Here is part one of a five-part series taking a look at some rather obscure or little-discussed arcade games. I tried to select games that had some interesting features, graphics or gameplay and were generally not covered by great channels like Game Sack and Cinemassacare already. Enjoy and subscribe to receive the other 8 parts as I post them!
1 on 1 Government by Tecmo (2000)
This is a basketball game that was exclusive to Japan. What’s unique about it is it plays a bit like a 3D fighter. The camera is usually locked in a close-up side view like Tekken and you must manouver around your opponent to make a NBA Jam- style dunk, a fancy layup or a 3 pointer. I love the part where I steal my own shot out of the air and get a violation for it. For some reason the computer tends to go for 3 from half-court or more shortly after they steal the ball from you. An enjoyable game for fans of fighters and arcade sports games.
Aaargh! by Arcadia (1988)
This game plays a bit like Rampage but from a 2.5D perspective. You eat people, fight off military, destroy buildings and collect the extremely large pieces of food that appear after said buildings crumble. Apparently the goal is to find and grab the egg that’s inside one of the buildings. Unfortunately I had no idea the game would switch to a primitive 2D fighter once the egg appears so I lost big time. In the second level I couldn’t figure out how to cross the river. Overall I enjoyed this one even if the sound and “music” was pretty grating. Oh and your guy explodes into bloody bits when you die and this game was out 4 years before Mortal Kombat.
Air Rescue by Sega (1992)
Air Rescue is unique for a couple of reasons. The first-person perspective looks well-done for its time (Doom hadn’t even come out yet). The soldiers that you rescue have a hilariously bad-looking animation when they run toward your chopper with their mouths open. Once they enter the chopper they look even worse and I laughed every time. I found myself wanting to continue to play despite this distraction. Shooting up other ground and flying vehicles was satisfying and the controls were spot-on. Worth a play if you enjoy games like Starfox or After Burner.
Arabian Fight by Sega (1992)
This is an odd one but I really enjoy it. This beat-em-up was released by Sega in 1992 but never ported to a home console for some reason. Some things that set this apart from other beat-em-ups are its extremely excessive use of parallax scrolling and brief anime cutscenes that are integrated throughout the gameplay. The cutscenes play as enemies enter the screen and also whenever you do your magic attack. My guess is if Sega were to port this, they would have had to put it on the Sega CD (which was released the year prior) due to these anime snippets and the parallax scrolling. As much as I enjoyed this, it is sometimes difficult to get your character on the same plane as the enemy you’re fighting and if you’re off a little then you won’t make contact.
Bells & Whistles aka Detana!! TwinBee by Konami (1991)
This game may not be all that obscure now since it’s been released as a downloadable title on PSN, Xbox Live and Nintendo’s download shop, but I had never heard of it until then. This is a vertical shooter with very colorful and beautifully animated graphics. Power ups are in the form of bells and they pop out of clouds that you shoot. If you shoot the bells, you can sometimes change their color and the colored bells give you better power ups. You can also charge up your shot and release it as a powerful blast. I really enjoy just taking in the vibrant world the game places you in and the bosses are unique and fun to fight.
Biomechanical Toy by Gaelco (1995)
This game took me by surprise with its fluid animation, responsive controls and exciting gameplay. I enjoy the Metal Slug series and this feels right at home but also throws in some platforming elements that remind me of Sonic the Hedgehog (like the spring boards.) This is definitely one I’ll be going back to to finish up.
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