Review – Data East Arcade Classics for Wii

Data East Arcade Classics Wii

[Guest review by Casey Willis]

Data East Arcade Classics uses the broadest definition of the word classic (re: old).  Majesco lovingly presents these 15 classic games against a green backdrop which I can only assume was designed by an intern.  Actually, that’s not fair to interns.  Some of them really work hard and try to prove themselves for little or no play.  I was thinking more of the, “Hey, I just got this stupid job because my Dad’s the boss”-type intern.  The presentation of these games is so poor it is hard to believe someone put any actual thought or effort behind it.  Here is my dramatic recreation of a meeting between two Majesco drones:

Drone 1:  “So, I was thinking we just put the name of the games over a green gradient.  Maybe the Data East logo behind it.  What do ya think?”

Drone 2: “Shut up!”

When it comes down to it, presentation is a huge part of game collections.  It’s just a bunch of old games that are better in your memory.  You’ll ultimately be disappointed by the graphics or the game play that you once thought was amazing.  The least a company can do is cheer me up with some snazzy graphics or a remixed theme song.  Pinball Hall of Fame, Williams Edition (a fabulous game) created an arcade where you could essentially just scroll through the games.  It wasn’t much but it treated the games like they mattered.  Data East Arcade Collection just seems like a quick cash-in on some retro games.  Even that seems lazy because weren’t retro games popular like, three years ago (Duh!).

And why is there such a long loading screen between the the game selection screen and the actual game?  How big is Burgertime?  And Majesco has the audacity to make me press a button to exit the load screen!  Yes the load screen shows the controller layout for the games but let me sum up the controls for almost all the games:  D-pad moves, an attack button and a jump button.  Once you finally make it to the first screen of your chosen game you press a button to start. Nothing.  Oh, I must have pressed the wrong button.  Let me press this other button.  Nothing.  The “A” button? Nothing.  Plus?  Minus?  Oh, how clever.  You have to press the “B” button to insert a credit.  Just like in the arcade.

The best thing about this collection is hearing all the bad speech effects Data East put into it’s games.  They loved that stuff.  Sometimes it’s laughable like in Crude Buster, while other times it’s puzzlingly long like in Wizard Fire.  I do love to say “Got it!” along with the Bad Dudes when I pick up a can of coke (in the game, or in real life).  Curiously, two important Data East classics are missing:  Karnov and Karate Champ.  I’ve read Karnov might be absent because Data East sold the license but if that’s true why does Karnov show up as the first boss in Bad Dudes?  There are literally Karnov posters in some of the games.  Leaving out Karate Champ is just wrong.  It was the first player vs. player fighting game I can remember.  My friends and I played it so long at the skating rink that my parents got made at me because I wasn’t skating (get used to it Mom and Dad;  I’d rather do digital flying side kicks than learn to skate backwards).

There are goals for each game.  Little achievements for beating a level or racking up a set amount of points.  Every time you complete one you get a little gold circle on a ribbon (I assume they are supposed to be medals).  Once you complete all the challenges for a game you unlock Special Mode.  I was hoping it was remixed sounds or improved graphics but instead it just makes the game harder.  What?  You’re making these quarter munchers with their cheap hits and surprise enemies harder?  Um, thanks?

I’ve written so much about my disappointment in the collection I haven’t even touched on the games.  I’ve decided to review each game with as much thought as Majesco put into this disc.  140 characters or less, Twitter-style!

Bad Dudes vs. Dragon Ninja- Doesn’t look as good as when I played it in the lobby of my local Wal-Mart when I  was 14. Also, I don’t look as good as I did when I was 14

Burger Time-  Is there a way to turn off the song?

Burnin’ Rubber-  Why isn’t this called Bump n’ Jump?  That would make a pretty great name for a trampoline porno.

Caveman Ninja- One of the best looking games in the collection.  I wonder why the caveman ninja genre never took off.

Crude Buster- In the future, everyone looks like a professional wrestler and shouts catchphrases all the time.

Express Raider-  Take an exciting Old West train robbery.  Now, make it boring.

Heavy Barrel-  Collecting all the pieces and hearing the game say, “Heavy Barrrrrrelll!” is worth it.  Once.

Lock ‘n’ Chase-  Lock ‘n’ Chase is to Pac-Man as Photon is to Lazer Tag.

Magical Drop III- …and let the magic… drrrrrrooooop!

Peter Pepper’s Ice Cream Factory- First you walk all over my burger and now you’re kicking my ice cream?  What kind of health score did this place get?

Secret Agent- This game is pretty cool.  Different types of levels and game play.  One of the best on the disc.

Side Pocket- If I wanted to knock around pastel balls, I’d punch the Easter bunny between the legs.  Ohhhh!

Street Hoop-  Wouldn’t it be Street Hoops?  With an “S”?  Also, shooting from the foul line isn’t a half-court shot you dumb announcer.

Super Real Darwin- This is just a slightly evolved Xevious.  Get it?  Darwin… evolved.  Is my spaceship shooting seagull lasers?  That’s cool.

Wizard Fire-  Cut scenes with full synth speech!!  I just transformed into a cloud shooting lightning.   I like this game.