Saturday, 16 July 2016

Sega Park Harlow - A Retrospective


Sega Park Harlow opened in 1997 in units 70-74 of the Harvey Centre and it closed in 2003 along with a lot of other Sega arcades across the world

Whilst it was open, me and a ton of people used to spend most of our saturday there, with me mostly on fighting games or shooters and would love a challenge

It would be my go to place for my last couple of years of secondary school and first couple of years of college

Join me as I take a look at some of the games that were in this arcade

Plasma Sword

The sequel to Star Gladiator, a great 3d fighting game, most of you would know the character of Hayato from Marvel vs Capcom 2 who came from this

It had some uniquely designed characters compared to the other fighters of the time, including a bird knight, white tiger, girl with a hula hoop and a guy who fought with giant yo-yo's!

Star Wars Racer Arcade

Based on that part in the Phantom Menace with the Podraces, this game had you sit in a replica of Anakins Pod and had a unique control scheme. You had two throttles and if you had both in the backwards position you would brake, both forward would be go forward and pull backwards on either side whilst going forward with the other would move you left and right

An earlier game was released on the N64 and another game came out on the Playstation 2

The unique control scheme could be used on the N64 if you had two controllers, one plugged into player ones and another in player threes, and for player two one in port 2 and one in port 4

There was another unit but it didnt have the replica Pod which was most of the fun, especially the vibration and sound coming from the in built speakers

Virtua Fighter 3

Virtua Fighter was a different beast compared to other fighting games, the characters felt they had more weight to them compared to Tekken and Dead or Alive

The third title was the first game in the series to use the new "model 3" boards which were more powerful and certainly incredibly pretty

With the new power of the board also came varied stages, before you just had flat arenas, now you had fights on stairs and on slopes!

Bust-A-Move 4

In the original Bust-A-Move games or Puzzle Bobble you would play as the Dragons/Boys from Bubble Bobble and Rainbow Islands

You launch your balls into the air and if your ball hits 2 or more of the same colour the balls drop, if there are different colours attached below but not attached to anything then they will drop too

BAM4 introduced more characters to choose from and a story mode to play through

Silent Scope

Silent Scope was another arcade shooter, where you were using a sniper rifle instead of a normal gun to shoot things

What made this unique though was the second screen, which was inside the scope of the gun, the scope showed the zoomed part of the screen you were aiming at

The game came out on the Playstation 2 and Dreamcast but could never emulate the experience found in the arcade



With those words from the Offspring, the driving experience starts rushing around passengers to the places they wanted to get to including real life locations like KFC, Pizza Hut and the Levi's store which added some realism to an otherwise CRAZY game

When it was re-released on Xbox Live arcade a lot of the licenses had run out so the original soundtrack wasnt in the game and the locations were changed to generic names

Cyber Troopers - Virtual On

Virtual On was a game about giant mech coming together in arenas and fighting each other. It had two joysticks to control your mech, like Star Wars Race Arcade the sticks could be both pushed forward to go forward, both left or right to strafe, opposite directions to turn around etc but if you pulled the sticks apart you would rocket into the sky with your jet pack giving you a great view of the arena and opposite direction makes it duck

The sticks also gave you 2 attack buttons, one for your left attack, one for right and pushing both did a central attack like a homing rocket. The two buttons on top allowed you to dash

When the game came out on home consoles (The Sega Saturn and Dreamcast) the controls were reworked and a separate twin stick accessory came out that allowed you to play like in the arcade but was only useful for this game and a couple of others

The game also came out on XBox live arcade, where the twin sticks of the 360 controller allowed you to play the game as originally intended

L.A. Machinegun

An on rails shooter like House of the Dead or Time Crisis but you had infinite bullets and didn't have to reload!

And you didn't have a puny handgun either, you had a two handed Machine gun which you had to hold onto firmly as the entire thing vibrated your arm when firing. Sega Park had the right option in the above photo which had a platform you would step onto which also shook

Due to the nature of the game your credits were short lived unless you were awesome at the game but at least you had a shit ton of fun with it!

Marvel Super Heroes
Street Fighter

MSH vs SF was the second in the crossover Capcom series and with this I think they had a superb mixture of characters over the X-Men vs Street Fighter game released a year earlier

The series gained even more popularity when the Marvel vs Capcom games were released, with the 2nd MvsC game having an insane 56 selectable characters which hasn't been topped since and the 3rd changed the normal 2d sprites to 3d polygons

My go to team in MSHvsSF was Cyclops and Akuma

Motor Raid

People who know me would expect a fighting game at the top of this list but this game stayed with me due to just how awesome it was

At the time I was getting into Animé with stuff like Venus Wars and Akira, and if you know those movies they both feature futuristic bikes with someone holding a weapon at some point and firing it at people

There were several different bikes to choose from and you would start with a standard weapon which you could use, or if you held down the button you would hold the weapon in the air waving it aroud like a madman and eventually would lock onto the next opponent if you were in range, throw it at them and it would knock them aside AND give you a new weapon, which is a pretty cool concept and I've only really seen it in stuff like Road Rash where you could steal your rivals club or chain

What made this even more fun was the boost ability where you would pull on the throttle twice to speed up, even boosting a little at a time or waiting and doing a full boost when the meter was charged. If you did this with a full meter you would spin your weapon around in front of you creating a whirlwind of destruction

The Boost didn't half knacker your wrists though!

So what's YOUR favourite arcade game?

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