Games we're glad to have missed: Tattoo Assassins

Shaggy March 8, 2008 2

So it’s Saturday and naturally the arcade news spigot turns from “trickle” to “off” (or onprism2.gif occasion, “drip”) and it is fun to check out some of the strange things that have come along in arcades through the years. The game I am looking at right now is more than strange – other words that fit it include disgusting, stupid, hilarious, shameful, bad, etc. Anytime a game comes along with a good/popular idea, the shovelware cash-in cycle begins where hundreds of other games come along to copy it, hoping to one-up the original and repeat it’s success. Tattoo Assassins was one of those games, hoping to feed off of the Mortal Kombat phenomena. They even planned a movie tie-in for the game which I’m sure if it was made would have been cinematic gold (well, for my favorite show Mystery Science Theater 3000). Designed by Data East’s Pinball division, Tattoo Assassins promised not only the graphical rage of the time, digitized characters but an amazing 2196 different fatalities (most of which would end up being quite lame as one could imagine). With a storyline about magical ink discovered by stocky guy in a cloth diaper, character names that strike fear into the hearts of gamers everywhere like “Derek”, “Luke” or the Raiden rip-off “AC Power”, paint-on tattoos like an octopus or two headed PBS-style dragon that the game describes as “magnificent” and a Nanci Kerrigan ice skating fighter, how could this game miss? Well it was so terrible that they couldn’t even pay testers to play it – the testers instead would go and play similar but better games that DE had setup for comparison. The game was never released (although a few cabinets were made) but can be found and played on MAME, if you dare.

[Picture above via Progressive Boink]

If you’re curious to see it in action, I’ve embedded a couple of videos of the game after the post break.

From user Santora2007

From user imockery


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