Where have all the arcade cowboys gone? Out the window it seems, and for those of you who were lucky enough to have grown up in the 1980s, or early to mid 90s may remember some of the great classic arcade games that seemed to get away from you. During that time the 68000 CPU chip was pretty mainstream, and yielded an army of great games in the process. At the time that was all you pretty much needed, until the market started to change and games started entering the realm of 3D effects.
The "Mystic Warrior" based hardware Konami used in 1993 was just that, games based on the same hardware. Likely because it was the first to be produced, or likely because that is what it's best known for. There were only 7 titles made altogether, and all within the same year of 1993. Konami had already hopped on board the fighter bandwagon with previous titles like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and X-Men, but with this slight upgrade it was time to ramp things up a bit.
The MW hardware used an excellent sound chip which yielded some awesome soundtracks. If you've ever played any of the following games, then you know what I mean. It's no wonder people go looking for game soundtracks all the time on the Internet and YouTube! So let's take a look at all seven titles shall we? Starting with Mystic Warriors itself.
Mystic Warriors was created by the same team that made Sunset Riders, the old Western shooter game that took the arcade community by storm after its release. When playing MW, one gets the feeling of "Shinobi" coupled up with a touch of "Ninja Gaiden". The long play video above does it more justice than I can say. This is one to keep an eye out for. 4 player action at its finest.
A story with a mid-evil twist. "Prince Gerard Himerce seeks vengeance against the Zar Harc Empire for the destruction of his homeland, the Kingdom of Avalon." Yeah, that sounds about right doesn't it? Gaiapolis is one of those vertical display scrolling games that feature the traditional hack and slash your enemies to death style of game play. It also boasts what is likely the best orchestral soundtrack I have ever heard for most games. It has to be heard to be appreciated, so take a look at the game play video above, and add this one to your wish list.
Kyukyoku Sentai Dadandarn / Monster Maulers / Brain Busters
Entering the realm of one-on-on versus fighters, this one has a familiar ring to it. While not looking quite like your traditional style vs fighter game, when playing Monster Maulers one of the first things you will notice is that the giant monsters you encounter look like bosses from other Konami arcade games. That's because they are. Names like Gradius, and its spin off title Salamander will bring up fond memories when you go to town kicking some monster butt in this one.
The first thing that comes to your mind when playing Martial Champion is of course,.......Street Fighter 2 right? Right, and yes it most certainly does play like it. Best two out of three matches will have you picking your favorite fighter with their own special techniques, while you go head to head with the CPU or a friend. Works great for a Saturday night off with nothing to do or hanging out with a buddy. The game was also released on the PC-Engine Super CD-Rom2 format, as well as Virtual Console.
Yet another side scrolling beat up em up game somewhat in the same style you played X-Men, except this time with a twist. Your characters can "morph" into stronger and more hostile characters with the right power-up. Morphed characters range from Fighting Bull, Sabre, to a Black Panther, and a Bear. Oh my! Up to four players can get in on the action, and this is one you don't want to miss if you get the chance.
The 1990s, the end of World War 3 has at last come and gone. Whew!, I'm glad that's over.....can't we all get along? Anyway, that is the story and plot to this game, which seems to be yet another Final Fight type clone, but with some interesting graphics to boot. While it does seem to take after the traditional Final Fight realm, you can have up to 3 players with this one, which include names like Boris, Wade and Kyle. Your mission is to protect the weak and innocence from the corrupt "Geld Gang", who seems to be taking advantage of the "after apocalypse" situation by exploiting them for their own gain.
This happens to be one of my personal favorite of the bunch, next to Mystic Warriors itself. I've played this one all the way through and found it to be quite enjoyable. While these types of games have come and gone from the arcade gaming scene, you can still play them right now in the same way the rest of the Internet plays them. For that, you will have use an emulator like MAME to run the ROM for it. As for the ROM itself, all I can say is that Google holds the answers as always. While I don't condone the act of piracy, these games seemed to have faded from existence, and likely will never be heard from again unless you use the above said method. Cheers.
Fun Fact - Want to see more information like this from other Konami games? Want to see more arcade games and their respective boards right now? Try System16 for your pleasure.