Sunday, January 17, 2010

Data East Arcade Classics

Data East Arcade Classics Feb 16, 2010 $19.99
Data East site
Wikipedia Entry
Data East began in 1976 and was a solid player in the 1980's and 90's arcade scene, releasing seminal titles such as Burgertime, Bump 'n' Jump, Karate Champ, Karnov, Bad Dudes, and Robocop among others.
Data East went bankrupt in 2003, and "most of Data East's intellectual properties were acquired in February 2004 by G-Mode (To see the list of games, check the Wikipedia entry on G-Mode), a Japanese mobile game content provider." G-Mode now licenses out Data East titles, and it's G-Mode whom you may thank for this compilation. It's important to note that this is the first compilation ever of Data East titles to be released.
Why this game is being released exclusively for the Wii I don't know. It deserves the added attention which would come from a multi-platform release, and it'd be nice to have Xbox 360 achievements and not be forced to purchase added peripherals to make the experience more authentic (as with the Wii's 'Classic Controller').

The included games are as follows;
BurgerTime [1982] and Peter Pepper's Ice Cream Factory (the rare sequel to Burger Time) [1984]
Bad Dudes (vs. Dragon Ninja)[1988]
Bump 'n' Jump (aka Burnin' Rubber) [1982]
Caveman Ninja (aka Joe & Mac) [1991]
Express Raider (aka Western Express) [1986]
Heavy Barrel [1987]
Lock 'n' Chase [1981]
Magical Drop III [1997]
Sly Spy (aka Secret Agent) [1989]
Side Pocket [1986]
Street Hoop [1994]
Super Real Darwin [1987]
Two Crude (aka Crude Buster) [1990]
Wizard Fire (aka Dark Seal II) [1992]

My only other complaint (aside from being released exclusively for the Wii) would be that some titles are missing in action, the most puzzling omission being that of Karate Champ [1984], a benchmark one-on-one fighting game credited for paving the way for all future fighting games like Capcom's Street Fighter series.

Photo courtesy of Fotoset
Perhaps they ran into difficulty figuring out a control scheme for the Wii (the arcade utilized dual joysticks), without forcing players to purchase the classic controller. To quote Gamespot in their review of SNK Classics Volume 1, another gaming compilation, in regards to the fighting games included within; "The GameCube controller isn't suited to fighting games and the (Wii) remote is outright allergic to them. If you want SNK Arcade Classics for the fighting games, the classic controller is your best bet..."

Other titles missing in action which I'd personally like to see included in a Data East compilation;
Bloody Wolf [1988] (shoot'em up)
While the Turbografx 16 port of Bloody Wolf is available through the Virtual Console service, an arcade-perfect port would've been the superior choice.
Break Thru [1986] (a horizontally scrolling shooter where you drive a military vehicle)
Cobra Command [1988] (a horizontally scrolling helicopter battle game based on their 1984 laserdisc game of the same name)
Double-Wings/KLOV Entry [1993] (Vertical scrolling shooter)
Gate Of Doom (aka Dark Seal) [1990] (fantasy hack-n-slash with an isometric view)
Dark Seal II (Wizard Fire) is included in the compilation, but not the first Dark Seal (Gate Of Doom)? Why not include both games, rather than skipping to the second in the series?
Darwin 4078 [1986] (Vertical scrolling shooter)
Again they've skipped the first in the series, fast-forwarding to the second with Super Real Darwin.
Desert Assault (aka Thunder Zone) [1991] (soldier shoot'em up)
While Desert Assault is a stand-alone title, it could easily be thought of as a spiritual successor to games like Heavy Barrel and Bloody Wolf.
Gondomania [1987] (Data East) (Rotary Controls)
Hippodrome [1988] (one-on-one fantasy themed fighter)
The Joe & Mac Quadrilogy
Why not just go ahead and include the entire Joe & Mac (Caveman Ninja) series, the Super Nintendo only sequels Congo's Caper (Joe & Mac 2) [1993] and Joe & Mac: Lost In The Tropics [1993] (known as Joe & Mac 2 in US and as Joe & Mac 3 overseas) (I realize this is an arcade compilation, but Capcom broke that rule by including Super Ghouls 'N Ghosts within Capcom Classics Collection Volume 1 just to cap off the trilogy, and I thought it made sense to do so), and finally the last game featuring the Joe & Mac characters, the arcade game Joe & Mac Returns [1994]
Midnight Resistance [1989] (military side-scrolling shoot'em up)
It would've been nice if they included Midnight Resistance, the sequel to Heavy Barrel. Both games used a rotary contol in arcades (first introduced by SNK's 1985 arcade game, TNK III), and I do wonder how the Wii remote will handle that. Even with dual analog sticks at your fingertips (something the Wiimote and Nunchuck lack), replicating rotary controls at home has always proved to be a daunting task.
Night Slashers [1994] (horror themed Final Fight style beat'em up)
Shoot Out [1985]
Super BurgerTime [1990]
Both Burgertime and it's (rare) sequel are included, why not complete the circle by adding Super Burgertime as well?

It would've been a treat if they were to include Data East's two Laserdisc arcade games, which are Cobra Command [1984] and Road Blaster [1985].
These two games were released on a single disc compilation as "Interactive Movie Action - Thunder Storm & Road Blaster" for the PSOne and Sega Saturn. Although it was never released outside of Japan.

Unfortunately, some of Data East's assets, including Karnov [1987] and Atomic Runner Chelnov [1988] (both side scrolling platformers) are owned by Paon Corporation rather than G-Mode. Karnov is a Data East favorite of mine and an arcade-perfect port has never been released. Many (like myself) may be most familiar with the NES version.

IP Unknown
Ring King [1987] (a boxing game, which laid the groundwork for games like Taito's Kageki and others).
The IP for Ring King is said to rest with either Namco or G-Mode, and will most likely remain unconfirmed.

Games that were created from licensed properties will remain lost in time, such as;
Captain America and the Avengers [1991] (Marvel) (side scrolling beat'em up), Robocop [1988]

and Robocop 2 [1991] (MGM) (both side scrolling shoot'em ups), and The Real Ghostbusters/KLOV Entry [1987] (Columbia Pictures) (an overhead shooter).

Now we just need to get Technos (another defunct developer, now owned by a company called Million), Irem, and especially Konami to release comprehensive compilations, and SNK to release their 'SNK Arcade Classics Volume 0' which features their pre/non Neo Geo Arcade games...


  1. Great summary about Data East Arcade Classics!! Hopefully, we will see Karate Champ, Midnight Resistance, Shootout, and many other great Data East games included in Data East Arcade Classics Volume 2!!!

    I also hope that we see these games come out on other platforms as well!!!

  2. Thanks!
    Shoot Out - good call. That's a game I haven't seen or played since it was in arcades in the eighties.

  3. Good news for retro gamers on the Wii. The Classic Controller Pro, which was released back in August 1st '09 in Japan, will be coming to North America in April.
    I'm sure Data East Arcade Classics will be compatible with the Classic Controller, as was SNK Arcade Classics Volume 1 for the Wii.