There are currently hundreds of classic retro games on the Antstream Arcade and with this sheer wealth of gaming delights on offer, it’s easy to miss the odd shimmering treasure. Having covered several of our hidden gems on previous episodes of this series, we thought it was about time we revealed another bunch of those lesser-known – but just as awesome – games that may have slipped past you on Antstream Arcade.
Dark Fusion – Gremlin, 1989
With its 40 th anniversary fast approaching, it seems appropriate that we begin the latest Antstream Arcade Hidden Gems with a ZX Spectrum game. Released towards the end of the Eighties, Dark Fusion is a feisty run ‘n’ gun and shoot-‘em-up mix, taking place over a series of colourful and madcap levels. Starting off on foot in the Combat Zone, the player takes out flying and ground-based enemies while seeking out the flashing fusion pods. Enter these and it’s onto a further zone and another tough test for this Guardian Warrior trainee. Colourful, playable and immense fun, Dark Fusion is a late era Speccy game that passed by most fans back in the day, and is now available to discover on Antstream Arcade.
Athena – SNK, 1987
Next up it’s Athena, a warrior princess straight out of the arcades. Bored with her cosseted life back home, Athena dares to open the ‘Door Which Shouldn’t Be Opened’, causing her to drop into the dangerous realm of Fantasy World. Unarmed, Athena initially employs a kick to despatch enemies but can soon pick up useful items such as weapons, armour and magical sandals to help her in her quest to defeat the ruler of this terrible domain, the evil Emperor Dante. Cute, tough and sweetly engaging, Athena is a true legend of the arcades – take up her quest on Antstream Arcade!
Galactic Warrior Rats – Alternative/Mikev Design, 1992
We scuttle into the Nineties now and this overhead Commodore Amiga game from 1992. Three regular lab rats are mutated into humanoid-like creatures when their space craft crash lands on an alien planet. Stranded inside a metallic complex that’s host to an army of lethal robots, the self-styled Galactic Warrior Rats venture out in the ship’s biosphere, destroying robots and picking up the credits they leave behind. Theis money can then be used to upgrade the biosphere, improving its speed, defence and offensive capabilities. Instantly accessible but boasting plenty of depth, this is a tasty 16-bit game to get your teeth into.
Hades Nebula – Nexus/Mark Greenshields, 1987
The Commodore 64 had its fair share of scrolling shooters and this is another fine example, created by coder Mark Greenshields with the supremely talented Ben Daglish providing its toe-tapping soundtrack. Hades Nebula is a homage to the arcade shooters of the day (such as Tecmo’s Starforce, as featured in the Antstream Arcade Hidden Gems III), the player jumping into a small space fighter, ready to take on the massed forces of the vicious Emperor Hades. Insanely tough in places, this is one shoot-‘em-up designed to test your reflexes and patience – but at least you’ll have that catchy tune for company.
Hyperblast – English Software, 1983
Our next hidden gem is this frantic Atari 8-bit shoot-‘em-up from the early Eighties. Controlling a
massive yet lighting-fast space fighter, there are three powerful laser cannons at the player’s disposal which is just as well considering the multiple phalanxes of nimble insect aliens that await you. Another loving tribute to an arcade game – Galaga, in case you hadn’t guessed – Hyperblast is a superb game and a beautiful and shining hidden gem on Antstream Arcade.
Legend Of The Knucker-Hole – English Software, 1984
We stay with English Software but switch formats to the Commodore 64 with this, the continuing
adventure in the story of Jet-Boot Jack. The platform antics of the first game are repeated as Jack
descends into the Knucker-Hole, desperate to rescue the princess from the bad-tempered dragon that resides at the bottom of the hole. Dozens of smaller monsters block your path; fortunately they can be removed by activating certain switches on each level. Watch out for the those powerful lasers and spikes though! Legend Of The Knucker-Hole is an accessible and entertaining game for the Commodore 64 and another dusty hidden gem given a new lease of life on Antstream Arcade.
El Viento – Telenet, 1991
Before we slip back to the arcades for one last shoot-‘em-up, our penultimate hidden Gem is this smart platform game for the Sega Mega Drive comsole. Created by the legendary Japanese developer Wolf Team, El Viento is a mythical saga starring the eponymous character, a Peruvian princess on a mission to thwart a dark cult’s plans to resurrect their master, the dark prince Hastur. Equipped with a set of deadly spinning boomerangs, help El Viento as she tries to rid the world of the evil sect in this sleek and gothic Mega Drive hidden gem!
Last Mission – Data East, 1986
For our final rough diamond in this latest hidden gem round-up we have the appropriately-positioned Last Mission from Data East. Released into arcades in 1986, this is a terrific multi-directional shooter in the vein of fellow classic, Konami’s Time Pilot. Alien invaders are terrorising your planet and it’s time to take the attack to their home planet. With a huge range of power-ups and enemies to blast, Last Mission is an oft-overlooked shoot-‘em-up that’s well worth discovering on Antstream Arcade.
That concludes our latest Hidden Gems on Antstream Arcade – stay tuned for more lesser-known