Good or bad, I love arcade classic game compilations. And I also love writing blogs about them. So here’s one about all the games in Data East Arcade Classics for the Wii.
Data East is no longer around, and they were never a top-tier arcade developer like Namco, Sega, Capcom, or Taito. But their games were popular enough that you could see them in many an arcade or bowling alley in the 80’s and 90’s. This collection has fifteen of those games. Similar to the Achievements in Xbox 360 games, there are goals to complete in each game. By completing goals, you can unlock music, artwork, marquees, and other goodies.
But of course, the most important part is the games, so let’s take a look at what’s on here:
When I was a kid, my quarters were few and precious, so I rarely strayed away from the Pac-Man machines. But every once in a while, a game would come along that would lure me away from the dot mazes. Games like Dig Dug and Mappy, for instance. BurgerTime was another one of those games. I LOVED this game when I was a kid. One time I even cut out a paper chef hat, pepper shakers, and food enemies so I could play pretend BurgerTime at home! So I’m really glad this game is on this collection! The goals in this game are actually kind of hard to achieve, though! BurgerTime was pretty big back in the day. It was ported to many a console (I even had the NES version later), and there was one really disturbing commercial that I remember seeing on TV. WE’RE CLOSED NOW!
Peter Pepper’s Ice Cream Factory
BurgerTime actually had lots of sequels and spinoffs, but very few know about them. This is one of them. I’m not even sure if it really was in any arcade. I always thought it was a prototype that never made it out the door. But here it is. I can kind of see why it wasn’t very popular, because this one sucks! In this game, you’re still chef Peter Pepper and you still run around ladders and platforms avoiding food-themed enemies. But this time you must roll scoops of ice cream into cones. You can squish enemies this way, too. Only problem is this game is HARD and not in a good way. If an enemy is on the same plane as you, they’ll ZOOM toward you and it’s hard to avoid them. You can jump in this one, but play control is so bad that it never ends well.
I could probably write a whole blog about the BurgerTime sequels and spinoffs. When I was little I remember seeing a sequel called “Diner” which had an isometric perspective. I think it was on Intellivision, but I remember pining away after a PC version, too. On the black & white Game Boy was BurgerTime Deluxe, I have it and played it TONS. There’s also Flintstones: BurgerTime in Bedrock on Game Boy Color. It replaces the arcade characters with Flintstones ones, and it sucks royally. Aside from some cell phone games, there is also Super BurgerTime, an arcade game I don’t think made it out of Japan, but I wish it was on this collection anyway.
Lock N Chase
This one is a Pac-Man clone that predates even BurgerTime. Unfortunately, it’s a BAD Pac-Man clone. The sound and ‘music’ is grating and the ‘closing doors’ gimmick controls horribly. You’re a robber and must gather up all the gold (dots) and bonus money bags that appear and disappear way too soon. You have to avoid four police guys named Scardey, Silly, Smarty, and…Stiffy. Yes, his name is Stiffy. I’m surprised Namco didn’t sue. Back in the old arcades, I remember seeing Lock N Chase EVERYWHERE, though. And it was advertised a lot on the old home consoles, too. There is a good version of Lock N Chase; it’s an updated one on the Game Boy. It plays great if you’re a Pac-Man fan. Unfortunately, my copy stopped working after a week. I was so pissed!
Most people will know this game as Bump N Jump. I think it was called Burnin’ Rubber in Japan. It’s a top down racer where you try to bump the other cars off the road and jump over obstacles. I never was too good at this game. It was also in a lot of arcades I can remember. As far as top down old school racers are concerned, I prefer Spy Hunter.
I’ve never heard or seen this game before now. It has a Wild West setting to it. The first part of the game, you fight guys on a train. It’s almost like Karate Champ (another Data East game not on this collection), except they replaced the karate guys with cowboy sprites. In the second part of the game, you’re riding a horse and must shoot guys on a train. One hit and you die, though. This part was darn near impossible so I didn’t bother with this game anymore. You don’t see too many cowboy themed arcade games, though. My favorite is Capcom’s shooter Gun.Smoke. Especially the NES version.
Bad Dudes vs. Dragon Ninja
OK, here’s the premise of Bad Dudes (never knew about the vs. Dragon Ninja subtitle): “Ninjas have kidnapped the President. Are you a bad enough dude to rescue him?” I love arcade game storylines because they’re so simple. No explanation as to WHY the ninjas kidnapped ‘Ronnie’ or who these ninjas are. But boy you sure do have to fight a lot of them in this brawler. Most of them look the same, but some wear red or gray instead of blue. And there’s the occasional female ninja who shows up that doesn’t do a thing except look cute. I hate having to punch them, too. Anyway it’s a 2-D sidescrolling beat ‘em up, but you can only move on one plane. It’s not the best game in the world, but Bad Dudes does have a simple charm that’s hard to explain. I love how your dudes say “I’m bad!” after beating a boss. Speaking of which, the first boss in the game is Karnov (more on him later). Bad Dudes was super popular somehow. I saw it tons in arcades back in the day, and they even made a NES version. When you rescue the President, all he says is, “Let’s go out for a burger! Ha ha ha…”
This one’s also called Two Crude Dudes. It even says so on one of the marquees you can unlock. I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be a sequel to Bad Dudes, but it is pretty much the same game. The premise is that in 2010, New York City was destroy by a nuclear explosion and is now a wasteland. You have to go in and beat up all the mutants. See, back in the late 80’s and early 90’s, if you didn’t have ninjas in your games, you had to have mutants. And sometimes you had both. The style in this game is a lot more cartoony and comic book styled. And you can pick up things and throw them, too. Even cars! But somehow, this game lacks the charm that Bad Dudes had.
I know the name is very comical, but like I said before, back in the 80’s and 90’s, you had to have ‘ninjas’ in your title if you wanted to be successful. Caveman Ninja stars Joe and Mac, two guys trying to rescue all the cute cave-women (and one ugly one) from other Neanderthals and dinosaurs. You can get all sorts of primitive weapons to throw, and the game has a very colorful and cartoony look. Unfortunately, the arcade version of this game is really HARD! I rented and beat the SNES version of Joe & Mac back in the day. It was a little different than the arcade game, but it was a lot more fun, I think. I never did get a chance to play the SNES sequel, though. Oh well.
Super Real Darwin
I never heard of this game before now. But it’s a 2-D vertically scrolling shooter and those were a dime a dozen back then, so that’s probably why. I don’t really like this game much because it’s one hit and you die, and they start you over at the beginning when you do. The power-up system is kind of interesting, though, and reminds me a little bit of Legendary Wings. The more power-ups you pick up, the more your ship ‘evolves’ and you get new kinds of firepower. And your ship gets bigger, too, making it an easier target. If you get hit by a bullet, you revert back to the smallest form, but colliding into an enemy destroys you completely. I’d probably like this game a lot more if it were a bit more forgiving.
This one’s a top down scrolling shooter with an army theme, like Commando or Ikari Warriors. I did see it quite a bit in arcades back in the day, but I never really tried it. I’d just as soon play Ikari Warriors instead. Heavy Barrel had a unique control scheme in the arcade that let you rotate your gun while walking. They couldn’t really replicate that on the Wii, but using the right stick on the Classic Controller worked well enough for me.
Like Crude Buster, this one also had another name: Sly Spy. I never saw it in arcades, but I’ve seen it in some of the arcade auctions I’ve been to in the past couple of years. It’s basically Bad Dudes with a gun, like a cross between Bad Dudes and Rolling Thunder. Also heavily influenced by James Bond movies. Your guy looks like James Bond, one of the power-ups is a golden gun, and even one of the bosses throws his hat at you as an attack! Sometimes they break up the action and have you on a motorcycle or underwater in scuba gear. And thank goodness for unlimited credits! It’s a pretty unintentionally wacky game. They were pretty lazy with the ending, though. They just used the same White House background from the Bad Dudes ending and had the spy out in front with about five women draped all over him. DANG!
The Wii collection categorizes this as an RPG, but it is SO not an RPG. It’s just a isometric 3-D brawler with fantasy medieval themes. It looks a LOT like Taito’s Dungeon Magic, except Taito’s game is MUCH better. Wizard Fire is a sequel to another game, as it’s also known as Dark Seal 2. Wizard Fire isn’t really a bad game, though, but it is overly dramatic and corny. The best part is the cheesy intro. “I’m closer than that, fools, I’M HERE!”
As you can guess, this one’s a pool game. It’s pretty primitive and more mini-gamey by today’s standards, though. I remember it being pretty popular at the time, but I never played it. It’s really not that good of a game of pool. The ball physics are terrible. You can hit the ball and if it hits another ball, it’ll stop completely while the other goes at full speed until it hits something else, and then that ball rolls at top speed! It’s almost silly. I’m not very good at Side Pocket, though. At the score tallying screen, the playboy bunny girls just turned their noses up at me! Aww, poor Cary, none of the pixilated video game women like him. Anyone remember a similar pool game on the NES called Lunar Pool? I actually rented that once and enjoyed it.
Here’s a bit of trivia about Side Pocket. Ever heard of the PS2 game Steambot Chronicles? Probably not, but I loved it. It was set in the early 1900’s except people drove around two-legged mechs instead of Model T’s. It had a Grand Theft Auto sandbox style of play, in that you could do whatever you wanted. One of the ways you could make money was play pool in the bar. The pool mini-game was a LOT like Side Pocket, and even in the credits they gave thanks to the Side Pocket team! I’m pretty sure I read that anyway. Kind of weird since Side Pocket was Data East and this game was from Irem.
My guess is that this game came out in the early 90’s to try and compete with the more popular Arch Rivals and NBA Jam arcade games. Normally I don’t like sports games, but this one’s not too bad. Kind of has a Super Dodge Ball charm to it. And it keeps things simple. Only problems are the opponents get way too hard too quickly, and the digitized rap music in the background is annoying.
Magical Drop III
This one’s a more recent Data East game (1997), and one of the last ones they did in the arcade, I reckon. It’s a color matching puzzle game with typical anime styled characters and colorful and cute themes. I’m not sure who my favorite character is, though. Normally it would be “World” because of her pink hair, but that third eye she has kind of creeps me out! Maybe you guys can pick out a favorite character for me. Back in the day, my friends were TOTALLY obsessed with this game.
And that’s all the games on this collection. It’s really not the best collection in the world, though. Some problems include a confusing menu and I’m not sure if the game autosaves or not. Plus, there are only a few games on this collection that are standout titles. At least it’s only 20 bucks, but I think they could’ve put more games on here anyway. I hear Data East Arcade Classics is a rare and hard to find game, so if you really want it, I suggest buying it soon.
Of course, every arcade collection has a few games missing on it that we would’ve liked to have seen. I’ve already mentioned Super BurgerTime, but another I would’ve liked on this collection was Tumble Pop. They even had it in one of the flyers in the game. Tumble Pop is a single screen maze game similar to Bubble Bobble, and I love those kinds of games.
I’m also surprised that Karnov isn’t on here. Karnov is like Data East’s secret mascot. He’s an ugly Russian circus strongman who can breathe fire, and he starred in his own wacky platform game. I never really liked it, but I think it should’ve been on here. Karnov’s been in other games, and he’s kind of a bad guy. Even in his own game he’s only out looking for treasure. So Data East kind of did the “Wario” thing long before Wario was even a thought! Karnov was the first boss in Bad Dudes, he was an enemy in Tumble Pop, and he was also a character in a handful of Data East’s one-on-one 2-D Street Fighter knockoffs.
When I was a kid, I had a Russian Blue cat. I don’t like Star Trek, but I named him Chekov after the Star Trek character because I couldn’t think of any other Russian names. Chekov was a really smart cat and I taught him how to play fetch, open doors, even use the toilet! I think if I got another cat someday, I would get a Russian Blue (from a rescue place, of course) and I would name him Karnov!
Well, that’s all for now. In the comments section, let me know what YOUR favorite Data East games are! –Cary