Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
Sticking two or more games on one cart is nothing new but Virgin have gone one better by gathering three arcade conversions together, all classic coin-ops. Most MS owners won’t remember Centipede, Missile Command and Break Out but they’re arguably the three most popular games from the early days of video arcades.
To avoid contusion, we’re going to give each game an overall mark then rate the cart as a whole.
This game came out ten years ago and started its own game genre. The basic idea’s to bounce a ball onto blocks using a bat at the bottom of the screen. The blocks disappear as they’re hit and clearing the screen leads to the next level.
Updated graphically from the old coin-op, Break Out has a moving background and colourful blocks, a pleasing enhancement of the original machine.
Although very simple, the action’s addictive. However, this version’s a little too slow for my liking; the ball’s path is easily intercepted and deflected. A simple game, easy to get into, this one will appeal to the younger gamer.
Overall Rating: 69%
Boy, is this a classic! One of the most original games ever and do I love it! (It’s my mother, it is.)
The simple idea is to stop oncoming missiles from destroying your bases by blasting them out of the sky before they hit the ground.
The missiles take different trajectories, speeding up as you work through the levels, and you must decide which of three bases will fire at the missile. Each base only has a limited supply of missile so use them sparingly.
Barely younger than Break Out, the original coin-op’s graphics were very basic. Thankfully, Virgin have well and truly updated them — defining the missiles rather than simply using lines — and tweaked the game-play, too.
Missile Command’s a great game and has been well captured, but something more could have been made of the concept.
Overall Rating: 81%
So finally we come to Centipede, the bummer of the pack. A falling centipede crawls down the screen, its path affected by a maze of mushrooms, and you must destroy it before it reaches the bottom and makes a nuisance of itself. You I can move up and down as well as left and right but only in the lower part of the screen.
Not only do you have centipede after centipede to bug-blast, but occasional spiders, scorpions and the like wander around the bottom of the screen too. Though you can earn lots of bonus points from them, they easily become a danger.
Very little’s been done to update Centipede, both in terms of graphics and gameplay, but many would say there’s not a lot you can do with it anyway!
Playability’s a close copy of the coin-op but again that’s a problem. Centipede gets very boring with no change of scenery or baddies so after half an hour you’ll give up on it, never to be powered up again.
Overall Rating: 55%
Now onto the business of the cart.
Three games in one’s a fab idea. Even though they’re old, the cart represents great value for money.
Though the graphics have been updated to Master System standards the/re nothing special, and sound-wise all three games are a let-down. The cart’s ‘host’, Hairpie, has a cuteability rating of three seconds — until he lets out a little shriek that really makes you wanna hurl.
Recommended to the younger player who probably never played these ‘raves’ from the grave and fancies tasting a slice of arcade history and the romantic older player who likes to reminisce. Arcade Smash Hits is a good idea, good value and plenty of fun.
Oh no! I’ve been time-warped back to my childhood! Centipede, Missile Command and Break Out? What next, loon pants, side-burns and Abba?! But seriously folks, this takes me back a bit. The toddlers among you won’t remember these games (you lucky people!) but those of us with a zimmer frame will! The idea of putting three games on one cart is a great idea, but each of these games looks so cheap it wasn’t really worth the effort! I guess this game will appeal to those who collect bus timetables, but I’d advise the rest of you to save your pennies.
Most MS owners will get a kick out of these old chestnuts