Tag: Arcade Games

Spy Hunter Arcade Game

Spy Hunter

The name “James Bond” never appeared in Bally Midway’s Spy Hunter, but the 007 influence was unmistakable in this 1983 arcade classic. Game designer George Gomez was an avowed fan of the British secret agent with a license to kill, and Spy Hunter allowed him (and the rest of the world) to live out a dangerous, Bond-esque mission over land and sea.

Spy Hunter was actually a fusion of two popular genres: driving and shooting. The secret agent’s car came equipped with grill-mounted machine guns, the better to blow away the nasty vehicles that cluttered the road. Switch Blades were the most common bad cars—black sedans with tire-puncturing knives that extended out from their tires. These baddies could either be blown away or forced off the road, but other cars wouldn’t go down so easily. Road Lords were impervious to your guns, and their bulky size made it difficult to run them into the side of the road. As the game went on, players also ran across The Enforcer, a black limo with a gun-toting passenger.

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Crystal Castles Arcade Game

Crystal Castles

The logo said “Atari,” but Crystal Castles may as well have been designed by the Brothers Grimm. In this storybook-style adventure, a bouncy bear took on an evil witch and her group of exotic servants in a race to collect precious rubies.

Our furry hero was Bentley, a happy-go-lucky bear who had somehow been transported to the magical Crystal Castles of Berthilda the Witch. To get out, Bentley had to collect rows of gems from a 3-D maze, racing a group of hungry, centipede-like creatures who wanted the jewels for themselves. Bentley had no weapons, but if he caught the Gem Eaters while they were still digesting their precious rubies, he could wipe the baddies out.

The bear also had a mean vertical leap, which came in handy while avoiding the other assembled monsters—living trees, skeletons, ghosts, crystal balls, angry bees and Berthilda herself. Most levels also held a magic hat, which turned Bentley invincible for a short period, allowing him to take out the wicked witch. Gooey honey pots could also be snatched for extra points.

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Dragon’s Lair Arcade Game

Dragon's Lair

For those who weren’t there, try to imagine the shock of seeing this game back in 1983. Games like Crystal Castles and Mario Bros. had pretty cool graphics, but Dragon’s Lair was an honest-to-goodness cartoon, hand-designed by The Secret of NIMH director Don Bluth (later responsible for An American Tail and The Land Before Time, among others). There was no ignoring it—Dragon’s Lair practically blew away everything else in the arcade.

In fairness to Crystal Castles and Mario Bros., Dragon’s Lair wasn’t as fully interactive as its video game contemporaries. The game was made possible through the use of Laserdisc technology, whereby Bluth and company were able to animate several scenarios for each scene, essentially making a full-motion Choose Your Own Adventure story. If the correct choices were made, the hero lived on to face the next challenge. If not, the animation skipped to a brief, grotesque, often hilarious death scene.

The game starred Dirk the Daring, an heroic but not always bright knight in shining armor. The voluptuous Princess Daphne had been kidnapped by the dragon Singe, and Dirk stormed the beast’s lair to get her back. From the entrance on, there was no set pattern for your individual adventure. Scenes were accessed randomly, though they were grouped in increasing levels of difficulty.

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