Updated: Mar 27, 2020
With retro arcade games proving extremely popular on Antstream Arcade, we are delighted to
announce the arrival of another fantastic cadre of coin-munching classics, with free play always engaged for Antstream subscribers! This week we take a look at four of the best arcade games from Tecmo Koei, a powerful amalgamation formed when these two gaming giants joined forces ten years ago. Fancy rekindling that Eighties arcade vibe? Then this is the place to start – let’s fight!
Now here’s a platform game with a difference! Starring the eponymous masked hero, each level of
Bomb Jack contains a set of hazardous rotund bombs that our leaping hero must defuse if the famous landmark behind them is to survive. From an elegant chateau to the Egyptian Pyramids and Parthenon of Athens, Bomb Jack can either collect each explosive randomly, or gather them in the order of their burning fuses.
Our hero is a sprightly chap, able to leap athletically across the screen to reach his targets and avoid enemies. These vary from a nasty bird that constantly homes in on him, to wandering mummies and flying saucers. Collect enough bombs and a bouncing ‘P’ bubble appears; collect this and they all turn into harmless and valuable points icons that can be amassed for a big bonus. Originally published by Tehkan (latterly Tecmo) 35 years ago, Bomb Jack is one of those maddeningly addictive arcade games that will prove an absolute blast every time you play it!
Ant-Fact: As with Technos’ Renegade and its sequel, Target Renegade, Bomb Jack got a home exclusive sequel, the somewhat blandly-titled Bomb Jack II.
Ant-Tactic: Pressing up while jumping gives Bomb Jack a mighty leap that takes him all the way to the top of the screen. Rapidly tapping the jump key in order to make Bomb Jack ‘hover’ is also a key tactic.
Ant-ernative: Thing On A Spring, while not involving bombs, is a similarly bouncy hero, available on Antstream Arcade in its Commodore 64 form.
Arcade gaming with a difference, part 2! Partially inspired by classic platformers such as Lode Runner, Solomon’s Key is a furious retro puzzle game where the lead character, wizard Dana, creates and destroys blocks in order to help him negotiate his way to the glistening key that unlocks the exit to each level.
Fireballs and faeries help the magician while a horde of monsters such as dragons, gargoyles, demons and rival wizards seek to stop him in his mission. Like the all of the best arcade games, Solomon’s Key will have you tearing your hair out in both frustration and joy as you try and solve its many devious puzzles.
Ant-Fact: Solomon’s Key creator Michitaka Tsuruta also designed Bomb Jack. A rare interview with him appears in John Szczepaniak’s excellent book series, The Untold History Of Japanese Game Developers.
Ant-Tactic: Solomon’s Key encourages the player to experiment within its levels. The way to chase high scores is to learn the layouts and pocket the hidden extras revealed by creating and then destroying blocks over (apparently) vacant areas.
Ant-ernative: Chip’s Challenge is another puzzle game to test your little grey cells, available on both Commodore 64 and Amiga within Antstream Arcade.
It’s 4.5 billion years since the Earth was formed, and the Dominators have ruled with an iron fist
throughout time. When an evil, twisted Dominator begins to terrorise the world, it’s time for the
legendary hero Rygar to rise from his grave and bring freedom to the planet. Guess what? That’s right, that’s where you come in! Playing the shirt-less warrior, the landscape scrolls horizontally at great pace with enemies accosting Rygar every second of play.
Armed with the Diskarmor, a round, razor-sharp disc, and possessing a powerful leap, Rygar is ready to take on the massed army of the twisted Dominator. Can you rise to the challenge and help him save the Earth?
Ant-Fact: Rygar is known as Argus No Senshi in its native Japan, which translates to Warrior Of Argus.
Ant-Tactic: To progress any reasonable distance in the game, study which method of tackling each enemy is most appropriate. For example, baby rhinos require a crouch attack while the self-stacking mutant tribesman require you to wait before pouncing.
Ant-ernative: Try Hewson’s Gunrunner, a fast-paced retro run ‘n’ gun game for the ZX Spectrum.
Sometimes all you wanna do is have some simple shoot-‘em-up fun, and for these such moments there is Star Force. Released by Tekhan in 1984, this is a vertically-scrolling shooter devoid of practically any of the frills that had begun to define the genre by the mid-Eighties. What it does have, however, in spades, is playability and a barrel-full of entertainment.
The Final Star fighter is a nippy little craft and can shoot rapidly up the screen. With no pickups to speak of save for minor gun upgrade, there’s little depth to Star Force, making it a perfect arcade game to pick up and play, especially if your classic arcade gaming skills are a little on the rusty side!
Ant-Fact: Each of Star Force’s stages is defined with a letter of the Greek alphabet, which is represented by the end-of-level boss.
Ant-Tactic: In later levels there’s a sneaky enemy that approaches from below the player. When the play area becomes temporarily vacant, move up the screen and be ready, as one of these pests is incoming.
Ant-ernative: While it appears aesthetically similar, Armored Scrum Object is an altogether trickier arcade shoot-‘em-up that’s well worth checking out for retro fans.
Check out all your new retro favourites on Antstream Arcade now!