Hello fellow arcaders! The biggest week in arcade gaming is upon us and I have been able to get some hands-on time with some of the games! Let’s get to it:
IAAPA 2016 First Game Impressions
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Space Invaders Frenzy
It’s mainly a videmption game but it’s interesting. It throws tons of enemies at you and gets frantic pretty quickly (hence the “Frenzy” in the title). The giant screen feels a little bit like sitting in front row at the movie theater but they raised it up so you can see your base at the bottom. Bombs will float onto the screen to help and there are some enemies that break down into smaller ones. After I played, I saw them loading up a new software build that adds bases and enemies shooting at you. I’ll check that out later.
The Walking Dead
I played the latest zombie shooter but I need to mention that I have never watched the show so characters mentioned in there or any other references go over my head. As it is, I look at it as an arcade zombie shooter. This has a lot of “bullet time” sequences where the action intentionally slows down to allow you a better shot. Unlike some online who think that the game suffers frame rate problems, that is not the case at all. It runs at a smooth 60fps. Getting headshots is fun but they also break that up by throwing in melee sequences and such. The controller is great, easy to use like any mounted gun. The overhead light effect is neat – there is a part where you are inside a dark building and as soon as you open the door to go outside, the lights above you flare up so it makes it feel a little more realistic. So far, thumbs up on this one but I need to play it more.
The latest entry to the Cruis’n series does play like FnF however, I can see what was meant by the races being more ‘battle’ oriented. There seems to be more crashing through objects (stands, structures, etc) and there is a noticeable engine “growl” and rumble in the seat. An announcer also throws in some commentary every once in a while. The sound engine certainly helps this stand out from FnF; graphically it also is much better than Super Cars but don’t expect it to be exactly on the level of the latest Forza or Gran Turismo. That said, it looks nice and colorful, runs at 1080p60fps.
Just like Dirty Drivin’ there is no brake, just the gas.
One new touch is that the drifts and airtime “build up” on a gauge. If you get enough drift or airtime, it will give you an instant boost. Like in FnF though, the boosts don’t really give you as much speed as it feels like but the effect is much improved. Speaking of FnF, tuning up your car has changed – you do not “trick out” your car with giant engines, it simply lets you upgrade the body, engine and paint on each car for slightly better performance.
The camera operates like the “NamCam” arcade cameras – take your picture for your avatar at the start of the race and you’re done with that. The resolution is a bit low on that – or is isn’t handling the bright LEDs very well when taking the picture so you can see compression artifacts. The “hidden” cars are easily accessible by pressing the Tunes button although I haven’t been able to find out yet if there are any codes to unlock more.
I think this will do very well on the market as FnF games have but could potentially do better with the sleeker presentation. I would like to see a couple/few more tracks though.
Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 5
Admittedly I’m a noob when it comes to Maximum Tune – I’ve covered it on the blog for years but never come across a cab in my travels except for a WMMT3 at a trade show 8 years ago. So for 5, I’m approaching this fresh. I started by going to the kiosk and getting my Banapassport card:
I then went to the game and played the Story mode for a single race. There are a ton of real licensed cars to choose from, reminding me of the selection you often find on console games. There is a bit more to read in this game than other arcade racers so I can see how this isn’t exactly the game for casual players to enjoy but if you give it a chance, there is a lot of depth to get into between the story, the multiplayer, the online mode, many cars and tuning them up. As you race, text from the characters pops up (particularly during the straight road parts I noticed) so you get that story but there is no voice over.
Granted, the main thing for this game is racing against other players as well as the online ghost battle mode (racing against your former races). I haven’t played it multiplayer yet so I’ll have to wait. It looks great (although could use some anti-aliasing), the music is excellent and the controls felt solid.
This cabinet is based on the Dead Heat/Mario Kart GP DX cabinet design. Some of the parts are the same (which reduces costs for oeprators) and the screen is 42″ in size instead of the 32″ that the Japanese cabs have(per Nate at Namco). They also raised the game up by adding more to the base of the monitor portion and the seat.
Namco does hope to eventually get the latest version of WMMT5 so that it is on par with the versions that players in the East enjoy. That will most likely depend on sales so hand tight WMMT fans!
Daytona Championship USA 3
The game I’ve been getting the most tweets about is Sega’s return to Daytona. Yesterday a pic leaked showing the 8 cabinet setup that amusingly had myself and a Sega staff member there discussing the game. So you might have seen that. But today, with Sega’s permission, I got to grab a couple of pics as well as getting a chance to play the 3 available tracks. There will be six in the final but only three available for the show.
It is important to note that this is still essentially a beta game so many changes will take place between now and the release based on QA and player feedback. A couple of potential changes to the cab were mentioned but we’ll wait and see.
Sega has 8 cabinets here but they are only linking the two groups of 4 for now. The game is slated for a March/April 2017 release so the next time we’ll see a more complete software package is at the AMOA/AAMA Amusement Expo in March…maybe at the January UK arcade expo that happens.
I have not played the original Daytona USA in a very long time so it’s hard to remember the handling it felt very solid. There is still damage that happens to the cars and you can slide off the track if you aren’t careful. It has pitstops too, although I only watched someone else try that.
The current build has an “Up/Down” shifter but still maps to four gears. This may change for the production build.
The first, beginner track isn’t the most exciting, I prefer the other two tracks I played – either way this is a far superior game to NASCAR from a few years ago. There are a few “artistic liberties” taken with a couple of track aesthetics – mainly the removal of the slot machine stuff due to the locations this game may go to. I also saw the operator mode which is jam packed with options for the operator to enjoy. In particular if the game ends up at a Chuck E Cheeses, they have a preset “Kid mode” that it can be set to to make it easier for the little ones to enjoy.
Sega is developing several features for making tournaments easier to run for operators. Many ops did run big tournaments with the game so that is welcome. In particular, it can run brackets and announce which player is next on the LCD marquee screen. Otherwise this marquee will show the live camera feeds. This party mode is not active yet so that’s all we have for it for now but for ops looking for that, it’s worth noting.
As mentioned, the game has a live camera – meaning that it is constantly recording and pumping that feed into the game depending on what is needed. This is mainly for multiplayer though – that way you can see the live reaction from your opponents as you play and there is an occasional billboard that shows your own feed on there.
Graphically, this game looks very sharp. It runs on PC hardware (not the Sega Nu or Ringedge…maybe we could call it the Europa 2) and the color palette seems to be slightly over-saturated to provide that Bright Blue Skies look that the original game was known for. The cars are streamlined instead of having the chunky polys and the lighting is great, especially on the 3rd track where it takes place in the evening so you get some good shadow effects going on. You can also see reflections on your hood when in the first person hood mode. They also seem to be using anti-aliasing as I did not notice any jagged edges and the textures look great. It slightly reminds me of the KO Drive (a never released Sega race) look but further improved.
From what I can recall of the original, this “feels” like Daytona USA but it has new paint and features that to me make it appealing to the current arcade market. I look forward to spending more time on it but also seeing the completed software.
That’s it for the moment – stay tuned to the site and our Twitter feed for more!