Retro Arcade Watch

Retro Arcade Watch

Forget about wearable tech wristwatches like Sony’s Smartwatch or Samsung’s Galaxy Gear. If you want a cool retro timepiece on your wrist, then look no further than ThinkGeek’s Retro Arcade Watch.

Retro Arcade Watch

Once we received the Retro Arcade Watch, we knew a review was in order to let you know what we thought of the watch and most importantly, if it is worth shelling out your hard earned cash. Read on.

Design & Function

The Retro Arcade wristwatch is chunky. Don’t let the chunkiness dissuade you though – it sits comfortably on the wrist with no nagging bits poking and prodding your arm or hand. This is no flimsy timepiece. Made from stainless steel, the case is made to withstand normal day to day punishment. The case (arcade cabinet) is adorned with Galactic Defense decals and also has a joystick and fire-button to add to the arcade machine realism. For pure awesomeness, when the fire-button is pressed, it lights up the hour indicators and marquee in red and also makes pew pew firing sound effects. To power all this awesomeness, the watch requires a CR2032 and SR626 button cell batteries, which are included.

Retro Arcade Watch

ThinkGeek didn’t skimp on the band either, they partnered the cool case with a black leather band with white contrast stitching. The end result being a unique timepiece that is a throwback to the golden age of arcade gaming.  

 

Display

In keeping with the arcade theme, the analog-style time is displayed with a combination of dials – space rocks for the hours and minutes, and a spaceship for the seconds hand. Did I hear you say Asteroids? Well, you said that, we didn’t. As mentioned previously, when the fire-button is pressed, the hour indicator dots are lit up in red, so if you find yourself in a dark alley and you need to know what time it is, just press the fire-button.

 

Coolness

It’s an arcade machine on your wrist that can tell the time and has awesome lighting and pew pew sound effects.

Retro Arcade Watch

How much cooler can it get? Well, if you could play Asteroids or Galaga on it, then I guess it would have been on the super side of cool. However, for under 50 smackers ($49.95USD) you get a watch that can tell the time and provide a coolness factor for free.

Verdict

If you are an Omega or Tag Heuer kind of watch wearer, then the Retro Arcade Wristwatch may not be for you. If you like to show-off your inner geekiness, then you cannot go wrong with this watch on your wrist. At the least, you will send tongues wagging!

TxK

[youtube id=”r5Y85LNLTf8″ width=”633″ height=”356″]

TxK

I am going to go against the grain here and write about a current gen video game. It’s no ordinary game, it has it’s roots in the arcades dating back to 1981. The game I speak of is TxK. What praises can be written here that haven’t already been lavished on this beautiful game by the great Yak, Jeff Minter (Llamasoft).

TxK

 

For starters, this is no ordinary update on Dave Theurer’s original arcade smash hit Tempest, or Jeff’s own Tempest 2000 on the Atari JaguarTxK brings Tempest well and truly into the 21st century. This tube shooter captures your attention and gobbles up a lot of your free time, not just the PS Vitabattery. Words like mesmerising, sublime, frantic, nail-biting and intense come to mind when describing TxK.

TxK

 

For those that have just arrived on this planet, TxK is a tube/web shooter, where your ship is attached to the top edge (rim) of a web playfield, shooting at enemies approaching from the background into the foreground. Your mission is to clear each of the 100 playfields and not allow the enemies to shoot you down or capture your ship. To assist you in getting further into the game, each level provides power-ups that can unleash screen-clearing bombs or provide you with an AI Droid which is handy in clearing enemies that have jumped up on the rim.

TxK

 

Coupled with the gorgeous psychedelic visuals, Jeff Minter has also thrown in some catchy, rave-inspired soundtracks. With an ingenious save system and modes of play, TxK is clean, perfectly designed and bristling with high energy.

Verdict: If there is one game that will convince you to buy a PS Vita, it is TxK. It has ‘killer app’ written all over it.

MOGA: The Mobile Game Changer

MOGA: The Mobile Game Changer

Is your new year’s resolution to become an accomplished mobile gamer? To become an accomplished mobile gamer, you’ll need some precision control. Well, I think the MOGA Pocket Controller (MOGA) might be your weapon of choice.

MOGA - The Mobile Game Changer

All work ceased when the MOGA arrived in the office. We all just gawked at this beautiful sleek package on the desk. Who would be the lucky sod to crack open the controller and put it through its paces? Well, being the editor, there are certain perks and privileges that come with the job –  I wasn’t going to let anyone else get their grubby fingers on the MOGA.

 

Build Quality

MOGA - The Mobile Game Changer
The first thing that strikes you with the MOGA is its build quality – it is flawless! This little pocket rocket is one of the best looking controllers on the market. The piano black finish is gorgeous and the feel and control is akin to your PS3 and XBox 360 controllers, albeit a tad smaller for use on mobile devices (smartphones and tablets).

With dual analogue sticks, shoulder triggers and four action buttons, you will feel right at home when the MOGA is in your hands. The unit even has a ‘flip’ arm which secures your Android device up to 3.2in / 82mm in size – accommodating the market’s largest smartphones.

The MOGA draws power from two AAA (1.5V) batteries. You’ll get a fair few hours play on a pair of AAAs. We played with it for 6 hours and there was still lots of juice left in the batteries.

 

 

Compatibility & Games

MOGA - The Mobile Game Changer Let’s face it, what good is a controller if it can not be used on a myriad of games. Given the MOGA is for Android 2.3+ devices (we used it on a Samsung Galaxy S3), there are numerous games on Google Play that are ‘enhanced’ for the MOGA. Having said that, games that are compatible with the MOGA must run via its proprietary app, the MOGA Pivot App (don’t stress, it is a breeze to setup and use). Unfortunately, this means that your much loved retro gaming emulators can not utilise this controller. That aside, there are games being added to the library on a constant basis. You would be pretty hard pressed if you couldn’t find a swag of games that you could play using the MOGA.

 

Verdict

MOGA - The Mobile Game Changer
If you are a control freak and yearn for precision, then the MOGA Pocket Controller is for you. If you tend to play MAME or other retro system emulators, then you will need to look elsewhere. This is one great little controller that we highly recommend. 

Arcadie Review

Arcadie

It is quite exciting receiving goodies in the mail. This time around, we received the cool looking Arcadie. On first impressions, the unit stands out – I love anything that looks like an arcade machine. Upon closer inspection, the packaging doesn’t give away too many details, just minimal information on the compatibility and the website of the manufacturer for more detailed specifications. I guess with finite real estate on packaging, you have to grab potential customers’ attention with colouring and buzz words.

Build Quality

Arcadie

The Arcadie feels quite sturdy and takes a bit of punishment. The joystick is nice and tight and centres itself, while the buttons have a nice click when depressed – no hint of sponginess. Can it withstand years of punishment? Well, having had the unit for a few weeks, that is difficult to determine. Only time will tell. Unless you wrench the stick and abuse the buttons beyond their normal use, then there should be no reason for the unit to breakdown any time soon. When playing games, we did find that we had to tilt the unit away from us so that we could get a better viewing angle of the screen.

Arcadie
Arcadie Alien Invaders is a beefed up Space Invaders clone that plays quite well.

Compatibility & Games

Straight off the bat, the Arcadie is compatible with Apple’s iPod and iPhone devices up to and including the iPhone 4S and iPod Touch (3rd and 4th Generation). Unfortunately, if you have an iPhone 5 or above, you miss out. Not only is the Arcadie hampered by limited hardware compatibility, it is also limited to proprietary software. The good news is, Zeon are releasing games exclusive for the unit and the best bit is, they are totally free (via iTunes App store). Let’s hope they keep on releasing more games for the Arcadie, as it needs them.

Arcadie

Before you ask, the games that are available are beefed up clones of well known retro classics like: arcadie Blasteroids (Asteroids), arcadie Alien Invaders (Space Invaders), arcade Ping (Pong), arcadie Tanks and arcadie Hop Along (Frogger) . The games are quite fun to play, but not for too long. The novelty of playing on an arcade stylised cabinet is still quite cool. If only the Arcadie was compatible with other retro released games on iTunes. It’s a case of, what might have been.

Arcadie

 

Verdict

For the price of the Arcadie (sub $25 AUD for the blue unit), it is worth having it as a cool item – either to show off on your shelf or act as a stand for your iPhone or iPod. Will you use it to play games or will the novelty factor wear off? These are valid questions that can only be answered on an individual basis. I do get caught up in the nostalgia that certain items provide and I can safely say that the Arcadie certainly does this, albeit in a limited fashion. If you have an iPhone 4S or an iPod Touch, this is well worth a look.

Cabal

Cabal_Arcade

Ah yes, Cabal. This war themed arcade game throws you and a friend right into the thick of battle. Your mission is to maim, kill and blow up everything in sight on twenty (20) different screens (four screens per stage, with a total of five stages). Should you reach the end and defeat the evil dictator, you are free to relinquish your guerrilla fighting days and just become a run of the mill commando.

Cabal_Arcade

Ask any arcade gamer about Cabal, and you will notice a wry smile come over their face. Cabal had you ducking behind walls to escape enemy fire all the while you shoot back and destroy everything on screen, from buildings, tanks, helicopters, submarines, walls and trees to animals! Using your onscreen cross-hair, you aim and fire. Your soldier starts with his trusty single-shot gun (with unlimited ammo), however, there are power-ups (shotguns, machine guns, grenades) hidden on each screen, hence the importance of shooting and destroying everything in sight. Once the screen has been leveled out, your soldier moves on to the next screen or stage.

Cabal_Arcade

Cabal set the blueprint for a number of shooting games, from its own successor, Blood Bros. to SNK’s NAM-1975. These games may be better (for some gamers), but you have to pay homage to where the inspiration came from – Cabal: Dare the Danger!

GraphicsNice large sprites. Items on screen blow up with great satisfaction (buildings collapse in dust when their foundations give in to your incessant fire)

88%

SoundExpected frenetic war machine noise

85%

PlayabilityThe screen does not scroll, but the gameplay is hectic. You will love blowing up everything on screen

85%

LastabilityStill great to come back to and shoot everything in sight, including the pigs!

83%

OverallUsing the trackball may get some getting used to, but once you do, Cabal will dare you to play it. Get ready to destroy everything

82%

 

 

 

Cabal_Arcade

Manufacturer: TAD Corporation
Year: 1988
Genre: Shooter
Number of Simultaneous Players: 2
Maximum number of Players: 2
Gameplay: Joint
Control Panel Layout: Multi-Player
Controls:
– Trackball: Optical
– Buttons: 2 (shoot and grenade)
Sound: Amplified Mono (single channel)

Street Fighter

Welcome aboard the Crapsville Express. Last time, Hard Drivin’ was served up as a turd for Review A Bad Game Day – this year the gong goes to another coin-op conversion.

Street_Fighter_1-c64

Game: Street Fighter
Genre: 
Fighting
Format:
 C64
Year: 1988
Publisher: GO!
Developer: Tiertex

Street Fighter

Prior to the sublime ‘Street Fighter II: The World Warrior’ SNES home conversion, there was the abhorrent C64 fighting game’ Street Fighter’.

Where does one even start with this game? For those of you not familiar with the series, ‘Street Fighter’ made its debut in the arcades in 1987. On the back of its success, the home version quickly followed on all conceivable platforms of the time, including the C64.

Street_Fighter_1-c64

Tiertex brought this foul stench of a fighting game to our trusty and much loved 8-bit home computer. I suspect the coding was done by a drunk programmer or their pet monkey. How this passed any quality assurance testing is beyond my comprehension. Anyway, on with the review…

‘Street Fighter’, as you may have guessed, is based on Capcom’s 1987 arcade game. You enter the worldwide martial arts tournament as Ryu and fight opponents from across the globe in order to become the street fighting champion. Ryu’s fighting arsenal is made up of various punches and kicks – that’s it (no special attacks!). Each battle has timed rounds; the winner being the last fighter standing. After each battle, Ryu competes in bonus rounds, smashing bricks to earn extra points.

Street_Fighter_1-c64

If you manage to bribe a friend to play ‘Street Fighter’, you could have yourself a two-player grudge match – Ryu vs Ken. The winner proceeds to take on the computer-controlled fighters, while the loser is subjected to watching this dreadful game being played – even the CIA plays by fairer rules of torture!

Street_Fighter_1-c64

The graphics are childish and messy – they do nothing to show off the C64’s abilities. The fighters tend to clash with the background. I reckon I could have drawn better sprites and backgrounds with crayons! ‘How about the sound?’ you may ask – let’s not even go there if you like your hearing the way it is. The effects and tunes are better suited for an Atari 2600 game, not a game that should be taking advantage of the C64’s SID chip. The clincher of this turdfest is the control – before there was button mashing, there was joystick and wrist breaking. The control is absolutely abysmal, by the time you attempt to pull off an attack; it is already too late, game over (which is probably a good thing!).

Street_Fighter_1-c64

The C64 had quite a few poor arcade conversions in its time, and sadly ‘Street Fighter’ makes this list. Had it not been for the stinker Hard Drivin’, this would have been number 1 in Crapsville. Play it at your peril!

GraphicsCrappy sprites with even crappier backgrounds.

15%

SoundTurn down the volume on your TV, I am warning you!

10%

PlayabilityLaughable. Apart from the terrible look and sound of this game, the controls let it down big time.

5%

LastabilityIt will last as fast as you can turn off your C64.

2%

OverallStay away! This is another poor C64 arcade conversion. If you want to play a great fighting game on your C64, try International Karate!

9%

 

 

Atari Inc: Business Is Fun

atari-business_is_fun

Atari Inc. – Business Is Fun‘ documents Atari’s history from its humble beginnings in the early 70s, to its meteoric rise and then, its downward spiral in the 80s. Atari had a big hand in bringing video gaming to the masses, and then almost bringing the same industry to its knees. These events are all retold in exquisite detail.

From its very beginnings, Atari lacked (business) discipline and clear market direction. It is evident from this book, that Atari just wanted to be part of the video games action, no matter what. Co-founder Nolan Bushnell aggressively advanced the company and Atari’s market and popularity grew rapidly. It seemed that Atari could not put a foot wrong – everything they created, from coin operated machines to the Video Computer System (2600) console, turned to gold.

There was a culture of ‘anything goes’ inside Atari, from their weekly staff parties to casual drug taking – it was all about having fun while creating video gaming hardware and software!

Stripping back the myths and misconceptions, this book sets the record straight in what went on behind the scenes at Atari. It wasn’t all glamour and high-fives. The authors spoke to the ‘real’ people at Atari who gave first person accounts of their experiences in the once titan of the video games industry.

The content grips you like a vice and does not let go until you have read every page. There are a few dry chapters where the authors cover the technical details of Atari’s home computer range, but these could be deemed optional for the non-technical reader.

You will be in awe of the people behind Atari and their many creations – which have withstood the test of time (even outlasting the company!). You will also be shocked to read about the back-stabbings, the parties, the drugs, and the backroom wheeling and dealing. I would not be surprised if Hollywood comes knocking on Martin Goldberg and Curt Vendel’s door.

Verdict: With never before seen photos and content exclusively obtained from the people at Atari, this book is a must read for any video games fan, not just Atarians. Buy it now!

Atari Inc. – Business is Fun [by: Goldberg & Vendel] is available in Paperback and Kindle.

The Space Invaders: In Search of Lost Time

The-Space-Invaders

The Space Invaders: In Search of Lost Time

Director: Jeff Von Ward
Studio: Wooden Horse Productions
Released: 2013

Distributor: Amazon Instant Video – $3.99 (7-day rental) or $14.99 (buy movie)

Synopsis: The Space Invaders: In Search of Lost Time will take you inside America’s hidden game rooms and into the hearts and minds of those who have made it their mission to enthusiastically preserve these important cultural touchstones.

The-Space-Invaders

Let’s get straight to it – as an arcade junkie, this film well and truly fed my need for retro gaming nostalgia. Jeff Von Ward has created a masterful film in which he tracks down and interviews some serious arcade collectors, like Jon Jamshid, who has amassed an impressive 180 machines!

The collectors share their passion for preserving these historic machines and the connection you feel with them is instantaneous – from scoring their first machine, their real estate woes, to the lengths they go to seek their next arcade hit.

You will be amazed by the number of machines that are stored in basements and garages (as well as the stories behind them all!). You will be blown away by the dedication of these collectors and their respective arcade setup, especially Peter Hirschberg’s Luna City Arcade – an amusement heaven.

The-Space-Invaders

Interspersed throughout the film is some amazing archival footage, including Damon Claussen’s appearance (with his mom!) on the Starcade TV game show. The flow of this film, from start to finish, feels natural and just right.

From the moment I sat down to watch ‘The Space Invaders: In Search of Lost Time’, I did not move nor blink (that may be a slight exaggeration) until the last credit was shown. Whether you are familiar with the arcade machines or not, this film is for anyone that has a nostalgic bone in their body, or would just like to find out what makes serious collectors tick.

Verdict: ‘The Space Invaders: In Search Of Lost Time’ is a wonderful film that should not be missed. Mr Jeff Von Ward, you deserve an Oscar!

Jeff reports that the film has just been picked up by New York City based digital entertainment curator, FilmBuff. FilmBuff has successfully distributed niche documentaries such as ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’ (the doc or anti-doc on Banksy) and ‘Super Size Me’.

Retro Duo Portable V2.0 Review

Retro Duo Portable

The Retro Duo Portable V2.0: another clone system to satisfy your nostalgic hunger. These so-called ‘clones’ are fast growing in popularity. Companies like Hyperkin and Retro-Bit have capitalised on the popularity of retro gaming by producing systems that can play your old console cartridges.

Retro Duo Portable

Retro-Bit is having a second crack at this caper by creating the Retro Duo Portable (RDP) V2.0 – a portable (to an extent) unit that plays SNES carts from any region without hacking or modifications. The RDP V2.0 is also capable of playing NES carts using the bundled RetroPort adapter, which sticks out like a sore thumb. The RDP V2.0 can also play Sega Mega Drive / Genesis cartridges using the RetroGEN adapter, which is sold separately.

Retro Duo Portable

Retro-Bit’s first attempt at hardware console creation was modest. The screen wasn’t too flash, the unit felt cheap and games compatibility was limited. They have learned from the experience and introduced a number of improvements for V2.0. These include: upgraded LCD screen, crisper sound, improved D-pad and button layout, better battery life (Lithium-ion) with LED indicator and most importantly, enhanced game cartridge compatibility.

Retro Duo Portable

The RDP V2.0 comes in a slick looking package. Inside you will find a vast amount of gear – the console itself, a plastic stand, TV/AV connection cable, power supply unit, RetroPort adapter, a controller hub and two SuperRetro controllers (which can also be used on your SNES!).

Retro Duo Portable

After playing with the unit for a number of hours (on one battery charge!), here are our thoughts:

Retro Duo Portable

The unit feels sturdy in hand and has a nice soft coating. It doesn’t suffer from that cheap feel you get from other ‘clones’.

Retro Duo Portable

The D-pad and button layout is identical to a SNES pad, so you should feel right at home. However, the shoulder buttons do let the controls down as they are too close to the cartridge slot, but this is only a minor niggle. The external control pads are great to use if you intend on hooking the RDP V2.0 up to a TV, or if you use them natively on your SNES.

Retro Duo Portable

We did have a few compatibility issues with the Super FX SNES games, but overall we were pleased with Retro-Bit’s claim of improved compatibility.

Retro Duo Portable

Using the RetroPort adapter to play your NES carts basically renders the unit ‘un-portable’. The adapter sticks out above the unit which looks damn ugly. But hey, if you want to play your native old NES carts, you will put up with this unsightliness. Playing the RDP V2.0 with the RetroPort adapter definitely got attention on public transport.

Retro Duo Portable

The improved LCD screen is better than the original RDP (it has an increased pixel count), but it has a long way to go. You still have to ‘angle’ or ‘tilt’ the unit to get the best visibility, which gets annoying after a while. There is a contrast reset button which has three preset contrast settings for brightness. The clarity is average when compared to modern handhelds; but considering the price of the unit, it is understandable.

Retro Duo Portable

The beefing up of the sound is great in theory, however we did find the sound became distorted at maximum volume with a distinct ‘crackling’ on certain games (Super Smash TV). The sound was fine when playing with headphones, however the placement of the headphone jack should have been placed on the side of the unit, not on top (it gets in the way!).

Retro Duo Portable

Should you rush out and buy the Retro Duo Portable V2.0? It depends, if you are happy emulating (legally) your 8-bit and 16-bit Sega or Nintendo games, then the answer is no. However, if you want a system that you can plug in your library of SNES, NES and Mega Drive carts, then the RDP V2.0 is perfect. The other plus to owning the RDP V2.0 is that you will safeguard your Sega and Nintendo hardware from further abuse, and let’s face it, these old consoles won’t last forever!

Verdict: If you like the sound of a console that can play your SNES and NES cartridges out of the box, then check this unit out.

The Retro Duo Portable NES/SNES Game System retails for $99.99USD at ThinkGeek.

Five Video Games To Play In Summer

Summer_Games

When the temperature soars outside, there is only one thing to do – turn on the air-conditioner and grab a video game that will keep you cool and simulate that summer experience.

Wave Race 64 [N64]

Wave_Race_64
Grab your jet-ski and hit the waves. This early N64 title has realistic water effects and an array of differing environments and courses that will keep your heart racing. Play on your own or call a friend over, you will have an absolute ball. Bonsai!

California Games [Lynx]

california-GamesWhen you think of California, you think of sun, surf and lots of obscure sports, right? California Games on the Atari Lynx brings four events which will have you playing till the batteries run out. Connect the Lynx to a power outlet and have some fun in the sun.

Virtua Tennis [Dreamcast]

Virtua Tennis
With all the Grand Slams being in summer, it is perfectly natural to pull out your Dreamcast and start playing Virtua Tennis – the best tennis video game ever, period! Practice makes perfect, and the mini games are equally entertaining as blasting your opponent on clay, grass or even hard courts.

Summer Games II [C64]

Summer Games II
No summer games list can be complete without Epyx’s seminal favourite. From the triple jump to the cycling event, grab seven of your mates, a sturdy joystick and have some fun! Make sure you watch the closing ceremony fireworks – a perfect touch to a perfect game.

Out Run [PC-Engine]

Out Run
Jump in your red Ferarri, crank up the stereo, swing past your girlfriend’s place and hit the road. Feel the wind in your hair as you race down the highway to make it to the next checkpoint. Make sure you enjoy those cool and refreshing tunes along the way.

Well, there you have it. These are just a few video games to keep you cool this summer. Which video games will you play?

Galaga

Those on the ausretrogamer bandwagon will be aware that I LOVE Galaga! Namco’s vertical shoot’em up trapped me in its tractor beam back in 1981 and hasn’t released me yet.

galaga

Some 30 plus years ago, while waiting for relatives to arrive at Melbourne International Airport, I noticed a tabletop machine nearby. Upon gazing at the screen, I saw a little triangular ship shooting at formations of alien spaceships streaming from the sides of the screen. My first thought was, “wow, a souped-up Space Invaders”. Once I dropped in two 20 cent pieces, I immediately realised – this was no Space Invaders. This was way better! You could shoot multiple times (as long as you had the finger dexterity), your ship could be captured in a tractor beam, and there were challenge stages to rack up those high score points. To put it mildly, I was hooked.

galaga

So, what was it about Galaga that got this child hooked all those years ago? Galaga was, and still is, an uncomplicated vertical shoot’em up with the right mix of challenge and entertainment. Blasting those pesky alien spaceships gives a great sense of satisfaction.

For those unfamiliar with Galaga, here is the low-down on this beautiful game: You control the ship at the bottom of the screen, firing at Galaga enemies, moving left and right to avoid their fire and kamikaze attacks.

galaga

The enemy spaceships fly onto the screen from the left or right side. Unless you can shoot them all while forming, they assemble in the centre of the screen – just like in Space Invaders. As you play the game, you quickly learn the formation patterns and can anticipate when and how the spaceships will fly out onto the screen.

There is one particular Galaga enemy ship that is special – these enemy spaceships take multiple hits before they are destroyed. If you do not destroy them, they can fly down the screen towards you and release a tractor beam to capture your ship. To free the captured ship, you must destroy the captor Galaga while it is attacking you, if you fail, your captured ship will be destroyed. When you free your captured ship, it will dock alongside your current ship, and you are thus rewarded with a dual firing weapon of mass destruction.

galaga

These dual ships are especially handy for blasting away enemies during challenge stages. With your dual ship you can clear stages quickly and collect some nice bonus points. Speaking of points, every 20,000 earns you an additional life (ship); and as the game increases in difficulty, every spare ship counts.

Galaga remains a firm favorite in the gaming community, especially to those who grew up in the 80s. Since dropping in those coins all those years ago, I can safely say my affinity for Galaga has not subsided one bit. Long live Galaga!

GraphicsThe star field is realistic enough to make you feel like you are flying through deep space engaging in some enemy fire.

90%

SoundPew Pew sound effects never sounded any better.

90%

PlayabilityInsert coins, move left or right and fire. Couldn’t be any easier, right?

93%

LastabilityGalaga enemy spaceships have been fired upon ever since 1981. You do the maths on the lastability of this seminal shooter.

95%

OverallWhen it comes to old school vertical shoot’em ups, Galaga is at the top of its class.

95%

 

 

 

arcade-game-galaga

Manufacturer: Namco
Year: 1981
Genre: Shoot’em Up
Number of Simultaneous Players: 1
Maximum number of Players: 2
Gameplay: Alternating
Control Panel Layout: Single Player
Controls:
– Joystick: 2-way (left, right)
– Buttons: 1 (fire)
Sound: Amplified Mono (single channel)

 

 

Vectrex: Vectrom 32 Game Multi-Cart

Vectrex

The Vectrex was one of those ‘love to have’ gaming machines which only rich kids had back in the 1980s. The machine was ahead of its time. Fast forward 30 years and the machine remains a ‘love to have’ for many a retro gamer.

If you are one of those lucky enough to have a Vectrex, you would be well aware that games are hard to come by, and usually quite expensive when you do stumble across them.

Vectrex

If you don’t care for having each individual Vectrex game (or the overlays), there is another option – the Vectrom 32 game multi-cassette (cart). This ‘homebrew’ cart gives you the best bang for your buck. The more popular ‘Sean Kelly’ cart may have more games (72 in fact!), but they are almost impossible to source and very expensive.

Vectrex

The Vectrom cart costs about $45, that is about $1.40 for each game – what a bargain! For that price, you get the cart hinged inside a VHS style case. To keep the authentic retro feel, the game selection is done manually via the mini dip-switch selector on the cart – no software menu selection system here folks! The stuffing around with the dip-switch selection takes some getting used to, but the feature adds to the charm. Don’t stress though, the back of the VHS case has the dip-switch combinations for each of the 32 games.

Vectrex

Before you scream “this isn’t legit!”, let me assure you, it is. The original makers of the Vectrex have given open permission to continue development and have put the entire system into the public domain. Unlike other old consoles, it is perfectly legal to emulate all original Vectrex games.

For those itching to know what games are on the cartridge, here is the complete list. The games on the cartridge are some of the all-time best games for the Vectrex.

Vectrex

Verdict: If you have a Vectrex and you are sick of playing MineStorm, then you need the Vectrom 32-in-1 multi-cassette!

Ghosts’n Goblins

Ghosts’n Goblins

The human condition. We are a resilient bunch. If you want to test your resiliency (and your patience), then give the unforgiving and difficult arcade game, Ghosts’n Goblins a spin.
The game sees you, Sir Arthur, a noble knight, run and jump through horizontal and vertical levels to rescue his sweetheart, Princess Guinevere (or Princess Prin Prin in other ports of the game).

Ghosts’n Goblins

Sir Arthur can pick up weapons like: an axe, lance, cross, dagger or firebrand. These weapons can be used to kill Satan’s army of monsters, zombies, bats, ogres, demons and ghosts. Sir Arthur can replace his armour by jumping up at certain hidden spots on some levels. This action causes a pot to appear. It is imperative the armour stays intact. Take two hits, and it is curtains for Sir Arthur. That is exactly why this game is unforgiving and damn difficult to complete.

Ghosts’n Goblins

It is not all doom and gloom if you know some tricks to beat this game. The developers at Capcom weren’t going to be totally cruel to us poor arcade gamers. They left us a few surprises (easter eggs) along the way to help Sir Arthur get further into the game. What were these tricks you ask ? Well, we won’t give away all of them, but one good one can be found on the third cave level. Navigate Sir Arthur to the upper level and move him to the right of the rock, just to the left of the second ladder. Then move left and right, shooting rapidly. A zombie will keep appearing and you can score 100,000 points before time runs out. Don’t worry about the time running out and losing a life, you will be rewarded with two extra lives in the process. Even with this trick, you still have to give up a life to get two back. Those Capcom developers were sadists.

Ghosts’n Goblins was, and still is, a great platform game. It is still difficult and frustrating as ever. So, if you like your games to be difficult and challanging, then you can not go wrong with this one.

Ghosts’n Goblins

Manufacturer: Capcom
Year: 1985
Genre: Platform fighter
Maximum number of simultaneous players: 2
Gameplay: Alternating
Joystick: 8-way
Buttons: 2 (Fire and Jump)
Control Panel Layout: 1 Player Ambidextrous
Sound: Amplified Mono (single channel)
Cabinet: Upright Standard
Monitor: CRT, Raster standard resolution
Levels: Graveyard and forest, town, caves, bridge, castle – lower level, castle – upper level, final boss

Golden Axe

GoldenAxe

The powerhouse that was Sega in the late 1980′s indulged us in some awesome arcade hits. Towards the end of that decade, Sega released memorable arcade games: Crack Down, Dynamite Dux, ESWAT Cyber Police, Scramble Spirits and Power Drift. To keep up this pedigree of arcade hits, Sega unleashed Golden Axe in 1989. Once again, Sega proved that they were the king of the arcade hill.

The big rage back in the late 80′s was two player co-op, horizontal-scrolling fighting games, or in this case, slashing evil minions to pieces and getting to the final boss. The medieval theme of Golden Axe implements the hacking and slashing game play to perfection. The storyline is pretty much run of the mill – the evil Death Adder has kidnapped the King and Princess of Yuria and it is up to the protagonists to rescue them and also seek revenge on the evil that was done to their families.

GoldenAxe

To set off after Death Adder, the player controls one of three characters, Ax Battler (a Conan The Barbarian lookalike),  Gilius Thunderhead, the viking dwarf, and Tyris Flare, the Amazonian goddess (my first female video game character crush – sorry Lara!). Even though Tyris is a great character to use, her long-sword is no match for the battle axe that Gilius Thunderhead wields.

GoldenAxe

Anyway, on with the adventure – there are lots of different enemies to slash and if things get tough on screen, each of the protagonists can call upon their unique magic power – Tyris Flare has the coolest magic, she uses fire to incinerate everything on screen. There is finite magic power, so the player will have to pick and choose when best to use it. But wait there is more – mounted enemies riding creatures can be knocked off and the players themselves can then hitch a ride on the creatures and use them as weapons (swiping with their tail). The other neat attack is to charge and ram Death Adder’s henchmen by double-tapping the joystick right or left.

GoldenAxe

The level design is simply awesome – from Turtle Village (which is on a shell of a turtle), to the back of a giant flying eagle. Last but not least, there is the castle where you must defeat Death Adder and reclaim the Golden Axe.

SPOILER ALERT: Once the game is beaten, the ending shows a view of an arcade where the characters “jump out” of the game, run out of the arcade and down the street.

I have always been a huge Sega arcade fan. Whatever they pumped out, it was an instant hit. Golden Axe was no exception.

GraphicsUsing the Sega System 16 board, this was the pinnacle in visuals at the time. Great sprites and awesome looking levels.

87%

SoundThe background music and digitised effects and grunts add perfectly to the axe wielding and sword swooshing atmosphere.

88%

PlayabilitySega knew what they were doing when adding an Amazonian beauty to the mix. Golden Axe remains easy to get into, but its best played with a buddy.

87%

LastabilityIt is a run of the mill side scrolling hack and slash, but hey, there is nothing wrong with that.

88%

OverallIn 1989, I pumped the equivalent of my body weight of coins into this game. It was also one of the reasons I bought a Mega Drive when it was released. Best played with a friend, Golden Axe has it covered – great graphics, awesome sound effects and great game play.

89%

 

 

GoldenAxe

Manufacturer: Sega
Year: 1989
Genre: Platform
Number of Simultaneous Players: 2
Maximum number of Players: 2
Gameplay: Collaborative
Control Panel Layout: Multi Player
Controls:
– Joystick: 8-way
– Buttons: 3 [Jump, Attack, Magic]
Sound: Amplified Mono (single channel)

 

LeMans

LeMans - Commodore 64Format: Commodore 64 (C64)
Media: Cartridge
Year: 1982
Developer: HAL Labratory, Inc.
Publisher: Commodore
Game Mode: Single Player

LeMans

Gentlemen, start your engines! How apt that I pull out the LeMans C64 cartridge on this day, the start of the 2013 Formula 1 (F1) Grand Prix season. I am aware LeMans and F1 are two separate sanctioned sports, but hey, it is a racing game, and that is all there is to it. Perhaps I should have ripped out Checkered Flag on the Atari Lynx. I just have to stop second guessing myself and stick with this old game.

LeMans - Commodore 64

LeMans on the C64 is a top-down up-the-screen driving game, where you as the driver, must hit the pedal to the metal and drive to a never ending finish line. The goal of the game is to pass as many cars as you can. The more cars you overtake, the more points you earn. It’s not about the finish line in this game, it is all about accumulating the highest points score.The faster you go, the more points you earn – 2 points per metre to be exact. Every 10 cars passed you earn 1000 bonus points. Keep an eye on the countdown timer, as you will only get time extensions every 20,000 points. This is old school tough.

LeMans - Commodore 64

The strategy to doing well in LeMans is to drive as fast as you can for as long as you can, passing computer drivers (watch out as they veer in your path!) and traversing all kinds of terrain. The terrain sections in LeMans is what makes the game quite interesting – there are icy roads (your car slides as if it’s on skates), divided highways (squeezing into 2 lanes), night driving (relax, you have headlights) and the famous “LeMans Esses”.

LeMans - Commodore 64

Every time your car is hit by another vehicle or if you steer into the walls, your car turns into a wreck and you must “Pit” to the left as the on-screen message tells you to. This kills off precious seconds, so try and avoid hitting or being hit by cars and stop steering into walls. If you can avoid damage to your vehicle, then you will be well on your way to that precious high points score.

The only (fun) way to play this game is with the ‘Commodore Paddles’. The Paddles add to the playability of the game as you hold the accelerator button with your left thumb and steer with your right fingertips. There were no “steering wheel” contraptions for the C64 back in the day. The Paddles did (and still do) the job just right.

Well, enough of my ranting, I am off to play another game before the F1 race kicks off.

Tempest 2000

Tempest 2000

Format: Atari Jaguar
Year: 1994
Publisher: Atari
Developer: Llamasoft (Jeff Minter)

It has been a long time coming. Nineteen years to be exact. Nineteen years to finally take Jeff Minter’s game for a proper review spin.

Tempest 2000, the beefed-up remake of Dave Theurer’s 1981 arcade classic, was Atari’s  killer game that helped it shift lots of Jaguar’s upon its release in 1994. This game was never going to be a straight ‘pretty up’ by Jeff Minter. The great Yak added his usual quirkiness to this seminal favourite. What he produced was nigh on perfection.

You may ask, what is so damn good about Tempest 2000. Well, if you are patient for one second, I will let you know. Yak (Jeff Minter) took a first generation arcade game and injected crisp 3D polygon graphics, an awesome techno soundtrack and oodles of new enemy types and obstacles.

Don’t think that Tempest 2000 is just an audio visual enhancement to the original – Yak also added 100 varying webs (levels), new opponents, collectable power-ups like the particle-blaster/laser, jumps, and A.I. Droids who destroy anything that gets too close. Thrown in this awesome gaming mix was the new ”Melt-O-Vision” transition effect – very psychedelic (very Jeff Minter) indeed. Add the different types of play options – two-player cooperative and competitive play modes and you got yourself one awesomely gorgeous masterpiece.

No game, no matter how great it looks and sounds is complete without a complimentary control system. There is only one way to play Tempest 2000, and that is with a rotary controller. You could use the standard Atari pad, but it just doesn’t do the game justice. The rotary control enhances the enjoyment of the game and it definitely helps in achieving those lucrative high scores. Tempest 2000 is a an incredibly great title which was released on an incredibly obscure system. This game is the jewel in the Jaguar’s crown. If you haven’t played it, you are missing out big time!

GraphicsSuperbly crisp 3D polygons that only the Yak can produce. Yes, the Jaguar can handle it.

90%

SoundA perfect techno soundtrack. Light-synthesizer tunes throughout with very meaty sound effects. It is an awesome aural pleasure. Turn it up!

95%

PlayabilityGetting into the game is quiet easy – spin around on the web and blast away the encroaching enemies. To truly experience this game, it must be played with a rotary controller.

90%

LastabilityConsidering there are 100 levels to complete, this game will last forever.

91%

OverallJeff Minter can seriously do no wrong. The Yak knows how to produce brilliant games. This one is no exception. Even Dave Theurer approves of it (I made that up)! Get it and play hard.

91%

 

California Games

California Games

Format: Atari Lynx
Media: Cartridge
Year: 1989
Developer: Epyx
Publisher: Atari

California Games

Ah California – where the sun always shines, the surfing is great and beach parties rock with scantily clad women with golden tans aplenty. Throw some cool sporting events into a competition and you have yourself some California Games.

If it was one game that Atari was betting on to shift more Lynx units, this one was it – California Games. The Lynx version of Cali Games turned out a bit different from its console and home computer counterparts. Firstly, the number of events was cut down to four: BMX, Half Pipe, Surfing and Footbag. Secondly, the BMX and Surfing events were tweaked for the Lynx screen which actually made them quite enjoyable to play.  Thirdly, you could not pick your sponsor (oh no, I wanted Santa Cruz boards!). Lastly, gone were the earthquakes, the taunting dolphin and the menacing shark with sunglasses.

Now, I know what you are thinking, what the hell is left in this Lynx version of California Games! Relax, chill out like a real West Coaster. This game is so awesome, I would recommend you to get a Lynx just to play it. The learning curve to play the events is quite easy, with the half pipe event being the most difficult to get used to out of the four. For those of you that have never had the pleasure of playing California Games, let’s run through the event playbook:

California Games

BMX – Ride your bike on the stunt course strewn with obstacles and get to the finish line before the timer runs out. The more stunts performed and the faster you hit that finish line, the better your score. If you keep on crashing on the way to the finish line, the event spits you out.

California Games

Half Pipe – grab your board and hit the half pipe to build up your momentum. Once you have some speed, hit each ramp with some cool tricks to gain points.

California Games

Surfing – my personal favorite of all the events. Surfing was changed on this version to riding the wave from ‘right to left’ – this actually breathed a new life to this event, as I was never crazy about surfing on the console versions. You earn points by staying ahead of the wave and getting airborne to perform (multiple) spins. Yes, I can do quadruple spins – that is a 1440! Oh yeah  you must land the board on the wave at an angle that won’t see you diving into the surf.

California Games

Footbag – or hacky sack. The premise is simple, keep the bag off the ground by kicking, kneeing or head-butting it in the air. Earn extra points by spinning around while the bag is in the air or by hitting George. Who is George you ask ? He is the friendly seagull that you hit as he flies across the top of the screen. Luckily animal welfare groups were cool about knocking off seagulls back in 1989.

The challenge of each event is always to beat your (or your friends) high score. The only way to achieve a higher score is to nail the timing in each event. Get the timing wrong, and not only does your score suffer, the game also humiliates you with light hearted quips. Thankfully, these were left in the Lynx game.

So there you have it – four obscure events that are quite enjoyable to play. If you have a Lynx, California Games is a mandatory addition to your games library.

California Games

GraphicsAwesome detail and animation in all events. This game shows off the power of the Lynx

92%

SoundSimply awesome and ambient tunes for each event. The sound effects are just so sweet too

92%

PlayabilityFour distinct events which will keep you on your toes

94%

LastabilitySingle or multi player, this game is built to be replayed so those high scores and records can be broken

95%

OverallThe perfect mix of variation, challenge, enjoyment and fun.

93%

 

Elevator Action

Elevator Action

How many times have you walked in an elevator and starting thinking you were in the 1983 Taito game, Elevator Action? Never! Really? It must be me, I am strange like that.

Elevator Action

Since Elevator Action is turning 30 this year, I thought it was a good opportunity to have a game, for old times’ sake. So, how does it stack up after all these years – is it still fun to play? Read on.

Elevator Action

For those that have never laid eyes on this game, the protagonist is Otto, or Agent 17. Otto is tasked with collecting secret documents from rooms (behind red doors) within the 30-floor building. He makes his way between floors via the elevator (hence the title – d’oh) and on certain floors, he can use the escalators. To make things interesting, enemies appear at the most inopportune time to get Otto and derail his whole secret mission.

Otto is no slouch when it comes to defending himself. As a secret agent, he is armed and dangerous. His trusty gun can fire three bullets per shot. If that doesn’t work, the enemies can be kicked. By far the most satisfying way to eliminate the bad guys, is by shooting a light on the ceiling while in the elevator, dropping the light onto the baddies. The byproduct of a dropped light is that the hallways become temporarily dark which makes the enemies harder to see – makes the heart rate go up a notch too. Another way to get kills on the board is to crush the bad dudes with the elevator – gee I’m a sadist.

Elevator Action

After Otto collects all documents, he has to make his way down to the basement where he can escape via his getaway car. For some inexplicable reason, Otto proceeds to another building for more secret document hunting instead of driving off in the sunset. Ah, once an agent, always an agent.

The controls are four-way (up, down, left, right) with two buttons, one for firing, the other for jumping/kicking – Taito catered for right and left-handed players by having these buttons on either side of the centred joystick. The game can become hectic, with the timer ticking down and enemy spies that pop-up just when you don’t want them to. Even though the action may seem limited, the game is still as much fun to play now, as it was 30 years ago. The graphics and sound could do with a spruce up, but back then, it was all about instant playability – which Elevator Action has in abundance.

GraphicsVery basic in this department – enemies wear the traditional black suit with top-hat to match. Documents are hidden behind red doors, and the elevator is cool to watch go up and down.

76%

SoundRun of the mill bleeps and blops. Nothing to tune your ears into.

65%

PlayabilityTaito plonged the joystick in the middle, with buttons on either side – catering for both right and left-handed players. Pick your buttons, and away you go being a secret agent.

80%

LastabilityThe gameplay may feel limited, but this is not a game to play for hours on end. It is great to play in short burts from time to time.

78%

OverallUp, Down, Left, Right, Jump, Fire. No, not the Konami code, just the control mechanisms for a secret agent. Great game to kill 10 minutes of your time.

81%

 

Elevator Action

Manufacturer: Taito
Year: 1983
Genre: Platform
Number of Simultaneous Players: 1
Maximum number of Players: 2
Gameplay: Alternating
Control Panel Layout: Single Player
Controls:
– Joystick: 4-way [up, down, left, right]
– Buttons: 2 [Fire and Jump]
Sound: Amplified Mono (single channel)

 

 

Robotron:2084

Robotron_2084

Eugene Jarvis sure knows how to design intense and playable games. From his plethora of awesome creations, Robotron:2084 (or simply, Robotron) stands out for its sheer mayhem. Yes, I am aware that Mr Larry DeMar was also part of the design duo that brought us this fab game.

I first laid eyes on the Robotron arcade machine in the mid 80′s at the arcade parlor near my school. To say I was mesmerized would be a great understatement. I intently watched others play the game so that I could learn from their mistakes and get more playtime out of my 40 cents. Once I grabbed the two control sticks (no fire buttons here matey!) it was a massive adrenaline rush of evading, attacking and rescuing.

Robotron_2084

There is a plot to all of this mayhem. As I do not want to bore you with detail, here is the short version: Robots (Grunts, Tanks, Spheroids/Enforcers, Brains, & Hulk) have revolted against the human race (Terminator anyone?) and it is the protagonists job to rescue the last remaining human family before the robots annihilate everyone and take over.

Robotron_2084

With the plot set, the next thing to get your head around playing this game is the dual-joystick control system. The left-hand joystick provides maneuverability (usual eight directions) to evade the robots and also rescue the humans. The right-hand joystick is used to fire the laser gun (also in eight directions) to disintegrate the robots in each wave (level). Once you get the hang of the control system, you will be blasting Grunts, Tanks, Brains and rescuing the hapless humans in no time.

The play area is set on one screen – there is no scrolling. Each wave contains a number of different robots and humans to rescue. This game is relentless, there is no time to wipe your brow and high five your mates while playing. Once you meet the ‘Hulk’ robot, things get interesting – he (I assume it’s male) is the one robot that can not be killed. Your laser gun can slow him down, but the basic premise is, evade him and get going on rescuing those humans.

I guess I can rave on about this game till the cows come home, but I will leave you with this – if you want intense gaming, then look no further, Robotron:2084 will provide it in truckloads !

GraphicsSimple sprites to depict the robots, obstructions and humans. The screen can get busy, but this makes your heart palpitate (in a good way)

77%

SoundVery meaty sound effects. Your laser gun sounds like it can penetrate anything

81%

PlayabilityThe dual-joystick control system will take some time getting used to, but persist with it – you will be rewarded

90%

LastabilityThe legacy of the mayhem that is Robotron:2084, has survived for 3 decades. I am sure it will last for more

93%

OverallEvade, Shoot, Rescue = perfect ingredients for the ultimate old school arcade shooter

92%

robotron_arcade-cabinet

Manufacturer: Williams Electronics. Inc.
Year: 1982
Genre: Shooter
Number of Simultaneous Players: 1
Maximum number of Players: 2 (alternating)
Control Panel Layout: Single Player
Controls:
– Left Joystick: 8-way [Move];
– Right Joystick  8-way [Fire]
Sound: Amplified Mono (single channel)

 

 

Astro Wars Review

Astro Wars - portable tabletop

Back in the early 80’s, the closest thing to having an arcade in your home was to have one of a plethora of electronic tabletops. In a sea of these portable tabletops, one stood out head and shoulders – Grandstand’s (Epoch developed), Astro Wars. Everything about this black and grey beast was and still is uber cool. It looks like a miniature arcade and it even plays like one. It has a 2-way metal joystick (for left and right movement) and one big plastic fire button – what more could you want !

Astro Wars - portable tabletop

Even after three decades, the hardware oozes coolness. Just look at the unit ! The display is a “vacuum fluorescent display”, or VFD (the box says Multicolour FIP Display !). This was used on consumer-electronics equipment back in the early 80’s, like calculators. Unlike liquid crystal displays, a VFD could emit a very bright light with high contrast and could support display elements of various colours.

Astro Wars - portable tabletop

The unit feels sturdy and can be powered by mains (6 Volt) or with four ‘C’ batteries. The unit is “portable” – perhaps only around the house as you wouldn’t want to lug it around.

Astro Wars - portable tabletop

So, how does this Astro Wars play ? Well, as a shoot’em up, it is quite simple – move your earth ship left / right to avoid missiles from the fierce squadron of attacking fighters and fire back to blast them into smithereens. Once you blast away waves of enemy fighters, warships and command ships, you attempt the docking manoeuvre – landing the upper module to the rocket part of your earth ship. Succeed with this manoeuvre, and you are given extra points. Speaking of points, once you reach 9999, the counter resets to zero and you have effectively “clocked the game”. When you do end up finishing the game, you still want to re-play it. Now that is saying something for a game that has been around for 30+ years. How many other games can you say that about ? OK, I hear people screaming Pac-Man and Donkey Kong, and yes, them too.

If you want a cool piece of gaming history with “pew-pew sounds” and a great game to boot, then hunt down this unit – you will not regret it.

Space Harrier

space_harrier - arcade - gameplay screenshot

Yu Suzuki, Sega’s answer to Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto, has produced some of the most iconic arcade games ever. How does Out Run, After Burner, Power Drift, Super Hang-On and Virtua Fighter (to name a few) grab you ? Before all these superlative arcade titles, it was the 1985 hit Space Harrier, that propelled Yu into the stratosphere of legendary game developers.

space_harrier - arcade - gameplay screenshot

The gameplay is simple and addictive. As a third-person rail shooter, you whiz around the screen (you can run along the ground or fly), shooting at the enemies that come flying into the foreground. While making your way through each level, you must also avoid enemy projectiles and any stationary objects in your way.

space_harrier - arcade - gameplay screenshot

At the end of each level, you battle the bosses. These bad dudes are tough to beat. You will find yourself dodging and weaving while relentlessly shooting away, hoping they die before you do. Once you defeat all the bosses that reappear on level 18, the game is completed. If you do get this far, give yourself a pat on the back.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOH68OsvOEI[/youtube]

Space Harrier’s legacy has been propagated ever since it appeared in the arcades. If you are lucky enough to find the sit-down version of the game, grab as many coins as you can and start pumping them in. Mr. Yu Suzuki, take a bow.

space_harrier - arcade - gameplay screenshot

GraphicsThere is some cool pseudo-3D sprite scaling going on, which for the time, was damn awesome. It still holds up today.

79%

SoundPretty cool soundtrack and nice meaty effects of your blaster as you mow down the enemies

84%

PlayabilityUsing the analogue flight stick control, Space Harrier gives you precision perfect control of your character as you dart around the screen, avoiding and shooting at stuff

89%

LastabilityConsidering it was released in 1985 and gamers are still talking about it, I think that speaks volumes of its legacy

90%

OverallSeek it and play it, now !

90%

space_harrier - arcade - gameplay screenshot

Manufacturer:Sega
Year: 1985
Genre: Shooter (into the screen)
Number of simultaneous players: 1
Maximum number of players: 1
Gameplay: Single
Joystick: Analog stick with trigger [Fire]
Sound: Amplified Stereo (two channel)

 

 

 

 

 

Double Dragon: 1987 vs 2012

Double_Dragon-1987

vs

Double_Dragon-Neon-2012

 

They say imitation is the best form of flattery. So what do they say about a reboot of a classic ? I know, DON’T do it, leave it alone !

Double_Dragon-Neon-2012

I am an old school retro gamer, and yes, I also dabble in the current generation video gaming systems. When I heard that one of my favorite beat’em ups would be rebooted on the current gen consoles, I was salivating at the thought of kicking some black warrior heads. Well, I have finally ‘tasted’ the Double Dragon Neon reboot, and let me say this – I was initially wowed (nostalgia got to me) but within a few minutes of play I started comparing Neon to the original arcade game. I found myself thinking, I would rather be playing the original !

Double_Dragon-1987

As they say, original is always best. In this case, it is. The Double Dragon of 1987 was a ‘tour de force’. It set the standard that all other two player co-op beat’em ups would be judged upon. It had soul, it had grittiness, it immersed you in the action as you strive to save your girlfriend, even if you had to fight your brother for her affection.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xT0re3Ml7w0[/youtube]

If you are curious how Double Dragon Neon has turned out, get the free demo. If you actually want to (re)play it, then go ahead and buy it, otherwise, get your hit (pun intended) on the original.

Must watch video gaming documentaries

Seldom do video gamers get any mass produced video games related programs. But, the few that have been made and released, should be added to any self respecting video gamers library. The three video games based documentaries that are a must watch are:

Tetris - From Russia with Love

Tetris: From Russia with Love

Synopsis: Fortunes were made and lawsuits fought as Tetris swept the world in the 1980s and killed a million conversations. But 20 years after the creation of this technological phenomenon, its inventor Alexey Pajitnov is only just beginning to make any money.

Released: 2004

iMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0409371/
website: BBC Four

Chasing Ghosts - Beyond the Arcade
Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the Arcade

Synopsis: In 1982, at the dawn of the video-game age, the world’s giants of gaming gathered together in a now-legendary meeting at Iowa’s Twin Galaxies arcade. This documentary from director Lincoln Ruchti looks at the players then and now, offering an insightful and nostalgic look at the history of gaming fanaticism.

Released: 2007

iMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0479879/
website: http://www.chasingghoststhemovie.com/

The King of Kong - A Fistful of Quarters
The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

Synopsis: The King of Kong follows the exploits of the two best Donkey Kong players in America, the cocky and current world record holder, Billy Mitchell, and the challanger, the ever gracious, Steve Wiebe.

Released: 2007

iMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0923752/
website: http://www.newline.com/properties/kingofkongtheafistfulofquarters.html

The Atari Lynx

The Atari Lynx - 1

The Handy from Epyx, was the brainchild of David Morse, Dave Needle and the legendary RJ Mical. All three were the masterminds behind the Amiga. The collaboration of the device was done on a napkin in August 1986 – well before anyone else had thought of a portable gaming device like this. The Handy was the first full colour, 16-bit portable device. There are arguments till this day about how many ‘bits’ this device had. For me, it was, and still is 16-bit.

 

Epyx, not having the finances to take the product to market themselves were planning on selling the technology to Nintendo. Little did they realise, Nintendo was already working on their own portable device, the Gameboy.

The Atari Lynx vs The Nintendo Gameboy

When the Nintendo deal fell through for the Handy, Epyx approached none other than Jack Tramiel, owner of Atari at the time. Atari had attempted to create their own portable device (the Atari 2200), however, they could not get it right, so the Handy was perfect timing for them. The Handy became the Atari Lynx and the rest as they say, is history.

 

The Atari Lynx was released in the US in 1989 (1990 in the UK). The price of the unit was $100 more than the Gameboy. This price disparity, and the fact that Nintendo bundled the killer app Tetris with their unit, basically killed the market share for Atari’s new portable device. The original Lynx unit was bulky and also suffered from a short battery life – it chewed the 6 x AA batteries in no time when compared to the Gameboy. This just added to the woes of the Lynx.

The Atari Lynx Games

Atari eventually released the Lynx II, which was half the price of the original unit and was also smaller and cheaper to manufacture. The Lynx II introduced stereo sound and a pause button. This newer version also had longer battery life – a relief for avid fans.

 

As Atari thought they were on a winner with the Lynx II, along came Sega’s Game Gear in 1991. Although the Lynx was far superior than the Game Gear, it could not compete with Sega’s vast advertising budget and resources. The Game Gear was also backward compatible with the extensive library of Master System games.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKXScEpZ94Q[/youtube]

 

Even though Atari’s Lynx was relegated in the portable device market by the Gameboy and later by the Game Gear, it was still home to some awesome games and arcade conversions like: Chip’s Challenge, Klax, California Games, Blue Lightning, Rampart, Lemmings, Roadblasters, Paperboy, Rampage, STUN Runner, Xenophobe, Xybots and Zarlor Mercenary.

The Lynx fate was sealed in the early 90′s, not due to inferior hardware, but to better and smarter marketing from the likes of Nintendo and Sega. The device enjoys a cult following till this day in the retro gaming realm. So, do yourself a favour, grab a Lynx II. You will not be disappointed.

Hard Driving

Hard Driving

With a plethora of terrible games out there, I thought the decision would be quite easy. Little did I realise, I found myself struggling to come up with one bad game that truly grated my retro gaming nerves. I could write about how terrible ET was for the Atari 2600, but I thought that everyone already knew that. Then, a light bulb went off in my head ! Why not write about a game that promised so much and delivered so little – Hard Drivin’ on the C64. Get your vomit bag out and read on……

Hard Driving - Gameplay Screenshot

 

Format: Commodore 64
Year: 1989
Publisher: Tengen
Developer: Domark

Don’t be fooled by the “C+VG HIT” on the cover of this game. This game was more of a miss than a hit. Originally released in the arcades in 1988 by Atari Games, Hard Drivin’ was a revolutionary coin-op. It was touted as the world’s first authentic driving simulation. The game featured state-of-the-art polygon graphics and realistic force feedback controls, all designed to offer gamers a sense of what it might be like to sit behind the wheel of a high-performance car. So how do you convert this sense of driving, to an 8-bit system and still make it playable ?

Hard Driving - Gameplay Screenshot

Well, in hindsight, you can’t. This conversion was an absolute catastrophe on the trusty C64. It featured hideous monochrome graphics, and the control system was a joke – any slight pressure on the joystick, and your car would instantly veer out of control.

The other frustrating aspect of the game was the sense of speed, or lack thereof. Driving at 140mph felt like my grandmother could walk faster with her walking frame. Perhaps the speedometer was measuring speed in hours-per-mile.

Hard Driving - Gameplay Screenshot

Did I mention the graphics ! It is absolutely laughable when seeing oncoming traffic – it looks like a flying double bed coming at you at a snail’s pace. Embarrassing as this game is, it was never released as a standalone game, nor at full price ! Perhaps the publisher knew it was a pile of stinking poo.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYwgMy3ckkw[/youtube]

In a nutshell, this C64 conversion offered the gamer to drive a painfully slow and uncontrollable vehicle around a bland and ugly looking world. This title easily wins the award for the worst C64 arcade racer ever, period !

GraphicsAs close to hideous as possible. Prepare your visual cortex for an ugly onslaught

9%

SoundYour ears will be begging you to stuff plugs in them

9%

PlayabilityNo sensation of speed, bland and utter ugly track design. You will stop playing it after a few seconds

1%

LastabilityYou will turn off this game faster than you can say “This is crap!”

0%

OverallHard Drivin’ on the C64 wins the turd ribbon for being exactly that, a stinking turd

4%

PC-Engine: Must have games

The PC-Engine console, a collaboration between Hudson Soft and NEC, was released late 1987 in Japan and mid 1999 in North America. NEC changed the name in the US to the TurboGrafx-16. The US unit also had a facelift, it was bulkier (and uglier) compared to its smaller, sleeker Japanese counterpart.

PC Engine

 

If you were one of the lucky ones to have this cult retro console, or one of its variants, here are 5 must have games you need to add to your collection:

Gomola Speed:

Gomola_Speed

Play as a segmented caterpillar-like creature that has to encircle food in order to exit each level. As you work your way around each area, you pick up new body segments which makes you longer, and have the ability drop bombs that attract the enemy bugs which are then stunned. This is a superb title that mixes strategy with puzzle elements to great effect.

Splatterhouse:

Splatterhouse

 Parapsychology students, Rick and Jennifer, set out to investigate paranormal activity at West Mansion. This arcade conversion remains faithful to the gloriously gory coin-op. The American version was sadly censored upon release. The Japanese version is the one to get.

R-Type:

R-Type

Irem’s legendary side scrolling shoot’em up is regarded as one of the PC-Engine’s most accomplished arcade conversions. This was the PC-Engine’s ‘killer app’. The premise was simple, pilot your R-9 fighter to wipe out the evil Bydo Empire. R-Type was split into two HuCards – so if you want the complete game, you will have to buy both.

Gekisha Boy / Photo Boy:

Photo Boy

 This is the most original and innovative game on the PC-Engine. Photo boy is a budding paparazzo tasked to earn points by taking photographs of newsworthy happenings throughout several different environments. Using the on-screen crosshair, you must take snaps of various objects and events while avoiding obstacles. Think of Paperboy with a camera and you have Photo Boy.

PC Genjin / PC Kid / Bonk’s Adventure:

Bonk’s Adventure

Nintendo had Mario, Sega had Sonic. Although not as famous as these two, NEC had PC Genjin, or as he was known in different regions,  PC Kid or Bonk. You play a cave boy going through prehistoric lands head-butting dinosaurs.

Some notable games that just missed out (and I do mean, just !) on making this list: Parasol Stars, Street Fighter II: Champion Edition, Bomberman’94 and Devil Crash.

If you have never played on the PC-Engine do yourself a favour and hunt one down – or find someone that does, and give these games a whirl.
YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED !

Bubble Bobble

 

Bubble Bobble - Arcade - Gameplay Screenshot

This is the beginning of a fantastic story!! Let’s make a journey to the cave of monsters!

Bubble Bobble - Arcade - Gameplay Screenshot
I know, too many exclamations. Well, when you are reviewing Bubble Bobble, you just can’t help yourself!

Bubble Bobble - Arcade - Gameplay Screenshot

So what is this game about ? Well, in case you have been under a rock since 1985, you play two transformed dinosaurs, Bub and Bob – you try to complete 100 levels and then rescue your girlfriends by trapping the Baron’s minions in bubbles and bursting them. Sounds easy huh ? Well, not quite. This game grabs you by the scruff of the neck and then shakes you up in the later levels –  it gets hard, very hard. However, Baron von Blubba has left a number of power-ups and hidden abilities to help Bub and Bob get further in the game, like: bubblegum, teapot, umbrella (to teleport), water and lightning bubbles. You better get your bubble-blowing fingers in readiness !

Bubble Bobble - Arcade - Gameplay Screenshot

Well, what can I say that has not been said about this great coin-op game. Bubble Bobble is an absolute classic !

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4CTi4Wv7WA[/youtube]

GraphicsCute graphics of Bub and Bob blowing bubbles and bursting their enemies

85%

SoundThe sound effects and catchy soundtracks are dead on perfect and complimentary to the visuals and gameplay

85%

PlayabilityAn easy to pick up and play game. This game is fun in single player mode, but when you grab a friend and frolic in joint play, nothing else beats it !

92%

LastabilityWith 100 levels, and two game modes (normal or super) this will last a life time. Yeh, you may find it tough after level 20, but I guarantee you will want to keep going. That is its timeless charm

92%

OverallThis is as close as you can get to a perfect game. Easy to get into and play, fun and hard levels (and there are 100 of them!) and in the end, you rescue your girlfriend and become a hero. Nothing could be better

93%

Bubble Bobble - Arcade - Gameplay Screenshot

Manufacturer: Taito
Year: 1986
Genre: Platform
Number of Simultaneous Players: 2
Maximum number of Players: 2
Gameplay: Joint
Control Panel Layout: Multiple Player
Joystick: 2-way [left or right]
Buttons: 2 [fire and jump]
Sound: Amplified (Mono or Stereo)

 

 

Bomb Jack

Good old Bomb Jack. Could he have been the first ever bomb disposal expert in video gaming ? Perhaps he was. It doesn’t really matter, does it.

Bomb Jack - Arcade - Gameplay Screenshot

Released in 1984, our little hero garnered a cult following. He may have worn red spandex, but that didn’t stop us from pumping coins into his machine.

Bomb Jack - Arcade - Gameplay Screenshot

The premise of the game is pretty straight forward – collect all the bombs to complete a screen. Only one bomb at a time has a lit fuse. If you collect 20 or more of these lit bombs on a level, you get a bonus.

Bomb Jack - Arcade - Gameplay Screenshot

It’s not all easy going for Jack, he has to avoid various monsters and aliens that chase him around the screen. However, if you collect the powerball when it appears, it freezes the baddies for a short period of time, during which, you can kill them simply by touching them. There are other items to be picked up that give you additional bonus points or extra credits.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jJzasm63DE[/youtube]

The game starts to repeat after Level 18. However, you will be too busy darting around the screen, collecting bombs to notice. Bomb Jack is one of those old games that invoke memories of playing it at the corner shop or fish’n chips store across your school. I know, it does for me. Most of my pocket money went into playing this game. It kept me out of trouble, which is always a good thing.

GraphicsIt was 1984, so what do you expect !

72%

SoundAs above !

70%

PlayabilityAnother typical arcade game from the early / mid 80′s – dart around the screen, collect stuff and avoid the baddies. Damn that’s a lot of fun

85%

LastabilityWell, the levels repeat after level 18, but who cares, this game oozes nostalgia. It is a great “pick up and play for 10 minutes” kind of game – which is perfect for us time-poor gamers

85%

OverallThis will not be the first game that comes to mind from the 80′s arcade era. But, if you do come across it, play it. It has the perfect mix of platform and puzzle fun. I guarantee it will put a smile on your dial.

85%

 Bomb Jack - Arcade - Gameplay Screenshot

Manufacturer: Tehkan
Year: 1984
Genre: Single screen platform
Number of Simultaneous Players: 1
Maximum number of Players: 2
Gameplay: Alternating
Control Panel Layout: Single Player
Joystick: 8-way
Buttons: 1 [jump]
Sound: Amplified Mono (single channel)

Wizard of Wor

 

Who would have thought, a game released in 1981 would still be played and enjoyed in this day and age ! It just proves that quality always trumps quantity.
This game has simple graphics and even simpler sound effects. But what it does have, is oodles of gameplay, and let’s admit it, that is the most important part of any game, retro or new.

Wizard of Wor-arcade-gameplay-screenshot

Wizard of Wor is a timeless classic. Game play is simple – one or two players, known as Worriors, move around a variety of line-drawn dungeons (mazes), shooting the creatures that wander within. These creatures, or Worlings (Burwors, Garwors and Thorwors), are eliminated so that the player progresses to an even harder dungeon. On each of these levels, there are bonus monsters, called Worluks, and occassionaly, the Wizard makes a special guest appearance – see The Dungeons of Wor.

Wizard of Wor-arcade-gameplay-screenshot

Each dungeon has different maze patterns, with escape doors that your Worrior can walk through to re-appear on the opposite side of the maze – this is great for when things get tough and you need a quick exit. Be warned though, the Worlings and Worluks can also use these escape doors !

Wizard of Wor-arcade-gameplay-screenshot

The Dungeons of Wor:

Basic Dungeons – consist of short passages and long corridors.
The Arena – appears after the first bonus Worrior is awarded. The most difficult of the basic dungeons with an open central maze area.
Worlord Dungeons – Dungeons ’8′ (and subsequent dungeons) are more difficult where the player is likely to engage the Wizard. In these dungeons, the player is addressed as “Worlord”
The Pit – the 13th dungeon appears after the second bonus Worrior is awarded. It is an entirely open area, with no place to hide and requires the greatest skill for survival. Eliminating all Worlings, Worluks and Wizard earns continued play.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=srPdPw9VH2A[/youtube]

If you doubt how good this is game is, I urge you to give it a try. Game play is simple enough for any player to pick up in an instant. Mastering it is another story. I do warn you though, once you enter the dungeon, it is difficult to stop – you will be hooked !

GraphicsSimplistic, but that doesn’t matter

75%

SoundThe tempo of the effects and droning music picking up as you are about to clear out the last Worling, gets the heart racing !

85%

PlayabilityEasy to get into, you just move up – down – left – right and then fire. Sounds simple enough !

92%

LastabilityIf you clear out the Pit dungeon, then you earn continued play. You may find this exhausting and a bit samey, but rest assured, this is the game’s magic – you will want to keep on playing.

90%

OverallIf you do not have access to the arcade version of the game, then hit up the brilliant C64 conversion. WoW is a classic !

92%

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=srPdPw9VH2A

Manufacturer:Bally Midway
Year: 1981
Genre: Labyrinth / Maze
Number of simultaneous players: 2
Maximum number of players: 2
Gameplay: Either
Joystick: 4-way
Buttons: 1 (Fire)

R-Type

Format: HuCard
Developer: Hudson Soft / Irem
Released: 1988 (Japan) / 1989 (US)
Genre: Shoot’em Up

 r-type-pc-engine-box

Irem’s legendary side scrolling shoot’em up is regarded as one of the PC-Engine’s most accomplished arcade conversions. This was (and still is) the PC-Engine’s ‘killer app’.
The game-play is simple, pilot your R-9 fighter to wipe out the evil Bydo Empire.

R-type-pc-engine-gameplay-screenshot-

 

Your R-9 fighter is equipped with a small gun which can only shoot down the smallest of enemies without firing several shots. But, if you hold down the fire button long enough, you can load up your shot so it releases a massive burst of energy, eliminating all but the strongest enemies in its path.  To assist in bringing down tougher Bydo enemies (and help you get further in this tough game), there are souped up weapons that can be collected along the way, like the diagonally firing lasers and the mega powerful circular red laser. When combined with the homing missiles and orbs that protect you, your R-9 becomes a Bydo blasting behemoth.

R-type-pc-engine-gameplay-screenshot-

 

There aren’t enough superlatives you could use to describe how great this game is. From the music, to the graphics, the stage layouts, the enemies – they are all perfect in this coin-op conversion. Even the difficulty is spot on (it’s tough) ! This is as close to a perfect horizontally scrolling shoot’em up you can get on the PC-Engine. Do not miss it !

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9BicddeXdg[/youtube]

GraphicsAs close as possible to arcade perfect.

90%

SoundYour ears will thank you.

90%

PlayabilityEasy to pick up and play, but tough to beat and master. The difficulty is just right.

93%

LastabilityYou will be playing this for years to come. All side-scrolling shoot’em ups are judged against this game.

94%

OverallIf you have a PC-Engine, this is your killer app. Go and get it !

93%

Pit Fighter

[youtube id=”Enter video ID (eg. bsND7aibvOQ)” width=”633″ height=”356″]

Pit Fighter

 

Back in 1990, Atari released Pit-Fighter – the first fighting game to include digitised fighting characters. This animation was created through a “bluescreen” process which was a major feat for the day. It was the precursor to Mortal Kombat..

Pit-Fighter-Gameplay-Screenshot-

Pit-Fighter has three fighters to choose from: Buzz, the ex-professional wrestler; Ty, the kick-boxing champion; and Kato, the third degree black-belt expert. Each fighter has their own fighting style, strengths, weaknesses and super moves.The premise of the game is to take your fighter through 15 different fights, with grudge matches (bonus rounds) every three fights. You become champion once you defeat the Masked Warrior.

Pit-Fighter-Gameplay-Screenshot-

 

Pit-Fighter has some interesting twists amongst its gameplay. Firstly, it has sly spectators that get involved in your fights by knifing you. They lurk amongst the crowd, so watch out ! The game also has weapons and objects to use, like: barrels, crates, knives, spiked balls, oil drums, sticks, bar stools and even a motorcycle ! But, beware – these weapons and objects can also be used against you ! If things weren’t interesting enough, there are power pills in later stages that can temporarily make both your fighter and opponent more powerful and difficult to hurt and ultimately, defeat.

Pit-Fighter-Gameplay-Screenshot-

Pit-Fighter hasn’t really aged too well, but it does offer nostalgic value with its digitised fighters and interesting gameplay, with crowd involvement and outrageous weapons/objects to use. So, if you want to relive the daddy of digitised fighters, throw in a few coins into Pit-Fighter.

Pit Fighter - Gameplay Screenshot - Arcade Cabinet

Manufacturer: Atari
Year: 1990
Genre: Fighting
Number of simultaneous players: 3
Maximum number of players: 3
Gameplay: Team
Joystick: 8-way
Buttons: 3 (Punch, Kick and Jump)
Sound: Amplified Mono (single channel)

Guerrilla War

 

Guerrilla War - SNK - Arcade - Gameplay Screenshot

Ah yeh, Guerrilla War, released by SNK in 1987, was the first game I played with a rotary joystick. Unlike Ikari Warriors where you had the joystick to move side to side and shoot, Guerrilla War allowed you to move your fighter and at the same time, rotate the gun to shoot in 8 directions !  This rotary “gimmick” seemed to work, as it was used on other games, notably, Heavy Barrel and Midnight Resistance.

                        Guerrilla War - SNK - Arcade - Gameplay Screenshot

The game is a 1 or 2 player survival shooting game, in the mould of Ikari Warriors. Play can be simultaneous or either player can join in at any stage during the game. The players have machine guns to mow down baddies and grenades to lob at them. Along the way, the players can also get into tanks and cause maximum damage (and get further into the game). There are bonus weapons too, when certain enemies are killed.

                        Guerrilla War - SNK - Arcade - Gameplay Screenshot

The freedom fighter, and communist leader connection was due to the original Japanese version of Guerrilla War, titled, Guevara. The Japanese game was based on the exploits of the revolutionary, Ernesto “Che” Guevara and the Cuban commy leader, Fidel Castro. Fearing extreme anti-Communist sentiments in the West, SNK did a regionalisation of the game’s dialogue and instruction manual for its US and European releases.

Guerrilla War - SNK - Arcade - Gameplay Screenshot

The game’s description was changed to: The country is struggling against the cruel domination of the king. The guerrilla leader and his comrades attempt to secretly land on shore, but the king’s military is waiting for them. Fight your way inland and attack the fortress.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4JmBDVWV-0[/youtube]

If you want to play a superlative Ikari Warriors rip-off, then this is your game. The rotary joystick is a godsend, as it allows you to walk and shoot in all directions, causing absolute carnage. Go on, throw a coin in the slot, and play some Guerrilla War.

 Guerrilla War - SNK - Arcade - Gameplay Screenshot - Cabinet

Manufacturer: SNK
Year: 1987
Genre: Vertical Scrolling Shooter
Number of Simultaneous Players: 2
Maximum number of Players: 2
Gameplay: Joint
Joystick: 8-way Rotary
Buttons: 2 [Fire and Grenade]
Sound: Amplified Mono (single channel)

 

 

Truxton

 

Truxton - Gameplay Screenshot - Banner

Truxton, or Tatsujin (Japanese for ‘Expert’), is a viciously addictive vertical shoot’em up. It was released by Taito in 1988. For the folks In the US, the game was licensed to Midway and Romstar for manufacture and distribution.

Truxton - Gameplay Screenshot

The premise of the game is quite simple – you control a fighter ship, taking power-ups and weapon-selection items along the way, and then using them to shoot down enemies. When the going gets tough, one press of the Tatsujin-bomb button exterminates every enemy on screen (the motherships and big bosses take more hits to kill).

Truxton - Gameplay Screenshot

As you progress through each area, it gets more critical to collect the various power-ups and weapons that come your way. The souped-up weaponry, like the green Tatsujin-beam, assist in killing the motherships with fewer shots. The game has 5 big bosses to defeat across 200 hundred areas (not levels!).

Truxton - Gameplay Screenshot

 

Vertical shoot’em ups have a simple premise, but the devil is in their gameplay detail.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_qoaWICjgc[/youtube]
Truxton has no shortage of gameplay and the vast areas and different enemy types, will keep you occupied for a long while. Put your space-suit on, whack on your helmet, and get in that fighter ship – the universe depends on it !

Truxton - Gameplay Screenshot - Cabinet

Manufacturer: Toaplan
Year: 1988
Genre: Vertical Shoot’em Up
Maximum number of players: 2
Gameplay: Alternating
Joystick: 8-way
Buttons: 2 (Fire and Bomb)
Control Panel Layout: Single Player
Sound: Amplified Mono (single channel)
Cabinet: Upright Standard
Weapons: Red – Power Shot, Blue – Sun Lader and Green – Tatsujin-Beam

 

Bad Dudes

“The President has been kidnapped by Ninjas. Are you a bad enough dude to rescue The President?”

Bad Dudes - Gameplay Screenshot - 1

The opening line uttered by the Secret Service agent immediately stirs the street fighter within you. Bad Dudes vs. Dragon Ninja can be played in single player mode as Blade (in white pants); or in two player co-op mode – the second player controlling Striker (in green pants).

Bad Dudes - Gameplay Screenshot

Blade and Striker’s mission is simple: rescue President Ronnie by pummeling all kinds of evil martial artists across seven levels within the allotted time. The attack moves at your disposal are fairly basic: low, middle, and high kicks. Each fighter can also perform a mega punch by holding down the attack button.

Bad Dudes - Gameplay Screenshot

Should Blade or Striker get the better of their armed opponent, they can pick up the dropped weapon, be it a knife or nunchuks, and use it to extend their attack range. This comes in handy for the end-of-level bosses. Speaking of bosses, even Karnov makes an appearance.

Bad Dudes - Gameplay Screenshot

Once you have ploughed through evil-doers across seven levels, you reach the final boss – the one and only, Mr Dragon Ninja himself. Defeat this evil kingpin and it is happy times as President Ronnie is freed from his kidnappers.

Bad Dudes - Gameplay Screenshot

 

After the popularity of Double Dragon in 1987, it was inevitable that arcade developers would make 1988 a co-op beat’em up fest to cash in on the genre’s popularity.

Bad Dudes - Gameplay Screenshot
The late 80′s was truly the Golden Era of beat’em ups. Grab a mate, and hit Bad Dudes vs. Dragon Ninja.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTjgV_9YFDQ[/youtube]

Bad Dudes vs. Dragon Ninja:

Bad Dudes - Gameplay Screenshot

Manufacturer: Nihon Bussan / AV Japan
Developer: Data East
Year: 1988
Genre: Beat’em Up (side scrolling fighter)
Maximum number of players: 2
Gameplay: Joint (co-operative)
Joystick: 8-way
Buttons: 2 (Attack and Jump)
Sound: Amplified Mono (single channel)
Cabinet: Upright Standard
Levels: 7 (Street, Truck, Sewers, Forest, Train, Cave and Dragon Ninja HQ / helicopter)

 

Step into the Australian Retro Gamer nostalgic time machine as we go back in retro gaming history and relive the consoles, the computers, the peripherals, the games, the people, the players and the magazines that made us all feel warm and fuzzy on the inside and put a huge smile on our face. You can view his website here.