was just selling for nearly $ 1,000.
For a long time, the original Shantae was only available as a physical GBC car, which made it extremely inaccessible to new fans. After the series gained popularity and the GameBoy Virtual Console debuted on 3DS, WayForward released the title on the platform for the first time. This was the first time it was released digitally and for only $ 5!
However, a few years later, Shantae got a second chance in the spotlight on Nintendo Switch. WayForward announced that they are bringing the original game digitally to Switch, along with its GBA enhancements, an art gallery, and more. Even more exciting was the announcement of a collaboration with Limited Run Games to produce physical copies of the Switch version. But the icing on the cake was the announcement of a brand new print of the original GBC cartridge that plays on real hardware. Although production was limited, it enabled the many modern day Shantae fans to experience the original game on original hardware. At a time when gamers are looking for more access to classic titles, WayForward (and Limited Run Games) have done an excellent job over the past few years making the original Shantae game available in so many formats, from digital re-releases to physical ones Reproduction trolley.
Shantae Risky’s revenge
Much like the original Shantae, Shantae Risky’s Revenge was a hard-to-track game for a long time. It was originally released on DSiWare in 2010 of all places, less than a year before the 3DS launched. With so many people looking to the future of handheld gaming, Risky’s Revenge seemed to be in the dust. However, unlike the original Shantae game, WayForward went to great lengths to re-release the sequel. The first attempt came in 2011 via an IOS port that added a new magical mode to increase replayability. Three years later, WayForward released Shantae Risky’s Revenge Director’s Cut for the PC, an improved port of the original game that included a redesigned warp system and the magical mode of the mobile version. This became the version that was re-released in the future and later appeared for PS4, Wii U, Switch, and Xbox One. Similar to Shantae GBC, Limited Run Games has also partnered with WayForward to produce physical copies of the game, making the game physically available for the first time.
Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse
While it is considered by many to be the definitive Shantae game, Shantae’s third appearance, The Pirate’s Curse, has a much less interesting release history. It was first released on 3DS in 2014, followed a few months later by an HD version on Wii U. Since then, however, the game has been ported to almost every platform under the sun. It has been ported to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch, and, strangely, Amazon Fire TV. There’s even a Stadia port in development due to be released later this year. For the most popular entry in the series, it’s only fitting that Limited Run Games step in again. In 2016, the company produced 6,000 physical copies of the PS4 version, which has since become one of the most expensive Shantae games to track down. The last sale at the time of writing was nearly $ 150. More recently, in 2018, Limited Run Games have teamed up to create physical versions of the Switch version.
Shantae Half Genie Hero
Shantee’s fourth appearance not only saw a shift in genre, but also a shift in development strategies. From a Metroidvania to an action platformer, this was the first entry in the series to be funded through Kickstarter. The Kickstarter was a huge success and doubled the original funding goal. It was originally released on Wii U, PS4, PS Vita, Xbox One, and PC in 2016, followed by a Nintendo Switch port in 2017. For the first time since Shantae GBC, Half Genie Hero was also physically released and by. published Wonderful USA. While it was only physically released on Wii U, PS4, and Vita at the time, it was yet another step forward for the series.
As part of the initial Kickstarter campaign, there was also the promise of DLC. Three waves were released as paid DLC: Pirate Queen’s Quest, Friend’s to the End, and a Costume Pack. There was also a fourth free DLC set that added Jammies Mode and a transformation based on Blaster Masters Sophia III. In 2018, it was announced that WayForward would release the Shantae Half Genie Hero Ultimate Edition, which includes all of the DLC released. It would be published both digitally and physically by XSEED Games. Limited Run Games later confirmed that they would be releasing a PS5 version of the game.
Shantae and the seven sirens
The latest entry in the Shantae series is Shantae and the Seven Sirens. Due to the novelty of the release, there aren’t many interesting release histories. The game was originally released on Apple Arcade in two parts, with the first part released in 2019 and the second released in 2020. After the full game was released on Apple Arcade, WayForward released Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One and PC versions. As you’d expect at this point, Limited Run Games has also released a physical version of the Switch and PS4 versions. One final, unexpected release, however, came from the announcement of a New Game Plush release on Switch. This version includes a digital copy of the game and a plush of Shantae from Fangamer. Although it has been confirmed that there will be no paid DLC or Ultimate Edition for this game, WayForward’s developers have announced some “fun little free add-ons” that will be released in the near future.
Limited edition games
It’s safe to say that all five games in the series have one thing in common: their Limited Run Games releases. Not only has the company enabled the entire Shantae series to be immortalized as a physical medium, but it has also given fans the opportunity to play the original game on classic hardware, which seemed unheard of a few years ago. Not only have they done an excellent job with the physical releases, but they also put a ton of effort into the special collector’s editions of each release. This includes lapel pins, coins, posters, CDs, steelbooks, and more. For die-hard Shantae fans, these are must-have pickups and a great way to honor the legacy of the series. At a time when gamers are pushing for better preservation of digital titles, it’s great to see such a care taken on such a popular series by the team at Limited Run Games.
Shantee’s other appearances
Given Shantae’s massive popularity, it is only natural to quickly mention some of the games that Shantae appeared in outside of her own series. Shantae was playable as a crossover character in games like Runbow, Blaster Master Zero, and Mutant Mudds Super Challenge. Risky Boots, the series’ main antagonist, also appeared as part of a quest in Hyper Light Drifter. And of course, Shantae made a couple of appearances in the biggest crossover of the games: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Initially, Shantae and Risky Boots were added to the game as ghosts. However, a few months ago it was confirmed that Shantae was coming to the game as a paid Mii fighter costume. She even came up with her own song Neo Burning Town from Half Genie Hero!
There is no doubt that Shantae’s publications over the years have made an interesting (if sometimes rocky) history lesson. The Shantae series is clearly one that is loved by fans all over the world. In fact, Shantae herself is widely considered to be one of the most notable indie gaming mascots, so it’s great that more attention is being paid to her series. Now we’re in an era where all five entries in the series are available on Nintendo Switch, giving fans the chance to try each entry on a single platform. From its beginnings as an obscure GBC release to its appearance in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, it’s amazing to see how far this half-ghost hero has come.
Disclaimer: The author of this article received a review pack of Shantae games from Limited Run Games. In addition, Perry Burkum, an associate editor at Nintendo World Report, has a working relationship with Limited Run Games through Game Decks, although he was not involved in this article.