• Graeme Mason

The Hidden Gems Of Antstream Arcade – Part Two!

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 little treasure. Having covered some of our hidden gems on a previous episode of this series, we thought it was about time we revealed some more of those lesser-known – but just as awesome – games that may have slipped past you on Antstream Arcade.


Battle Valley

Hewson, 1988

Terrorists have captured a pair of nuclear missiles and are holding the US to ransom. The demand? Release their compatriots from prison immediately or face nuclear destruction! Faced with such an awkward situation, the government decides the only solution is to send in a well-armed tank to locate the terrorists and take them out. Not enough carnage for you? Don’t worry, because also at your disposal is a killer helicopter, armed to the teeth with deadly missiles. Battle Valley is a gloriously violent and fun shoot-‘em-up for the Commodore 64, a wonderful little budget game that would have set you back just £2.99 back in 1988.



Syvalion

Taito, 1988

We stay in 1988, but move into the arcades for our next Antstream Arcade hidden gem. Released in Japan only (a western version was planned but scrapped), Syvalion is a spin-off from the famous Darius series of games with shades of Jaleco’s Saint Dragon. Naturally, there is plenty of shooting action as the player takes control of a golden dragon-shaped spaceship in a series of maze-like caverns. Created by the same mind behind the legendary Bubble Bobble, Syvalion is a unique and addictive shoot-‘em-up that’s well worth giving a spin.


Squirrel King

Gamtec, 1995

The Sega Mega Drive has never been short of comic platform games, but this is one that definitely warrants discovering. Remember that furry pair Chip and Dale? Squirrel King places these diminutive stars up against a horde of monsters that have taken over the city. Using the many crates that litter the urban landscape, they can defeat these meanies and hopefully relieve everybody of the menace that threatens them. Fun, easy to play and entertaining, Squirrel King is a great platformer for fans of the genre and beyond.



Venus The Flytrap

Gremlin, 1990

Here at Antstream Arcade we love Gremlin, and this is one of the Sheffield developer’s finest Commodore Amiga games. Set far into the future, Venus The Flytrap takes place in a world where scientists have successfully eliminated all forms of insect life. Yep, that’s right, no more of those pesky flies, ants and wasps – but who could have guessed that all these forms of life are vital, and hold a place in the food chain? Now hordes of mutated insects are rampaging across this post-apocalyptic world, and only you can save humankind in this overlooked Amiga classic.


River Rescue

Creative Sparks, 1984

In case you hadn’t guessed by now, we have a soft spot for this game at Antstream Arcade. Originating on the Atari 400/800 computers, every version is available to stream, and each is a delight to play. The plot is simple: explorers (or scientists, depending on which version) have been lost in the jungle and the player pilots their sleek boat across the deadly river to rescue them, which is probably where they got the name of the game from. Pick up the stranded explorers from the berths that occasionally appear on the north side of the river before dropping them off at the next southern one, but beware – should your ship hit an obstruction in between, it’s a watery grave for all on board!


Desert Assault / Thunder Zone

Data East, 1991

Chaotic run ‘n’ gunners are plentiful on Antstream Arcade with excellent arcade retro gems such as Ikari Warriors and Rolling Thunder proving popular. One that may have slipped past you is this Data East effort from the early Nineties. Known as Thunder Zone outside of Japan, there’s scrolling level after level of explosive gung ho action in this non-stop thrill ride, which owes more than a passing nod to the then recent real-life conflict, The Gulf War.



Herobotix

Hewson, 1987

Along with the ZX Spectrum, futuristic maze games were popular on the Commodore 64, although this budget game from Hewson (originally released on its Rack-It label back in 1987) most probably glided past you unnoticed. Not to worry – now you can charge around the space station as Herobot, searching for the six missing parts of the deadly Z-ray and lasering enemy bots to your metallic heart’s content!


Diamonds

English Software, 1983


Finally, one for puzzle and action fans with this frantic digging game from English Software. Owing a little (ok, a big) nod to the classic Boulderdash, Diamonds places our mining hero on the hunt for the eponymous valuable stones. In a twist on the famous genre, this miner cannot climb directly upwards if he’s already made a tunnel – if you want to avoid the chasing nasties and get rich in the process, you’ll need to give each deviously plotted screen some serious thought.


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