Night of the Emus

Time for a bit of arcade fun this time…

Robocop by Data East

Robocop was really impressive in terms of graphics, sound (although the Robocop sound bites get a bit repetitive), and gameplay for its time. It was a real quarter sucking beast though. The first few levels make it seem like a pretty standard beat-em-up in the vein of Bad Dudes (as in tough, but do-able), but then the difficulty shoots up to ridiculous levels and just keeps rising beyond belief. In the last few levels you can easily find almost the whole screen covered by enemies, and you can end up dying in literally 2 seconds (and you only get 1 life per credit). Pretty much entirely impossible to beat in the arcades, but it’s fun to take on at home with unlimited credits.

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Monster Maulers by Konami

Holy shit, where did this game come from? I just picked it at random because I thought it might make for a good Halloween game. I’ve never seen this in any arcade before. Never even heard of it. This game is fucking amazing. It’s kind of like King of the Monsters. You’re some kind of Japanese super-wrestling-hero, doing one on one matches against a bunch of crazy monsters.

The monsters are absolutely insane. Amazingly animated and each with their own large, unique sets of crazy attacks. Things get even crazier in the extra-long final level, which turns into a beat-em-up with regular enemies and multiple bosses, and has some crazy anime theme song music playing. Highly recommended.

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The Punisher by Capcom

Another classic Capcom beat-em-up. If you’ve played one of these, you’ve pretty much played them all, yet they’re still all so damn fun. Incredibly violent, packed full of nice and crunchy weapons to play with, and piles of nutty boss fights. Good times.

Aliens by Konami

Basically a beat-em-up with guns, Aliens is a little clunky at times, but man they sure nailed those Alien creature designs, and there are a ton of wacky boss fights that are very reminiscent of Contra (which is ironic, since Contra was totally ripping off Alien in the first place). Not the best Alien-related arcade game, but still a fun classic.

Night of the Emus

Another excellent Sonic the Hedgehog game from olden times. Great music and level design. It does have its downsides though. Tails is pretty useless, unless you were trying to play that awful split screen co-op mode. He actually hurts more than he helps in the special stages. Boy, I forgot how ridiculously hard those levels got in this one. The final 2 special stages are just ridiculous, requiring you to get basically every single ring without taking a single hit or missing even part of a group of rings. You’d just have to keep playing these levels over and over again, trying to memorize everything and hoping that you got really lucky. Then for all your trouble getting all the chaos emeralds, you’re treated to two back-to-back extra hard boss fights where you have zero rings. Again, I have no idea how I used to be able to beat games like this as a kid.

An early Capcom game, Gunsmoke is a vertical-scrolling shooter with a cowboy theme. As usual with Capcom games, it has extremely catchy music, fun gameplay, and a high, but not impossible level of challenge. It’s not one of their “must play” titles, but it’s still a pretty solid classic that holds up reasonably well if you like this kind of game.

Even as a kid, I could never beat this one. I’ve always wanted to go back and finish it, but upon trying it again, I can see why I gave up back in the day. This is an incredibly sadistic game. It feels like they tried to mash Metal Gear and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles together, and it uses a system that’s kind of similar to the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles NES game, where you can switch between three characters at any time, but if any of them die, they’re gone forever. This is tough enough to manage as it is, but the game also loves to throw a lot of instant death moments your way on a regular basis. Attack the wrong person in a public area? Dead. Walking in public when suddenly a car comes shooting out of nowhere and mows you down? Dead. Trying to get through one of the nasty sewer dungeons and go the wrong way, prompting a wall to move, pushing you into the water with no way to escape? Dead. I couldn’t even tell what it was I was supposed to be doing. I don’t know, maybe I’ll try again someday with a guide or something, but I just didn’t have the patience for it this time.

Time enough for one more Turtles game. Again, why play the port when you can play original. Another classic Konami beat-em-up. All these Turtle games are making me want to read the old comics or watch the crappy old cartoon again. TURTLES ON THE BRAIN!