Monday, 2 December 2013

Mame Hidden Gems A-M Round-up

I had expected my first post of December to be an update on my delayed challenge/project to build a Bartop Style MAME cabinet for £50 or less. Said update would have been fuelled by the delivery of a PC from my brother who, on Saturday, brought his family down to the coast to visit.

Unfortunately forgetfulness is a family trait - so I still don't have a dedicated PC for the cabinet.

The good news is that his company ship stuff around the country fairly regularly and he's agreed to send it down... although I won't be holding my breath!

So, rather than move straight onto N I've decided to mark halfway with a round up of what I've highlighted so far... Maybe by the time I've got to Z I'll actually have something to play these games on!


I kicked things off in the numbers with '99 The Last War - a fun Space Invaders style game with neat sprite scaling, next was 64th Street - a 30's USA set brawler, and finally there was 1-on-1 Government - a very cool basketball game with more than dash of fighting game inspiration.

I tested the limits of the 'Hidden Gem' moniker with Alien vs Predator in the As, but made up for that stretch with the Chase H.Q.-esque A.B.Cop and gorgeous mech-brawler Armored Warriors.

B brought to my attention the incredible Boogie Wings, a game that I now consider one of the best I've ever played. I wrote so much about it that I only had enough room left for a quick mention of simple-but-fun twin stick shooter Bullet.

Cotton 2, the Japan only horizontal cute-em-up started me off in C, followed by the Saturday matinee style Cliffhanger: Edward Randy. Last up was Change Air Blade, the entirely brilliant mash-up of fighting games and vertical shooters.

D began with eye candy v-shmup Dragon Blaze and continued on to mad sprite scaling, multi-directional fighter Dark Edge. Drift Out '94, the isometric/top down racer, was last up although I name dropped the two Dungeons and Dragons games which would have been featured had I been writing the last year, before they were re-released through XBLA/PSN.

A similar fate befell Esp Ra. De, EspGaluda, Eco Fighters, and Exzisus - all of which fell foul of my controls on what can be considered a hidden gem by being featured in various re-release collections. 
The honours for E instead went to '84 vertical shooter Equites, OTT first person mech shooter Enforce, and slightly mental but entirely brilliant v-shmup Explosive Breaker.

The audio visual barrage of contra-esque Finest Hour was the first to get a mention in the F bracket, Cave made their first appearance with Disco themed v-shmup Fever S.O.S, and lastly the simple but crazy addictive Fast Lane from Konami proved that classic concepts can still be improved upon.

There were so many great hidden gems starting with G that I had to split them into 4 categories. 
There should have been a fifth called 'Games the author has never heard of but which have achieved classic status to everyone else in the world" after I originally included Prehistoric Isle under its Japanese name!
The first actual bracket was (predictably) v-shumps and included the beautiful G-Stream G2020 along with Guardian Storm and Gunnail.

The second batch was 'Other Shooters' and contained into-the-screen sprite scaler Galactic Storm, Ikari Warriors style Gundhara, and multi-weapon-orb-spaceship side-scroller Gigandes.
Penultimately I grouped together 4 brawlers and started with the bewildering attention to detail of Guardians, the satisfying combos of Gaia Crusaders, and the platform infused action adventurer Ganryu. I rounded things off with Gun Master, which I still can't find a pithier way to describe than 'Gunstar Heroes meets Smash Brothers' - even though it pains me to do so.
The final group was the unusual crossover genre that I called Pinball Hybrids. It included Pinball-X-Breakout Gunbird spin off Gunbarrich, Pinball-X-Ikari Warriors stylings from Gunball, and Pinball-X-Vshmup shenanigans from Grand Cross.

When I finally moved on to H I still struggled to choose just three games and gave brief shouts to the original Hoops from Data East, Moon Patrol style shooter Horizon, and does-everything-well-but-nothing-spectacularly v-shmup Hotdog Storm
My attention then turned to transforming mech H-schmup Hyper Duel, future sports done right in Heavy Smash, and shameless nostalgia choice Hot Chase.

Such was the dirth of quality on offer that I had to bundle the choices for I & J into one post. 
Luckily the choices included I, Robot which, coming from 1983, seems decades ahead of it's time.
For I there was also the incredibly beautiful submarine h-shmup In The Hunt
J only really offered pseudo 3D space-invaders style shooter Juno First - although I still think everyone should play Journey; which is genuinely the game of the band.

Two thirds of the K games were shmups, vertical shooter and racing hybrid Kingdom Grand Prix was kept company by parallax heavy H-shmup Koutetso Yousai Strahl. I also cheekily included boss-brawler Monster Maulers under it's Japanese name Kyukyoku Sentai Dadandarn.

L was a bit of struggle but I finally plumped tap-the-fire-button-like-a-crazy-person v-shmup Lethal Thunder, Afterburner style shooter Lock On, and top down fighter/racer Lethal Crash Race.

And then, just a couple of days ago I got to M and finally got to wax lyrical about the exquisite Mille Miglia before going on to recommend the excellent multi-directional heli-shooter Metal Hawk and wonderfully designed Sunset Riders style brawler Mystic Warriors.

All of which brings me bang up to date.

I hope those of you who have been reading these have had a chance to give some of these games a look, and if so I'd love to know what you thought of them - even if those thoughts are about how completely wrong I am!

I'll be back soon with N and, hopefully, a budget Mame cabinet update!

#MAME #Arcade #Retrogaming