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Posts Tagged ‘midway

Joust Review

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Joust.  Yes, that ostrich game you may have read about in the fiction novel Ready Player One by Earnest Cline. Well I’m going to talk about it today because the site needs more arcade love and its about time Joust had a review. Full disclosure, I did review this game across a few emulators including MAME and multiple Midway Collections on Mega Drive (Genesis), PSP, and Xbox. This review will feature some brief discussion on the cabinet itself, which I have been fortunate enough to try at retro gaming conventions.

Released in 1982 by Williams Entertainment, Joust is single screen joystick and one button flapping mash fest. You play a knight riding on the back of the magnificent ostrich. With a lance in hand, your goal is simple: take out every enemy rider on screen. Then you repeat that wave after wave until you run out of lives. The single button on the cabinet is responsible for flapping wings of your feathered beast. You have to rapidly press the button to get your bird off the ground, but once you have the momentum going it becomes quite the skill to take down the other riders. You need to be slightly above the other rider and hit them to take them down. Once they are out of action an egg will drop which you’ll need to collect before it re-hatches a new rider and you have to take them out all over again. It becomes a juggle of priorities, choosing to take out the other riders or collect the eggs. The first wave, titled “Buzzard Blitz,” is fairly easy. Just three opponents spawn to ease you into the game, but like with a lot of these Williams games don’t be disappointed if you do loose all your lives on the first wave. It can take a few attempts to come to grips with the controls and figure out your strategy. By this point – back in the arcade days – you would have sunk a decent chunk of change into the cabinet.

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Written by jamalais

July 1, 2017 at 11:00 am

Lost Treasures of Gaming: Smash TV

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There was no episode of Lost Treasures of Gaming, but that never stops Syd from talking about another classic on the OMG! Hour.  This week was a treat that I loved back when I was playing in the arcades, Smash TV.  A twin stick shooter with ultra violence in a futuristic gameshow, this Robotron 2084 inspired title was a blast.  Not only that, but thanks to how I captured the game we have interview footage with Midway developers Eugene Jarvis and Mark Turmell.

Check out the Lost Treasures of Gaming podcast at http://www.omgnexus.com.

Written by Fred Rojas

November 21, 2015 at 11:00 am

Now & Then: Mortal Kombat 3

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Mk3

Switching It Up

mk3_1A lot happened both in the talent pool of Mortal Kombat players and in the game design overall between the release of Mortal Kombat II and Mortal Kombat 3 (MK3).  For starters there was a mass exodus of on screen talent due to royalty disputes, so almost no one from the original two games returned for the third release.  In addition, Boon and his team were trying to turn Mortal Kombat into a viable fighting game with things no one had ever seen before and mechanics that could compete with the massive rush of fighters in arcades.  The game was completely Americanized, with all hints of Eastern influence including symbols, locales, and the soundtrack completely absent without a trace and instead replaced by urban stages, 90s hip-hop soundtracks, and cyborgs replaced the signature ninjas.  These locations were now composed of pre-rendered 3D backgrounds and the character sprites were almost totally digitized as opposed to the digitized/hand drawn hybrid of the previous games.  Along with it came an overhaul of the controls, including combos and a “run” button to address rightful claims that defensive players ruled the previous title.  It’s all one giant 90s metaphor but that doesn’t change the fact that MK3 (and it’s update Ultimate MK3 or UMK3) stands as the moment I felt the series went into the mainstream fighter territory.  Couple this with the fact that it was on just about every console that existed at the time, still dominated arcades, and had more content than rival Street Fighter II could ever dream to do with its iterations and I see why it’s creator Ed Boon’s favorite.  Mortal Kombat 3 definitely upped the ante.

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Smash TV Review

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smashtv_boxPlatform: Arcade, microcomputers, NES, Master System, Game Gear, SNES, Genesis/Mega Drive, Xbox/Gamecube/PS2/PSP (part of Midway Treasures)
Released: 1990
Developer: Williams
Publisher: Williams/Midway
Digital Release? Yes, it had a digital release on XBLA (360) but was delisted in Feb. 2010

Smashtv01These days there is a good chance any gamer is familiar with the “twin stick shooter”, a concept where you move with the left stick and shoot with the right.  Back in 1982 when fantastic game designer Eugene Jarvis premiered the concept in Robotron: 2084, it was unlike anything we had ever seen.  The merits of that game, and what it brought to video games, cannot be denied and if you want an idea of how Robotron played you need look no further than recent neo-retro release Rock Boshers Dx.  It wasn’t until almost a decade later, in 1990’s fantastic Smash TV, that Jarvis along with a talented team at Williams created one of the most addicting arcade games from my youth.  Set in the year 1999 – oh how we thought so much was going to change with the year 2000 back then – Smash TV has you and potentially one other person shooting it out in a room-to-room TV studio playing the most violent game show of all time (Running Man anyone?).  It takes the building blocks of Robotron: 2084 and brings it into the nineties by giving you a second player, having you kill tons of humans instead of rescue them like in Robotron, and of course you’re doing it all for cash prizes to selfishly grow your wealth.  I loved it then and I love it now.

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Written by Fred Rojas

March 24, 2015 at 11:34 am

Primal Rage Retrospective and Comparison Video

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Primal Rage was one of the more notable Mortal Kombat clones in arcades in 1994.  The popularity of this Atari Games fighter secured multiple ports to the home consoles of the time, a true cross-gen title that was on most portable, 16-bit, and 32-bit CD consoles.  GH101 looks into the history, gameplay, and home console versions of this dinosaur brawler.

Written by Fred Rojas

December 23, 2014 at 1:44 pm

Version: Mortal Kombat

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In this new video series we dissect the home versions of the arcade classic Mortal Kombat.  Check out the roughly 10 minute video for a quick retrospective on the title and the craze that resulted in September 1993 as many kids brought this violent title home.

Written by Fred Rojas

December 1, 2013 at 6:21 pm

Review: Revolution X

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revx_cabConsole: Arcade
Released: 1994
Developer: Midway / Rage Software (console)
Publisher: Midway / Acclaim (console)
Ports: Genesis, SNES, Playstation, Saturn, PC/DOS
Digital Release? No (probably due to license issues)

There are some games you can’t help but adore, even if they are completely without merit.  Revolution X is definitely one of those games.  When the title released to arcades in 1994, Aerosmith’s Get A Grip album was just around a year old and with solid hits like Living on the Edge and a slew of videos featuring Alicia Silverstone (who was discovered by the band and started her career in these initial videos).  What originally started as a Jurassic Park game much in the same vein as previous title Terminator 2, Revolution X had to be retooled when Sega outbid Midway for the rights to Universal’s film.  The result is a game with more off-the-wall and undeveloped ideas than a season of Lost that involves helping children around the world, saving the band, and stopping the New World Order and its leader Helga – a nazi-esque goth queen.

revx_1Revolution X has a hell of an intro, but as we often see in games like this it’s only a matter of time until it all falls apart.  Aerosmith is performing in some drab downtown Los Angeles club (Club X) and the New World Order shows up to kidnap the band.  You start off shooting the endless supply of henchmen with CDs as your grenades and large blood spatters as you take out enemies.  After all, this is the team that gave us Mortal Kombat.  Before even entering the club you will face literally hundreds of enemies, large security bosses with shields and bulletproof armor, and a massive tank.  Once inside you will blast away at (literally again) hundreds of NWO henchmen while destroying the intro lounge, complete with Kerri Hoskins (Sonya in MK3) as thonged dancers in cages, and eventually entire the massive main area where Aerosmith is jamming away to the song Eat the Rich.

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Written by Fred Rojas

May 4, 2013 at 11:00 am

Now & Then: Mortal Kombat (Midway)

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Last week Mortal Kombat released for the Playstation Vita and while I was playing it for review I couldn’t help but notice that the series has not changed much since it first released.  Normally this is a bad thing, but in the case of this series its strength relies on its simplicity.  Mortal Kombat is a game all about beating the crap out of your opponent and then topping it all off with a finishing move that is extremely violent in nature.

First Impressions

I still remember the day that I saw the first Mortal Kombat arcade out in the wild.  It was 1992, I was 10 and frequented the local roller rink where I could meet up with friends and play arcade games.  Yeah, even in 1992 the roller rink was still alive and well in Chicago’s northern suburbs.  At that time the arcade was dominated by Street Fighter II, a cartoon-like fighter from the geniuses at Capcom, but I wasn’t all that good at it and truthfully had little interest in fighters.  That is, until I walked in and saw a new game that prominantly displayed the title “Mortal Kombat” in bright yellow letters.  My first thought was how stupid it was that the word “combat” was misspelled, but then I noticed that the game used digitized realistic looking actors. Even more impressive was when the first uppercut made contact and a shower of blood erupted from the opponent’s face.  I was intrigued.

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Written by Fred Rojas

May 11, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Galaga (Namco)

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Just as America was tapering off from “Pac-Man fever” (we were obsessed with Pac-Man in the late 70s), arcade powerhouse Namco unleashed Galaga on us.  While it was quite popular and generated plenty of income for Namco, Galaga has always been the counterpart to the Pac-Man series that wasn’t as lucrative – it’s often bundled together with Ms. Pac-Man in re-released cabinets.  That’s not to say that Galaga doesn’t have its rightful place in American history, these days it’s more popular with my friends (and in bars, no less) than more traditional arcade staples.

Some may not know this, but Galaga is actually a sequel of Galaxian, which was released a year earlier in 1980.  Galaxian was basically a clone of Space Invaders that improved on the formula by featuring full color graphics versus the two colors of Space Invaders and had the enemies drop in pattern formations from different parts of the screen.  It also removed the barriers at the bottom.  Galaga updated the formula even more by allowing the ship to fire more than one bullet at a time, awarding bonus points for clearing stages and had an enemy that could capture your ship.  If your ship was captured you would lose a life but it would remain in possession of the thief until you destroyed it, at which point the ship would join your current one and you could fire with two ships.  This becomes a tactic that those in the high score world tend to take advantage of, although I’ve met a few that prefer to keep their ships out of alien possession.

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Written by Fred Rojas

March 22, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Posted in Shmuppreciation 2012

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