Keeping an eye on the coin-op gaming scene
Ace Combat: Assault Horizon was built to be more accessible, alienating fans of the series in the process, but the AI-assisted pursuit sequences you’d enter when you successfully engaged an enemy pilot tail were a successful piece of game design, if not a successful piece of Ace Combat design.
Mach Storm takes them as its central mechanic. The Paris, Washington, New York, Miami and Tokyo maps have been appropriated, too, and given a slight visual makeover, while the HUD has been redesigned for the cabinet, complete with a score counter and colossal onscreen text after each kill. You’re dragged from enemy to enemy on rails, with none of Assault Horizon’s open world between dogfights.
Like the game, its cabinet is a repurposed bit of tech. Originally home to Namco’s Gundam games, the Panoramic Optical Display almost completely surrounds players, while controls rest on a single flight stick and throttle. Add a rudder control and there’s nothing about the Ace Combat games it couldn’t handle. But arcades are about five minutes of fun and Mach Storm isn’t risking anything in an all-out sensory assault on short attention spans.
Game MachStorm Manufacturer Namco Bandai