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Games are rated relative to other games for the same system.

Arcadia 2001 Reviews M-O

Missile War
Grade: D-
Publisher: Leisure Vision (1982)
Posted: 2008/12/6

screenshotClearly a poor-man's Missile Command (1980), Missile War pits you against waves of incoming missiles that are bearing down on four cities. You move a crosshair around the screen to aim your anti-ballistic missiles, which create explosions that envelop the incoming threats. I can't blame Leisure Vision for wanting to rip off Missile Command, but man, couldn't they have made this suck a little less??

The graphics are sharp enough, but the poor programming is glaringly evident. Incoming missiles flicker terribly and randomly disappear for no reason. The speed of the game fluctuates wildly (depending on the number of incoming missiles), which really throws off your timing. Between waves there are inexplicably long pauses.

On the bright side, I do like how you can unleash any number of missiles at a time, and they actually do look like small rockets (unlike the dots in Missile Command). But the difficulty doesn't ramp well at all. The first two waves are manageable enough, but the third wave rains down far more missiles than you could possibly defend. Even gamers who've never played the real Missile Command will find this one hard to stomach. © Copyright 2008 The Video Game Critic.

Our high score: 2800
1 player 

Mobile Suit Gundam (Japan)
Grade: B-
Publisher: Bandai (1983)
Posted: 2014/3/25

title screenMobile Suit Gundam is an old anime series that has spawned many games including a few Playstation 2 mech shooters. Who knew the original Gundam game was released on the obscure Arcadia 2001 console? When I first discovered this game on my Arcadia multicart, my sense of shock was on par with the time I discovered Halo for the Atari 2600. And when I saw Gundam's elaborate high-resolution title screen with the detailed robot face, I thought "that must be all there is." But no, this is a full-blown, legitimate robot shooter.

The first wave begins with a white ship flying across the screen to deploy your mech. Your white robot can fly freely and aim his one-pixel blaster in any direction - even diagonally! It's a good thing, because you face an alien armada from above, roving tanks below, and bombers that cross the middle of the screen. The graphics are sharp and clear, and a little theme song even plays in the background. Once you clear the first screen, a space stage begins where you face off against other flying mechs.

Mobile Suit Gundam is well programmed and so action-packed that the controller once flew out of my hand! As it turns out, the controls are the game's Achilles' heel. The Arcadia joysticks are stiff as hell to begin with, and the robot's stilted movements force you to wrestle with the controller. I guess that's just how a giant robot would handle in real life. Another issue is the loose collision detection, although that tends to work in your favor. Mobile Suit Gundam is one of the more interesting titles for Arcadia, but beware of its tendency to inflict physical pain. © Copyright 2014 The Video Game Critic.

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Our high score: 1360
1 player 

Monaco Grand Prix (Europe)
Grade: F
Publisher: UA (1982F)
Posted: 2018/5/12

screenshotMonaco Grand Prix is a two-player head-to-head racer that looks promising at first. The screen layout consists of a white road winding around fancy high rise hotels, not unlike those at the actual Monaco speedway. I would have been happy with a simple overhead racer but failed to anticipate how badly they could [expletive] up the controls.

For some inexplicable reason Monaco eschews the joystick and buttons in favor of the keypad. That's right, the controls are 100% limited to a freaking numeric pad! The number 5 accelerates, 0 brakes, 7 turns left, and 9 turns right. Unreal! Not only this the most counter-intuitive scheme ever devised, but it's also the least responsive!

You need to hold the accelerator button for at least five seconds before your car finally begins to inch forward. Hold it in a little too long and your automobile launches like a rocket! Your car maintains its speed when you release a button but your turn radius is so wide you're constantly getting caught on the edge of buildings. You're better off driving slowly and focusing on turning.

I assumed the entire course fit on one screen but at some point the screen changes to reflect another section. This next segment is just a small strip running across the bottom. You drive off the right side and it repeats with a different building pattern. There's no finish line so apparently you're just playing for points. Once you get a feel for the unwieldy controls Monaco Grand Prix is halfway playable. If only it were halfway enjoyable! © Copyright 2018 The Video Game Critic.

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Our high score: 34
2 player 

Grade: D+
Publisher: UA Ltd. (1982)
Posted: 2021/2/3

screenshotFrom the title alone you can surmise (correctly) that Nibblemen is yet another Pac-Man (Atari 2600, 1982) knock-off. Its sharp blue maze gave me flashbacks of Cat Trax (Emerson, 1982) and Crazy Gobbler (UA Ltd, 1982). In fact, this game is also known as "Super Gobbler" which explains a lot. You are a green mouth munching dots in a maze with three non-ghost creatures in pursuit. The animation is smooth enough but boy oh boy is this thing slow. It feels like your "Nibbleman" is laboring just to turn each corner.

There's a selection of mazes to choose from, some with up to three "tunnels" on each side. I guess that's where the "super" comes in. The pursuing creatures aren't very smart; they'll have you dead-to-rights and suddenly turn around! Snagging a power pill turns them white, and catching them in this state causes their eyes to grow super wide like they just had an orgasm or something (editor's note: inappropriate!). There's no "home base" in the center of the screen; they just sort of regenerate in the middle corridor, and that's not natural.

The speed of the game is erratic. Your man tends to speed up a bit after you eat a power pill, only to slow down again when it wears off. Creature speeds vary as well, and they will occasionally dart at you. The best part of the game is snagging a fruit bonus, which sounds like a stack of dollar bills flipping as the points are tallied. Nibblemen borrows a lot from the classic maze formula but I'm afraid it doesn't offer a whole lot in return. © Copyright 2021 The Video Game Critic.

Recommended variation: 4-1
Our high score: 24,900
1 player 

Ocean Battle
Grade: D-
Publisher: Emerson (1982)
Posted: 2012/5/26

screenshotOcean Battle uses a classic formula seen in other naval combat games, most notably Sea Battle (Intellivision, 1980). A map screen depicts a series of continents with two armies of ships scattered throughout the oceans. Players take turns moving a ship into enemy territory, triggering a one-on-one battle. The control scheme is not the most intuitive you've ever used, but it's quite possibly the least intuitive!

Moving your ship requires pressing an awkward combination of keys, resulting in the vessel hopping from space to space. The actual battles are often mystifying. The larger ships can only move sideways, but they can move off one side and reappear on the other. It's possible to have half of your ship showing on each side of the screen, and man, does that look like crap. The submarines can move in any direction but their slow speed makes them sitting ducks.

Each type of ship has its own set of capabilities, leaving some room for strategy. I like how certain ships can fire off shots at any angle. Each battle ends with a sinking animation, which is a heck of a lot better than watching a boat blink and disappear, right? Ocean Battle is playable, but only if you can stomach the sloppy graphics and terrible controls. Sadly, that's a really big "if". © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.

2 players 

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Screen shots courtesy of Video Game Museum, Old-Computers.com, Games Database