Every year sees its King of Fighters. For 10 years, this 2D versus fighting games saga managed to gather many fans. Year 2004 shows the transition of the series from the Neo-Geo MVS to the Atomiswave hardware. This new edition by SNK Playmore features: 36 characters (plus 6 unlockable ones), 3 game modes, high-resolution backgrounds and the appearance of a 5th button (named "heat", this one increases your power while decreasing your health). The King of Fighters NeoWave is available in bundle with the Atomiswave mainboard. Click here to see some screenshots and discover the fighters' roster as well as the different game modes explaination on the official website.
Following the story of the manga of the same name created in 1996 by Shuichi Shigeno, Sega's Initial D version 3 presents the young Takumi whom dream's to become the number 1 street racer, those underground races take place on Mt. Akina's slopes. Released in september on Naomi 2, this "version 3" brings lots of new features: 2 new courses (plus the Mount Akina in snow condition), 3 new rivals taken from the manga's latest volumes, 4 new cars (the Lancer Evolution V & VI, the RX-8 Type-S and the Skyline25GT-T) as well as new musical scores for a total of 8 courses, 27 rivals and 35 vehicles to choose from. As in previous versions, the player will be able to use points he earned from duels to tune and power up his car. Following numerous players request, cars specifications have been modified. Players owning IC cards from versions 1 and 2 of the game will be able to transfer some of their data to "version 3" cards. This game is available as either an upgrade kit for version 2 or a full twin cabinet. More info on the official website.
American manufacturer Tsunami Visual Technologies (distributed by Namco) brings us a new racer with... radio-controlled cars. This is the arcade version of the well-known Re-Volt. Choose between 8 default vehicles (which can be customized) and explore your neighbourhood through 20 courses. Each race won unblock one of the 14 hidden cars. Because of your small size, everyday's life objects become big obstacles to get over. You can use numerous weapons and power-ups to get rid of your opponents. Up to 8 machines can be linked-up, these ones ("deluxe" cabinets) feature 33" screens, force-feedback steering wheels and motion-base moulded seats.
Manufacturer: Tsunami. Size (deluxe): 100(w)x203(d)x221(h). Weight: 333Kg.
Born on october 1st from the merging between Sammy & Sega (or better said from Sega's takeover by Sammy), "Sega Sammy Holdings Inc." was for the first time in Europe showing both companies products on one big booth at London's Preview 2005 exposition. They showcased many games including: Ghost Squad, Mushiking, The King of Fighters NeoWave, Initial D Version 3 and Faster than Speed. We'll come back on the different games showcased at the show in the forthcoming days but the fact that a "deluxe" version of OutRun2 SP was there allows us to give you more informations than what we announced 3 months ago. We already told you about 2 new cars: both the 250 GTO and the 512 BB, 15 new courses (taking place in the USA) and the original musical themes. But you know that when Sega do something, they do it well; so many other new improvements have appeared in the final product: the different game modes have been fine-tuned, you're now able to select your car's color by shifting gears, the gameplay is more nervous thanks to the fact that you loose less time recovering from car crashes, the beginners can choose a simplified driving mode, many graphical details have been added (like birds in the sky) and last but not least: slipstream effect! That's right, you can now use other cars' slipstream to gain speed (as in Daytona USA). Note that the rear side of the "deluxe" cabinet is the exact replica of the Ferrari 360's one!
Tekken 5 is ready and will start shipping this month. After a disappointing fourth episode, the latest one in the famous Namco's 3D fighting games series gathers the best features of the previous games; the gameplay and combo system from Tekken Tag Tournament mixed with the characters from Tekken 4 plus 3 new fighters for a total of 20 competitors available right from the start and you have to add to that amount several time-triggered hidden characters. All of this updated to current graphics standards with the ability to interact with the scenery. But the greatest new feature is the IC cards support. Explanation: the player buys a magnetic card (at the price chosen by the operator) on which he can register his name along with his favourite character. He then earns points with each fight he wins or looses. Thanks to these points, the player can customize his fighter with various accessories he buys (hat, glasses, jacket, alternate haircut). The card remains valid for 500 games after which he has to buy another one and transfer his character. All of this is automatically handled by the machine. Another new feature is that the player can fight against the ghost of another person who played on the same cabinet because the machine has learned his way to fight! Thanks to his card, the player gains experience levels and can become 3rd dan at Tekken! But to achieve this he'll have to defeat several humans whom skills are equals or better than his. Fights will be exciting for sure! From a technical point-of-view, the game runs on Namco's brand-new "System 256" which is still based on Sony materials but includes a main processor overclocked by 33% and more RAM than the previous "System 246" (Tekken 4, Soul Calibur II, Time Crisis 3). Graphics are really great despite the aliasing effect inherent to the "Graphics Synthesizer". The game is available as a kit (PCB, IC reader and wiring) or as a full cabinet with a 28", 33" or 50" (deluxe) sized screen. Undoubtedly a massive hit! More info on the official website.
June 2001: After having closed down its sister company Atari Games, Midway definitely leaves the arcade industry. For many people, Midway calls to mind absolute fun and numerous hits. Is this the end of good american games? It's not considering Eugene Jarvis! Soon after, the creator of Defender, Robotron and the Cruis'n series starts up Raw Thrills and recruits some of the old Midway developers. In june 2004, their first game is out! Target: Terror, a lightgun shooter reminding Area 51 and Maximum Force all about terrorists extermination on a large scale thanks to uzis, shotguns, flamethrowers, ... Note that the goal of the last level of the game is to prevent a plane from crashing on the white house by killing the hostages holder! The game is gore and damn fun. The latest game out of the studio is The Fast and the Furious, a racing game "inspired" from the movie of the same name. It has the same gameplay than Cruis'n USA but allows you to race by night in the streets of various american cities. Like in San Francisco Rush 2049, the player can register, save and resume his game on the machine thanks to a little keypad. Better, the player's name is written on his license plate and if he's the fastest (achieving a time record), he wins a free game! Up to 4 cabinets can be linked up for reckless races. To sum up, this new studio makes a jumpstart! Raw Thrills games are distributed by Namco in Europe.
German arcade wholesaler ArcadeRick Amusement Co. (in Holzkirchen) is currently offering the latest Neo-Geo MVS titles at very low prices, see for yourself; Brand-new full MVS kits (cartridge) for 99 € each: The King of Fighters 2003, Metal Slug 5, Samurai Shodown V and Jockey Grandprix. SNK Vs. Capcom Chaos: 119 €, Pochi & Nyaa: 149 €. PCB versions of KOF2003, MS5 and SVC Chaos are also available for a slightly higher price. Attention, MVS cartridges need a Neo-Geo MVS mainboard to run (1-slot version are available there for 179 €) and a cabinet featuring 4 buttons per player. You can also purchase a (used) 4-slot MVS mainboard for 189 €, imagine a cabinet hosting this mainboard with 4 games amongst the aforementioned titles inserted and you can be sure to create some tiny event at your location! ArcadeRick also has offers running on some Naomi 1/2 bundles (including a mainboard, a GD-ROM drive and a game) at very attractive prices. Don't hesitate to dig their pricelist on their website, there're some bargain to make! Note they only do mail order selling.
Let's get back to a game that was released this summer in Europe; Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune. This is the latest racing game from Namco taking place in the universe of the "Wangan Midnight" manga. Aside "Time Attack" and "Intruder Competition" (2 players) modes, this game features the "Street mode" (aka "story mode") where you're driving on the Tokyo Express Highway being constantly challenged by other drivers so the races are following one after the other. The ultimate goal of the game is to defeat the famous Devil Z (after 3 rounds of 20 races each, for a total of 60 races). To succeed, you'll have to "tune" your car to the max. In order to do this, the player wins "tuning points" for each challenge won. These points will allow him to boost his car. It's possible to buy a magnetic card (dispensed by the machine) to be able to later resume the game where he left. The game has really good looking graphics since it runs on Chihiro GD-ROM (same hardware as OutRun 2) and the card system as well as the internet world ranking cause players to come back regularly. More info on the game's official website. Click here to see the cabinet and some cards.
Manufacturer: Namco. Size (twin): 176(w)x175(d)x208(h). Weight: 165Kg.
To be released in november in Japan so surely for beginning 2005 in Europe, here's the first upgrade for OutRun2 called OutRun2 SP standing for OutRun2 Special Tours. What's new: 5 new tours each divided in 16 scenes, remakes of 4 OutRun races and 3 Turbo OutRun races and remixes of the original music themes. You'll also be able to drive new cars like the Ferrari 512 BB and the 250 GTO. The first beta-test already took place 3 weeks ago this means the developpement is running well and we can expect many new stuff to be added by the end of the year. OutRun2 SP will be available both as an upgrade kit for OutRun2 and as complete cabinet version.
After "Daytona USA Turbo" and "To the Maxx 2001", there's a new unofficial upgrade kit available for Daytona USA: Daytona GTX "2004 edition". The innovation is that after each race, the player earns points he can use to upgrade his car (motor, armor, tyres and turbo). By using a PIN code given at the Game Over screen, the player can restart with the number of points he got. This kit includes 2 EPROMs, a small IC featuring 2 other EPROMs and dipswitches as well as 2 stickers. Even if the kit can be purchased for a price ranging from 350 to 400 €, it seems that Highway sells it for 170 €! Pay attention if you have twins because you'll need one kit per seat. Click here to see a picture of the kit and some screenshots.
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