A Tribute To The Sweetest Arcade Game(s) Ever
Arcades these days are pretty much non-existent. I realize that home consoles are significantly better than just about what any arcade game can offer but it makes me sad to think some 10 year old will never have the experience to go blow his entire allowance trying to beat Golden Axe while their mom is shopping at Calador. It makes me even sadder now that I actually have disposable income that I don’t have the opportunity to go and do that.
I wanted to take some time today and highlight a game that I spent more time and money on that any other. I’m talking about the X-Men arcade game.
If you ever stepped foot in an arcade in the early 1990’s you know all about this game. For the benefit of those who may not be aware I’ll give you some background. Released in 1992 in a world of 2 player games and in some rare cases 4 player games, this was the first 6 player game I had ever laid eyes on (if your arcade was cheap, you likely had the console with 4 players though). It had 2 screens! This thing was massive and amazing for its time.
It included 4 great characters, Nightcrawler, Cyclops, Wolverine, and Colossus and 2 of the worst characters in video game history, Storm and the Dazzler. I guess Storm is ok, but the Dazzler…really? I’m not even hating on her comic book character, she’s just useless in this game. They couldn’t have picked anybody else? How about Rogue? She seems tailor made for a video game. I always wondered why those 6 characters were chosen, while in one way it was consistent for the time period of X-Men based on available team members and their uniforms, but it still struck me as a little odd. In researching for this article, I found out that this game was based on a 1989 cartoon pilot (that was not picked up) called X-Men: Pryde of the X-Men. Of which the only thing I know about is that they gave the Canadian, Wolverine an Australian accent.
Anyway, the game is your standard big screen pseudo side scrolling beat ‘em up. You pummel and destroy a lot of shit and let me tell you in a weird way it is unbelievably satisfying. Sentinels, Juggernaut, the Blob, Pyro and a bunch more all make appearances. It’s full of inconsistencies and poor translations that come off as bad grammar “Welcome to die!” being one of particular notoriety. Wolverine’s power is to shoot a huge blast from his chest which makes zero sense, but that all just adds to the charm to the game. Oh, and I guess Professor Xavier got kidnapped by Magneto, but do you really care? 6 people can play at once! Need I say more?
The other game I’d like to highlight is the Simpson’s arcade game. Does anyone remember a time when Fox mass marketed the hell out of that show? I had Simpson’s bed sheets and my brother had a Bart shirt that said, “Don’t Have a Cow Man”. Wow, those were the days, huh? This game was easily the best thing to be merchandized by them.
This one was a 4 player game where you can play as Bart, Homer, Lisa and Marge all of whom (except Homer) use house hold items as weapons. Maggie has been kidnapped (sound familiar?) by Mr. Burns. Basically, you travel all around Springfield beating people to death and there are bonus rounds after each level where you compete against the other players. What could be better? This game is a stone cold classic. When I was a kid this game was at our local Chucky Cheese and I would spend all of my tokens only playing this and the old Star Wars game where you were piloting an X-Wing and have to blow up the Death Star. If anyone has ever played either of the Simpson’s games for Nintendo, you will understand why this arcade game is being praised.
I found out recently that both games had been released for the Playstation Network and Xbox Live Arcade. I immediately notified C-Mart and we spent a night mashing the hell out of our controller buttons. It wasn’t quite the same, but it felt pretty damn good.
Honorable mention: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (the arcade version)
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