10 Ar­cade Games You Might Have For­got­ten

David Hay­ward in­serts 10p for an ex­tra credit

Micro Mart - - Arcade Games -

Ar­cades were an amaz­ing place to spend your early teens. The neon-soaked at­mos­phere, sound­tracked by a ca­coph­ony of digi­tised sounds and that strange mi­asma of over­heat­ing cir­cuitry, was mu­sic to the senses. These days, it’s not quite the same... Gone are the clas­sics, leav­ing us with a smat­ter­ing of rac­ing ti­tles, some kind of shoot­ing game, gambling ma­chi­nesd odd ticket dis­pens­ing mon­strosi­ties.

Since it’s the sum­mer­time – a time when we used to look for­ward to go­ing on hol­i­day and ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the ar­cades of Brighton, Yar­mouth or an­other sea­side hol­i­day spot – we thought we’d look at ten ar­cade ti­tles you may have for­got­ten about. You won’t find Space In­vaders or Pac-Man in here or any of the usual top five clas­sics, but you will some crack­ing games that may spark a mem­ory or two.

Ry­gar

This 1986 Tecmo sidescrolling plat­former had you bat­tling across the land of Ar­gool as the res­ur­rected ul­ti­mate war­rior, Ry­gar. A pop­u­lar game, it ran off a dual Z80 4MHz board, with a 256 x 224 res­o­lu­tion dis­play. Although the first level was quite easy, the dif­fi­culty soon ramped up and the later lev­els had you tim­ing your jumps or else you’d fall into the lava or get done-in by the in­creas­ing num­ber of mon­sters.

Op­er­a­tion Wolf

Op­er­a­tion Wolf took the ar­cades by storm when it was re­leased in 1987. This on-rails shooter with an Uzi – or a cou­ple, in two player mode – as the main con­troller was tricky to master, but glo­ri­ous fun. From the in­tro, where the com­mando laces his boots, sheaths his knife and tapes grenades to his legs, to the digi­tised voice an­nounc­ing your in­ten­tion to take on the count­less waves of en­e­mies, it was a great game.

It needed a fair bit of power to run too, us­ing a com­bi­na­tion of a Z80 4MHz and a Mo­torola 6800 12MHz setup.

Xe­vi­ous

This early 1982 ver­ti­cal scrolling shooter from Namco used the same ba­sic hard­ware that the ever pop­u­lar Galaga was coded on – a three Z80 3MHz setup. This, too, was a quick-paced game that had you keep­ing an eye on the ae­rial pat­terns of the fly­ing sprites, but also try­ing to deal with its ground-based en­e­mies. Need­less to say, you’re bat­tling against an in­va­sion from an alien in­tel­li­gence come to re­claim the Earth – or some­thing like that.

It was a colour­ful and quite im­pres­sive game for the day, cer­tainly one to get hold of via MAME or other em­u­la­tion.

Bat­tle­zone

Now here’s a crack­ing wire­frame vec­tor graph­ics game from 1980 that played bril­liantly, but was a bit of beast when it came to mas­ter­ing the con­trols. You had two joy­sticks that moved the tank cater­pil­lar treads to the left or right – re­vers­ing one or the other. The viewscreen, in the early models, even had a kind of periscope to see through, em­u­lat­ing you look­ing through the view­port at the front.

Leg­end has it that the U.S. Army used this game to train its tank gun­ners. What’s def­i­nitely true, though, is that the MOS 6502 2MHz pro­ces­sor ran this in­cred­i­ble ma­chine, and it still plays well to­day.

El­e­va­tor Ac­tion

This Taito 1983 ti­tle wasn’t as pop­u­lar as it should have been over here in the UK. Those who trav­elled abroad, though, were prob­a­bly more fa­mil­iar with it un­less your lo­cal ar­cade was par­tic­u­larly well-stocked.

The game was re­ally quite clever. It cast you as a spy in­fil­trat­ing a build­ing with count­less doors and a set of lifts up the cen­tre. You had to work your way down the build­ing un­til you find any red doors, en­ter them and steal the plans within. Once you’ve got them you can work your way to the base­ment and es­cape.

Stop­ping you, how­ever, were the lift (el­e­va­tor) se­quences and nu­mer­ous hench­men who ap­pear out of the other doors to the build­ing and try to shoot you. Af­ter a while, the game be­comes quite fast paced and very tricky to master. Great fun, though.

Ras­tan

1987 saw Taito launch this ex­cel­lent sidescrolling plat­former hack and slash. Ras­tan has you as a mighty Co­nan-like bar­bar­ian war­rior, who’s quest is to slay a dragon – some­where to­ward the end of Round 6 – as well as ev­ery­thing else that gets in his path.

It’s a won­der­fully well-crafted ar­cade game, with a su­perb sound­track ac­com­pa­ny­ing it. One of our favourites, it ran ex­ceed­ingly well on its Mo­torola 68K and Z80 combo.

Karnov

Data East’s 1987 scrolling plat­former, Karnov, fea­tured an ex-cir­cus Rus­sian strong­man who could breath fire, pro­duce lad­ders from his pock­ets and ob­tain those pointy-toed boots that are al­ways in Aladdin films to make him run faster.

Although a strict by-the-num­bers scroller, Karnov was a fun game to play; mainly be­cause it was such a chal­leng­ing ti­tle to get to grips with. There was plenty of on-screen ac­tion, with most of it hap­pen­ing at once, which led to some pretty frus­trat­ing loss of life mo­ments.

Bad Dudes vs. DragonNinja

Ram­pant Ninja re­lated crimes seem to have been a prob­lem in 1988, at least ac­cord­ing to Data East they were. Here, you and a friend were tasked with tak­ing to the streets and kick­ing the snot out of a mul­ti­tude of colour­ful Ninja char­ac­ters as you work your way through seven lev­els in or­der to res­cue Pres­i­dent Ron­nie, the kid­napped leader of the free world.

When you fac­tored in a sec­ond player and the plethora of digi­tised grunts and groans it cre­ated as you laid waste to any­one that hap­pened upon the same screen space as you, Bad Dudes vs. DragonNinja was tremen­dous fun. Cheesy as any­thing, but fun.

18 Wheeler: Amer­i­can Pro Trucker

July 2000 saw the re­lease of SEGA’s 18 Wheeler, also known as 18 Wheeler: Amer­i­can Pro Trucker. A truck driv­ing rac­ing sim, the game de­manded you trans­port var­i­ous cargo loads from one place to an­other be­fore your ri­val trucker.

Along the way, you were awarded ex­tra time if you wiped out a cer­tain van, and you could edge your­self closer to the var­i­ous check­points and the fi­nal des­ti­na­tion by tak­ing ad­van­tage of short­cuts and the slip­stream from other large ve­hi­cles. Once you man­aged to com­plete the al­lot­ted mis­sion, you were awarded cash points based on how fast you got to the des­ti­na­tion, how much time was left on the count­down timer and whether you beat your ri­val to the goal.

Af­ter that, there came a mini-game where you had to park the truck within a cer­tain time limit. If you man­aged that, it gave you a power up of some de­scrip­tion.

The ar­cade ver­sion was su­perb, with a huge steer­ing wheel and even the horn cord on the sit-in ver­sions.

Track and Field

Kon­ami’s Track And Field from 1983 is to blame for all those joy­sticks be­ing bro­ken on the 8-bit ma­chines. It in­spired the likes of Da­ley Thomp­son’s De­cathlond count­less other joy­stick wag­gling games that left us in a sweat with sore arms.

Track And Field, though, in­stead of us­ing the joy­stick, had you pound­ing on a set of but­tons to force the ath­lete on the screen to ever faster speeds. With the right tim­ing and a set of very quick fin­gers, you could eas­ily beat the records set for the 100 me­tre dash, long jump, javelin, 110 me­tre hur­dles, ham­mer throw and the game’s fi­nale – the high jump.

In­sert Coin

While there are count­less other ar­cade games out there we could men­tion, we hope our brief ten will have brought a smile to your face as you fondly re­call drop­ping the best part of your pa­per round wages into them. mm

Tricky con­trols, but Bat­tle­zone was an in­stant hit

Op­er­a­tion Wolf, one of the clas­sic vi­o­lence and gam­ing talk­ing points

Ry­gar, a pop­u­lar sidescroller from Tecmo

Xe­vi­ous was an ad­vanced ver­ti­cal scrolling shooter

Ever wanted to drive an 18-Wheel truck? Well here’s your chance

Hither came Ras­tan, who sought to slay the dragon and kill ev­ery­thing in sight

But­ton mash­ing at its best with Kon­ami’s Track and Field

The fire breath­ing Rus­sian, Karnov, some­how kept lad­ders in his pock­ets

Are you 80s enough to be a Bad Dude and take on the Dragon Nin­jas?

El­e­va­tor Ac­tion seemed sim­ple to be­gin with, but soon be­came dif­fi­cult

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