Sunday, June 27, 2010

Konami Arcade

This is an extension of the originating Game Room post.

Konami has been nickel & diming fans of their back cataloge for years, and now they are continuing that tradition by releasing their arcade games on Xbox Live Arcade's Game Room, rather than doing what they should've done long ago - release an all encompassing on-disc arcade compilation.
Activision, Atari, Capcom, Data East, Intellivision, Midway, Namco, Sega, Taito, hell even Tecmo have released arcade or console compilations. But Konami continues to hawk their arcade games on XBLA, and their old console games on Wii Virtual Console, all for prices well above the precedent that every other classic gaming company has set with their arcade and classic console compilations. Sure, one could say that Konami deserves credit for being the only developer to bring something exclusive to the table at the launch of Game Room with Battlantis, Finalizer and Jungler. But I say hold back the praise. Bottom line is Konami has no excuse for being the only company not to release an arcade classics compilation on the 6th and 7th generation (non-handheld) of consoles. And after having dropped $20 on 4 Konami XBLA games, I feel like they owe me that much.

Of Konami's 20 (at time of post) Game Room releases, the games which have never appeared on a compilation of any kind before are;
Battlantis, Finalizer, Jailbreak, Jungler, Juno First, Konami's Ping Pong, Mega Zone, Mr. Goemon, Rack 'Em Up, Scooter Shooter, Strategy X, and Video Hustler.

A total of 42 (at time of post) of Konami's arcade classics have been released on the PSOne, Plug'N Play, Gameboy Advance, Nintendo DS, PSP, Xbox Live Arcade, Xbox Live Game Room, and the Wii's Virtual Console. Those games are as follows;
1) Battlantis
2) Circus Charlie
3-4) Contra, Super Contra
5-6) Double Dribble, Super Basketball
7-10) Gradius, Gradius II, Gradius III, Gradius IV (available on Gradius Collection for the PSP)
11) Gyruss
12) Finalizer
13) Frogger
14) Jailbreak
15) Jungler
16) Juno First
17-20) Life Force, Salamander, Salamander 2, Xexex (*on Salamander Portable on the PSP, only available in Japan)
21) Mega Zone
22) Mr. Goemon
23) Pooyan
24) Rack 'Em Up
25) Road Fighter
26) Roc'n Rope
27) Rush'n Attack
28) Scramble
29) Scooter Shooter
30) Shao Lin's Road
31) Strategy X
32) Super Cobra
33-34) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles In Time
35) Time Pilot
36) Track and Field
37) Tutankham
38-40) TwinBee, Detana!! TwinBee, TwinBee Yahho! (*on TwinBee Portable on the PSP, only available in Japan)
41) Video Hustler
42) Yie Ar Kung-Fu

In reality, every last one of these games should be available on a singular compilation. Keep in mind Namco Museum Virtual Arcade had 40 games and was released at an MSRP of $29.99.

Konami to release expensive compilation
"Konami Classics Volume 1 will feature Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night, Frogger and Super Contra, while Volume 2 will feature Contra, Rush'n Attack and Track & Field.
Each collection will cost $19.99 in the US - which means the first volume costs the same as it would to buy them all on the Xbox Live Marketplace, but it also means the second volume costs $5 more than the marketplace."

A compilation of 3 XBLA games is NOT an "arcade classics compilation". And while Castlevania SOTN is a terrific game, it isn't an arcade title.

Once again, in comparison, take a look at Namco Museum Virtual Arcade as an example of how to release an arcade compilation with a few XBLA games thrown in done right, and priced right at $29.99. Namco Museum Virtual Arcade has a total of 40 games included, 31 of which are Arcade Classics on disc, 9 of which are games accessible through XBLA.

Even at a measley 10 games, Konami Arcade Classics was the closest Konami came to full-fledged classic arcade compilation on a non-handheld home console. It's now a rare find and those on Ebay and Amazon are (or were) asking quite a bit for it. The reason I say were is because now 7 (8 if you include Pooyan which is slated to be released) out of the 10 games on the compilation are now available on Game Room. The three games from the Konami Arcade Classics which are not yet on Game Room are Circus Charlie, Pooyan, and Roc'n Rope.

It's unfortunate that Gradius Collection for the PSP was not also released on the PS2.

Gradius Compilations
It's unfortunate that Salamander Portable was only released in Japan. Not really sure why it wasn't released internationally, since the first Salamander, renamed Life Force in North America, was a terrific and popular NES game and is the only space shooter I owned for the Nintendo. Would've been nice to see Salamander 2 in North America!
Life Force IS however available on the Wii's Virtual Console in North America.

"Despite TwinBee being one of Konami's most prominent series in Japan during most of the 1990s, only a select few titles were localized for the foreign market. Particularly the second console game Moero! TwinBee (which was released as Stinger on the NES in North America). The second arcade game, Detana!! TwinBee, also had a limited international release under the name of Bells & Whistles.
The first in the series, TwinBee, was officially released for the first time outside Japan as part of the Konami Classics Series: Arcade Hits for the Nintendo DS in March 2007, under the name RainbowBell in North America. TwinBee is slated for release on the Nintendo 3DS, and was featured amongst other games from the Nintendo Entertainment System and Super NES to be released for the 3DS on a tech demo called Classic Games at E3 2010."

Konami Arcade Advanced for the Gameboy Advance contains 6 games; Frogger, Gyruss, Rush'n Attack, Scramble, Time Pilot, and Yie Ar Kung-Fu.
Konami Classics Series: Arcade Hits for the Nintendo DS contains 15 games; Basketball (aka Super Basketball), Contra, Circus Charlie, Gradius, Horror Maze (aka Tutankham), Pooyan, Rainbowbell (aka TwinBee), Road Fighter, Roc 'n' Rope, Rush'n Attack, Scramble, Shao-Lin's Road, Time Pilot, Track and Field, and Yie Ar Kung-Fu.
Although it's missing Frogger and Gyruss from the GBA and Plug'n Play, the DS Konami Arcade Classics Series: Arcade Hits is the best across-the-board arcade classics compilation on the handheld market.

Konami Arcade Advanced Plug'n Play contains 6 games; Frogger, Gyruss, Rush'n Attack, Scramble, Time Pilot, and Yie Ar Kung-Fu.

Aside from Konami's arcade games, to date Konami has released 16 of their console classics on the Wii's Virtual Console, PS2, and Xbox Live Arcade (Castlevania SOTN].
1) Axelay
2) Castlevania
3) Casltevania II: Simon's Quest
4) Castlevania III
5) (Super) Castlevania IV
6) Castlevania Rondo
7) Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night
8) Contra III: The Alien Wars
9) Super C
10) Cybernator
11) Gradius 2 (MSX game on Salamander Portable for the PSP in Japan)
12) Gradius Gaiden (PSOne game on Gradius Collection for the PSP)
13) Metal Gear
14) Metal Gear 2
15) The Legend of the Mystical Ninja
16) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (NES game)
I think it's high time that Konami releases a Contra Anthology including all their iterations of Contra (arcade and console), and since 2010's Castlevania: Lords of Shadow is going to be more or less a reboot of the franchise, it's time Konami release an all encompassing Castlevania Anthology.

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