The Antstream Arcade Years: 1995
With the Antstream Arcade search facility capable of narrowing its range by year, there’s a great way to discover the games from a time you remember especially fondly. This week, we look back at one such year and the noteworthy games that make it a fantastic time worth travelling back to on Antstream Arcade. So join us as we pop into our retro gaming time machine and zip back to 1995 when the 16-bit computers and consoles were clinging on in the face of a new gaming sensation…
Earthworm Jim 2 – Super Nintendo/Sega Mega Drive
But let’s kick off with an old favourite, that manic crazy annelid Earthworm Jim. Princess What’s-Her-Name has gotten herself kidnapped by the dreaded Psy-Crow again, and, being the dumb, lovestruck type, Jim is off to rescue her once more. Across familiar run ‘n’ gun levels and a range of new disparate stages, Jim wields his trusty blaster to fend off the minions of Psy-Crow and might have to stop and participate in a game show or two in the process. Err, what?
What They Said: “Mad as a monkey’s brain and a work of twisted genius. Quite simply the most inventive brain-spazzing Mega Drive sequel EVER!” – Sega Power, January 1996
It’s 1995, so the gaming revolution that is Doom has arrived, and the PC master race is on the rise! Fortunately, Antstream Arcade’s selection of PC games is growing, and this LucasArts point ‘n’ click adventure is one of our faves. Away from the developer’s previous amusing hijinks (Monkey Island, Day Of The Tentacle), Full Throttle stars biker gang leader Ben as he attempts to clear his name. Watch out (or rather listen out) for Mark Hamill as the villainous Adrian Ripburger.
What They Said: “The graphics work well, and the sampled voices and sound effects add to the atmosphere, and the puzzle element is just right with certain solutions needing a large amount of lateral thinking.” – Computer & Video Games, June 1995.
The stunning debut of THAT console hasn’t yet begun to affect the arcades – there are still plenty of new games to play for those who visit these glowing neon palaces. Developed by Psikyo, Strikers 1945 takes place in an alternate universe where World War II has ended, but a mysterious force known as CANY is using this vulnerable moment to attack. With its flashy visuals and a brilliant soundtrack, we must invest a few coins in Strikers 1945 while we’re here!
What They Said: “Upon reaching the end of each stage, you face off against a huge battleship that then turns into a giant mech. It's utterly bizarre to witness, but it somehow works. Don't be fooled by its non-descript looks and simple play mechanics, Strikers 1945 is tremendous fun.” – Retro Gamer, March 2006.
Magical Drop/Chain Reaction – Arcade
Had your fill of frantic shooting action? Next to the Strikers 1945 cab is Data East’s Magical Drop (known as Chain Reaction outside Japan), and it’s attracting a big crowd thanks to its highly addictive gameplay. The aim is simple: pick up bubbles and fire them back, matching them with two or more in a line to destroy them. But with the bubbles descending at an alarming rate, Magical Drop soon becomes a feverish race against the clock!
What They Said: “The best thing about [Magical Drop] is it is so addictive. The number of variables on the original game idea is enough to warrant hours of play.” – Mean Machines, April 1996.
OK, we can contain ourselves no longer – let’s get home and have a go on our brand-new Sony PlayStation console! 1995 was the year when PlayStation mania began, its impressive 3D capabilities and high disc-based storage capacity creating a whole new world of gaming. What better way to start than with the carnage of Gremlin’s frenzied top-down shooter?
What They Said: “Loaded is an experience no videogamer should miss. At first, it looks like a 32-bit whacked out Smash TV, but it's really more of a maze/exploration game… a first-gen masterpiece.” – GameFan, January 1996.
Pinball Mania – Commodore Amiga
Wait – what’s that dusty old machine in the corner of the room? While your mate’s having a go on Loaded, you stroll over to the Commodore Amiga and boot the old girl up. There’s a floppy in its drive – Pinball Mania – and soon the Sony PlayStation is forgotten as you relive happy memories of this chrome ball-zinging classic. Just don’t rock the table!
What They Said: “[Pinball Mania] has been improved so much… the tables and the animations of the score display look nicer, and the graphics on the scoreboard scroll. Above all, however, the ball's behaviour has become a whole lot more realistic, because [its] been given completely new program routines.” – Amiga Joker, November 1995.
Not happy with our picks? Here are some more 1995 games on Antstream Arcade. Check out those crazy Worms on Commodore Amiga and Sega Mega Drive; there’s more arcade love with shoot-‘em-ups Desert War and Gekirindan; sticking with that genre, try Earth Defense and Thunderbolt 2 for the Sega Mega Drive; and finally, grab an ice cream and take to the arena in the Bitmap Brothers’ futuristic sports classic, Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe.
As the wiggly lines return, that’s it for another Antstream Arcade year as we are reluctantly dragged back to the present day. To discuss all these games from 1995 and more, head over to the Antstream Arcade Discord server.