Finding a good arcade is pretty tricky these days. Lets be honest, the trend went out of style years ago, and those quarters kids kept shoving into those machines aren’t going much farther to help pay for rent and utilities. Enosh found a promising one a few weeks back, however, called Arcade Legacy and located in Cincinnati. Somewhere. I’ve never been very good with directions, and that text file I had that told me exactly where it was vanished forever during a recent AVG update. Oh well, you’ll take the information I have and you’ll like it, jerkface!
“But Tophat,” you start moaning, because nothing is good enough for you. “Why don’t you just review, oh I dunno, Fallout New Vegas or that one web comic about indy music and romantic shenanigans? Wouldn’t that be, I dunno, more relevant?”
Sure, maybe. But I’m still working on Fallout and need to play a bit longer before I can give you a final opinion on it. And I’m sure Jeph Jacques is doing just fine without me, thank you very much. So yeah, we’re going to take a look at Arcade Legacy.
Arcade Legacy takes a bit of a different approach to arcades than I’ve seen in the past. First off, there’s a $10 entry fee, which covers unlimited play at every and all old school arcade games they have on display. We’re talking infinite lives here, renewable mans, epic high scores. It’s like a dream come true to anyone who ever played an arcade game, and always felt bad for not being able to complete the first level. Don’t feel so bad. Those games were designed to eat quarters. They’re insatiable.
Which is why I was filled with a deep-rooted glee when I discovered you could simply push one button to add another continue into your game experience. It was like zen.
Also, Enosh informed me they had just about every console ever to be produced. All you had to do was ask and they would plug in the console of your choice to one of the various big screen TVs around the place, and let you blast your way through whatever game you wanted to see. Selection at Arcade Legacy changes every so often. In addition to acting as an arcade, the guys behind the counter also function as a game trade and game repair company. Still, the idea alone was intriguing.
So, after convincing Enosh’s wife that video games are way cooler than studying, we piled into the car and off we went. Now, apparently Enosh only referred to his wife as “my wife” in the comicon article, but obviously I can’t call her that too. After some discussion, she said for the purposes of this article, we can refer to her as Chicabonita. But because that’s a bit of a mouthful, I’m just going to call her CB.
The arcade is a bit shady looking on the outside, with just some neon lights and a sketchy Lisa Simpson statue to let us know we were in the right place. But we could see the flashing lights from deep inside the arcade. It was time to see what was what.
There were… GAMES inside. Many great classics of yesteryear, though I don’t think any of them were older than 1995. Enosh went straight to this stupid “virtual reality” tank simulator that made him look like some kind of bug man, and CB wandered deep into the arcade’s heart. The tank sim was unappealing to me, especially since I worked at a restaurant that had that exact same game in my sketchy teenage years, so after spending a moment of indecision I wandered down an aisle and struck gold.
“CAPTAIN COMMANDO,” the game neigh shouted at me while pictures of early 90s bad dudes flashed by. I think there was a plot, but all I knew was that I had to prove to the world that I was totally a bad enough dude to fight off all those ninjas. There were four characters, including the Captain himself, a thuggish guy by the name of Knives who used… well, knives, a ninja guy who had a chance to straight up murder people with a big old sword, and a baby piloting an elaborate combat mech. After some thought I picked the ninja. They’d never suspect murder to come from ONE OF THEIR OWN.
It was a very basic run-to-the-boss style game, wherein you have to indiscriminately murder everyone in your path while eating food collected out of rusty barrels. Each character had its own special attack, could ride combat mechs (if you were the baby, you could be a baby-in-a-mech-in-a-mech) and had some over the top bosses, including lizard men with spear guns, a doctor on a speed boat, and my favorite, Space Satan. There were ninjas, samurai and 90s chicks everywhere, I tell you. By the end of the game, both Enosh and CB were pounding the buttons alongside me, desperate to accomplish… whatever the hell Captain Commando and crew were trying to accomplish. The plot wasn’t mentioned much.
After Captain Commando hit its inevitable conclusion, we wandered around a bit more and hit up some other classics. There was the traditional X-men game that spans two screens and six characters. This one was fun too, but not nearly as fun as Captain Commando. Enosh took Colossus, despite the fact that he seemed to have no clue who that was, CB took Storm, I guess due to the fact that the other available girl X-man (Dazzler, I think? Who the hell was Dazzler?) looked like a complete ditz, and I stuck with my main bro Nightcrawler. The game was indeed one of those beat-em-ups, but this time we were treated to some of the worst one liners this side of a foreign movie dub. My favorite was probably “X-men… Welcome to DIE.”
I mean seriously, what?
I also plowed through Metal Slug 2 along with Enosh. This was a two player game, so CB wandered off and played Super Bust a Move! or one of its many derivatives. Now, the metal slug series is well-known. I mean, they just released Metal Slug 10 for Xbox Live Arcade. I never really got into the series, what with how impossibly difficult they are. This wasn’t a problem here. Metal Slug 2 is one of the most over the top side scrolling shooters I’ve ever played. Massive explosions, evil army guys and aliens are just some of the things you need to blow up. Plus you get your power ups from a hobo’s underwear. Yeah… weird. Anyway, it was good to finally be able to beat one of those games to see what the fuss was all about.
We did play two games to avoid, however. Smash TV, while is a bit addictive and hilarious, gets very repetitive fast. After finishing the first level, I kind of realized there was nothing else for me to see. A little disappointing. Second, Dungeons and Dragons.
Okay, yeah, go ahead and get all your DnD jokes out of the way now. I’m not giving you another chance. DnD was an epically bad game. You could be a dwarf, a warrior, a cleric and an elf mage. After some confusion, CB took the dwarf, I took the warrior, and Enosh took the elf chick because he’s some kind of wuss. And, after some confusion, we also ended up with a Cleric because we accidentally pushed the button to give him lives. I named him Dicks, but because of the amount of children around, CB wouldn’t let us talk about him too loudly. So we just called him Richard.
This game… was bad. You gain gold and XP, though every time you gain a level you just gain about 2 hit points. Items you could buy were watered down to bows and arrows, potions and other one shot items. Enosh could only cast spells after picking up scrolls. And the story elements? They gave us like two choices, though both choices had us running from one end of the level to the next, slaughtering dragons or something. At the end of each level, we all raise our weapons skyward for a barbarian “AUGH” and then on to the next thing. It was so underwhelming, I believe we all just walked away, leaving our heroes to be mauled by goblins while we went on to bigger and better fare.
Enosh and I decided to try our hand at some Dreamcast, so CB went back to Bust a Move. Or tried to. Think she ended up playing baseball by mistake. Anyway, we tried two games for Dreamcast. The first game… I don’t remember the name of it, but it was one of those team death match type of deals where you run around and pwn some noobs. Enosh and I both got destroyed by some computers, though I think that was because the controls were fundamentally broken! Think of an Xbox controller. Imagine the left joystick controls the camera and the D-Pad moves. Yeah.
The second game was an old Star Wars game. I took the reigns of Mr. Samuel Jackson Mace Windu while Enosh took… another Jedi. Honestly, I was too busy shouting about snakes and planes at this point to pay much attention. Anyway, we ran through most of the first level until some tricky jumping puzzles rendered us dead. Instead of choosing to restart, we just kinda abandoned the Dreamcast back to obscurity. Alas, we hardly knew ye.
We hit up CAPTAIN COMMANDO one last time before we left, switching up our characters and giving Space Satan the old one-two punch. Yeah! UNIVERSE IS SAVED. Thanks to CAPTAIN COMMANDO, a ninja, a knife thug and a baby-in-a-mech. Putting infants in mortal danger? That’s how the Captain rolls.
Anyway, Arcade Legacy was a pretty cool time, and I’m looking forward to additional trips out into Cincinnati. They’re apparently always hunting for new games to add, so maybe, just maybe, someday they’ll have the elusive Battletoads arcade game. I can dream, can’t I?
Addendum: CB ended up buying something with Dolly Parton in it from Arcade Legacy before we left. That lady freaks me out. She’s more plastic than lady from like the waist up. Like, can she feel anything in her face anymore? GROSS.
Filed under: Commentary, Games Tagged: | "AUGH", Arcade Legacy, Battletoads, Bust a Move, Captain Commando, CB, Chicabonita, Cincinnati, colossus, DnD, Dojo, Dolly Parton, Dreamcast, Dungeons and Dragons, Enosh, jedi, Mace Windu, Metal Slug 2, Nightcrawler, Samuel Jackson, Smash TV, Star Wars, Storm, tank sim, tophat, X-Men