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Author Topic: Arcade 1up - Centipede Partycade 4-1 and 8-1 (DEFINITIVE REVIEW)  (Read 593 times)

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negative1

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Arcade 1up - Centipede Partycade 4-1 and 8-1 (DEFINITIVE REVIEW)
« on: November 29, 2020, 02:19:16 am »
ok people, sit back and relax.

here's the review for new centipede 8-1 partycade. (HSN)
we will also be comparing it the centipede 4-1 partycade (QVC)

there are a few reviews on youtube so far, but not for 8-1 yet.

centipede is a title that is popular from the gen1 standup
cabinets, and there was also a countercade of it.

these contained popular atari games, and the earlier version
was a 4-1.

background on partycades
====================================
these are also called wallcades originally.

gen1
----
pac-man 3-1 partycade (with galaga)
pac-man 4-1 partycade

gen2
----
centipede 4-1

gen3
----
pac-man 8-1
pac-man 8-1 (black)

asteroids 8-1
centipede 8-1
ms pac man 8-1

gen 1 and 2 started out at $199,and even now, the gen3 are $199,
but normally sell for $219 or $249. (some list $299, but i haven't seen that yet).

 
i'm not going to bother going over the pro's and con's or the
basic information about the games, sounds, lists, etc. as they are sometimes
personal opinions, or have already been gone over many times already.


i will compare the QVC centipede 4-1 to HSN centipede 8-1

common games on both:
====================================
centipede
milliped
missile command
liberator

exclusive to 8-1:
=====================================
super breakout [original plays with spinner]
avalanche [original plays with spinner]
crystal castles
akka arrh (prototype)


these are my opinions.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------


the long review follows:

 

i am going to go into gameplay details,
response times, and control mechanics for the games i know.

================================================================================
background -
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
i have been playing videogames from the days of pong, breakout and space invaders
i stopped playing them in the late 90's, and 00's when deluxe units were the norm.

i do know most of the atari, williams, namco, and capcom library inside and out.

i am NOT an expert at every game, but have played all of them either extensively
in the arcade when they originally came out, at home in MAME, and in pretty much
every port on PC, console, and remake that has come out.

 

hardware control experience
----------------------------
i have used arcade controls, buttons, trackballs and spinners since they came out.

i have home versions of those controls, and actually don't use dpads or analog stick
on any console unless i'm forced to.

my preference is always dedicated controls for arcade games


arcade gaming habits
-----------------------
i play arcade games, or ports pretty much every day, through the 80's, i stopped
in the 90's, and then picked up mame, and played it every day for a few years.
stopped again, until the 2nd year of the xbox 360. got gameroom, and pretty much
every arcade game, and port on those systems. i have continued this when ports
started showing up on the xbox one. i have played them on the playstation also,
but only the original and PS2, and now the PSP 2000.

lately, over the last couple of years, i have been playing arcade ports and games
everyday for a least a few hours. i usually place in the top 1-10 place on games
that i'm an expert in, and below that on other games.

as far as centipede goes, i used to be a slightly good player, getting to
around 200k maximum, and about the same or 300k in millipede. i played centipede
and millipede a lot on emulators and the xbox 360 and xbox one.

I was never any good in missile command, and even now, once i get to the light screen
boards (the 4x ones), its pretty much game over. I never played liberator
in the arcade, but only on emulators.

super breakout was a favorite of mine in the arcades, but i was pretty average
at it. never played avalanche, and don't remember it. i love crystal castles,
and have finished it a few times, but i'm not an expert. akka arrh is a prototype
game that only just came out in mame, and so far i have the high score on the
MAME replay site, so i'm not an expert, but i know it very well out of most
people, as it was never released in the arcades.
-------------------------

 a few years ago, i hit 1 million in centipede and millipede. i also got to
10 million in millipede. nowadays, i've been playing centipede a lot, and have
hit 1 million several time, and am number 1 on all the 6 leaderboards on the xbox 360.
i have hit 1 million on the centipede countercade, and both partycades,
so i'm an expert now.

======================================

 now with that out of the way, lets get to the actual partycades

 

time spent playing
==========================================================================
i have spent a few hours playing centipede, since i'm more familiar with that
game, and probably an hour or two playing millipede.

i've played missile command a few times, and same with liberator.
the rest - akka arrh, avalanche, super breakout and crystal castles, i've
played enough to get a feel for those games also


differences between the 4-1 and 8-1
===================================
there are very few differences between the two versions
1) number of games of course, only 4 for the QVC version, and 4 more for HSN

2) the QVC version has 3 red action buttons, the HSN only has 1 red action button,
and 2 white ones

3) The QVC version has no sideart panels, while the HSN one has sideart

 

centipede partycade
==========================================================================
condition - after the numerous complaints about the first series of machines
that came out, arcade 1up has made a few fixes that have trickled down to
these partycades.

these machines are pre-assembled, all you have to do is plug them in.
the control panel does come with a clear acrylic protector over it,
so the artwork won't wear out. its held in with 2 screws, 1 on each side.

the trackball and buttons (clicky) are again a slight improvement over
the previous generation stock ones. they're not arcade quality, but almost do the
job for now. they matched the arcade ones with using white for the player
credit buttons, the player starts, the variable volume and on off switches.

 
durability - the unit is constructed fairly well, it has significant weight
for its size. it doesn't wobble, and doesn't move unless you jostle it with
a lot of strength when playing. if you put it on carpet, or a non-slip
surface on a table, you should be fine. perhaps not on a floor, or just
plain wood though, as it would possibly slide.

 

the control panel is solid, and supports both hands easily, with no flexing
or bending. the side panels are thick and supportive. the marquee is also
solid. the top panel, and back, are thinner, and allow for easy removal.

the screws holding all the panels fit well, and are tight, so there is no
movement.

 
NOTE : I DID NOT try out the wall mounts, or door mounts, but did try
out the 'sleds' for tabletop use, which were fine.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
ergonomics - the control panel are placed at a flat angle.

there is plenty of space, compared to the countercade, and these are just
slimmer versions of the 3/4 standup ones, with similar placement of the
controls and buttons.


visuals - the artwork is printed in decent quality, scaled and cropped to
fit, and same with everything else on the control panel.
it looks well done, and mine didn't have any scratches or marks on it.

centipede is mostly white, with green trim, and other graphical elements.
 

screen - the screen is a 17 inch LCD screen that is of good quality.
good on the viewing angles, but with the distance that you will be
sitting to play this, it is actually decent in size, and clarity.
the colors are a little oversaturated than expected.

there is no pixelation or blur applied to these games.

gameplay - centipede
======================================================================================
Centipede is a 1980 fixed shooter arcade game developed and published by Atari, Inc. It was designed by

Dona Bailey and Ed Logg. It was one of the most commercially successful games from the golden age of

arcade video games. The player fights off centipedes, spiders, scorpions and fleas, completing a round

after eliminating the centipede that winds down the playing field. An arcade sequel, Millipede,

followed in 1982.

In the original arcade version: The player's fighter is represented by a small insect-like head at the

bottom of the screen called the Bug Blaster. The player moves it around the bottom area of the screen

with a trackball and fires small darts at a segmented centipede advancing from the top of the screen

down through a field of mushrooms. Each segment of the centipede becomes a mushroom when shot; shooting

one of the middle segments splits the centipede into two pieces at that point. Each piece then

continues independently on its way down the screen, with the rear piece sprouting its own head. If the

centipede head is destroyed, the segment behind it becomes the next head. Shooting the head is worth

100 points while the other segments are 10. The centipede starts at the top of the screen, traveling

either left or right. When it touches a mushroom or reaches the edge of the screen, it descends one

level and reverses direction. The player can destroy mushrooms by shooting them, but each takes four

shots to destroy. At higher levels, the screen can become increasingly crowded with mushrooms due to

player/enemy actions, causing the centipede to descend more rapidly.


Arcade machine
Once the centipede reaches the bottom of the screen, it moves back and forth within the player area and

one-segment "head" centipedes will periodically appear from the side. This continues until the player

has eliminated both the original centipede and all heads. When all the centipede's segments are

destroyed, another one enters from the top of the screen. The initial centipede is 10 or 12 segments

long, including the head; each successive centipede is one segment shorter and accompanied by one

detached, faster-mo

it's basically a top down endless shooter. notable for using a trackball
to move the shooter, allowing precision placement, instead of a joystick.


i played several games and noted the following:
-----------------------------------------------
1) standard latest centipede revision 4 ROM

2) default settings
  - 3 men start, extras every 12k, maximum 6 extra men

3) difficulty
 - there are no difficulty settings, just a default, same as the arcade

4) highscores are saved when machine is unplugged
5) new loading font, new arcade 1up menu screens and sounds when selecting game

 

i played several games. at first with the stock trackball, i could not
get over 200k. but i replaced the trackball with glens retro trackball,
i was able to hit 1 million consistently.

i hit 1 million on the countercade,the 4-1, and also the 8-1 after
replacing the trackball on each one.


as far as emulation goes, i did not detect any noticeable lag in the
gameplay. the sound was mostly accurate, and at a decent level.
there is some odd pixel scaling.

the game correctly emulates the 996k point, extra man bug,
where you get an extra man for everything you kill.
check my youtube channel showing this happening in gameplay.
 

gameplay - millipede
-----------------------------------------------
Millipede (stylized millipede in western releases and Milli-Pede in Japan) is fixed shooter video game

released in arcades by Atari, Inc. in 1982. It is the sequel to the arcade game Centipede with more

gameplay variety and a wider array of insects than the original. The objective is to score as many

points as possible by destroying all segments of the millipede as it moves toward the bottom of the

screen, as well as eliminating or avoiding other enemies. The game is played with a trackball and a

single fire button which can be held down for rapid-fire.

The player no longer takes the role of the "Bug Blaster" from Centipede, but instead takes the role of

an elf called the "Archer". The object of the game is to destroy a millipede that advances downward

from the top of the screen. The millipede travels horizontally until it either hits an obstacle or

reaches the edge of the screen, after which it drops one row and reverses direction. Once it enters the

player's gray maneuvering area, it stays there and extra heads appear at intervals until both they and

the millipede are destroyed. Shooting a body segment splits the millipede in two, with the rear portion

sprouting its own head. A collision with any enemy costs the player one life.

Differences from Centipede
-----------------------------
According to the game's arcade flyer and instruction manual, the game involves a storyline involving

the supposed player character, the "Archer", to defend his mushroom forest from the onslaught of

gigantic insect monsters using his "magic arrows".

The millipede moves faster and its head segment is more difficult to hit.

Earwigs replace scorpions from Centipede, making mushrooms poisonous so that the millipede will charge

straight to the bottom of the screen after touching them.

Bees replace fleas from Centipede, leaving mushrooms in a vertical line and requiring two shots to

destroy.

Spiders behave the same way as in Centipede, moving in zig-zag pattern across the player area and

eating mushrooms. Multiple spiders can appear at the same time on higher levels.

Inchworms move horizontally across the screen and slow all enemies for a short period of time when hit.

Ladybugs crawl around the player area for a while, then climb up and leave the screen, turning any

mushrooms they touch into indestructible flowers. When hit, all mushrooms on the screen scroll down one

row.

Dragonflies drop mushrooms while zig-zagging down.

Mosquitoes bounce off the sides of the screen as they descend diagonally. When hit, all mushrooms on

the screen scroll up one row.

DDT bombs are triggered when shot, destroying all enemies and mushrooms within the resulting cloud.

Whenever the mushrooms scroll down, a new bomb is added at the top of the screen, with up to four bombs

in play at one time. Points are scored for shooting the bomb itself, and enemies destroyed in the blast

are worth three times the normal points.

All flowers and poisoned or partially destroyed mushrooms revert to normal, whole mushrooms and score

points during the process when the player loses a life.

At regular intervals, the player enters a bonus level with a swarm of enemies (bees, dragonflies, etc.)

instead of the usual millipede. Each enemy awards increasing points, up to a maximum of 1,000 points

per enemy. The attack ends when either the entire swarm has passed or the player loses a life. Also, at

intervals new mushrooms will grow on the field while others disappear, in a pattern similar to Conway's

Game of Life.

Players can whether to play at an advanced level, starting with a score that is a multiple of the

number of points needed to earn an extra life (by default, 15,000). The gameplay is generally much more

advanced than it would be had the player started with a score of 0 and worked their way up to that

point level. The maximum advanced level allowed is a function of the preceding player's score, and

games started at an advanced level where the player did not earn at least one extra life are not

eligible for the high scoreboard.

i played several games and noted the following:
-----------------------------------------------
1) standard latest millipede

2) default settings
  - 3 men start, extras every 15k, maximum 6 extra men

3) difficulty
 - there are no difficulty settings, just a default, same as the arcade

4) highscores are saved when machine is unplugged
5) new loading font, new arcade 1up menu screens and sounds when selecting game

 

i played several games. at first with the stock trackball, i could not
get over 100k. but i replaced the trackball with glens retro trackball,
i was able to hit 200-300k

i hit 300k on the the 4-1, and also the 8-1 after
replacing the trackball on each one.


as far as emulation goes, i did not detect any noticeable lag in the
gameplay. the sound was mostly accurate, and at a decent level.
there is some odd pixel scaling.


gameplay - missile command
-----------------------------------------------
The game is played by moving a crosshair across the sky background via a trackball and pressing one of

three buttons to launch a counter-missile from the appropriate battery. Counter-missiles explode upon

reaching the crosshair, leaving a fireball that persists for several seconds and destroys any enemy

missiles that enter it. There are three batteries, each with ten missiles; a missile battery becomes

useless when all its missiles are fired, or if the battery is destroyed by enemy fire. The missiles of

the central battery fly to their targets at much greater speed; only these missiles can effectively

kill a smart bomb at a distance.

The game is staged as a series of levels of increasing difficulty; each level contains a set number of

incoming enemy weapons. The weapons attack the six cities, as well as the missile batteries; being

struck by an enemy weapon results in the destruction of the city or missile battery. Enemy weapons are

only able to destroy three cities during one level. A level ends when all enemy weaponry is destroyed

or reaches its target. A player who runs out of missiles no longer has control over the remainder of

the level. At the conclusion of a level, the player receives bonus points for any remaining cities (50

points times scoring level, 1 to 6, first 254 levels; 256, levels 255 & 256) or unused missiles (5

points times scoring level, 1 to 6, first 254 levels; 256, levels 255 & 256). Between levels missile

batteries are rebuilt and replenished; destroyed cities are rebuilt only at set point levels (usually

per 8,000 to 12,000 points).

The game inevitably ends when all six cities are destroyed, unless the player manages to score enough

points to earn a bonus city before the end of the level. Like most early arcade games, there is no way

to "win" the game; the game keeps going with ever-faster and more prolific incoming missiles. The game,

then, is just a contest in seeing how long the player can survive. On conclusion of the game, the

screen displays "The End", however, if the player makes the high score list and the game prompts the

player to enter his/her initials.

i played several games and noted the following:
-----------------------------------------------
1) standard latest missile command ROM

2) default settings
  - 6 city start, extras every 10k

3) difficulty
 - there are no difficulty settings, just a default, same as the arcade

4) highscores are saved when machine is unplugged


gameplay - liberator
-----------------------------------------------
The Liberator controls consist of a trackball, fire button, and shield button. The player controls a

coordinated attack from four star ships at the corners of the screen. The primary target of the attack

are enemy bases on a rotating planet in the center of the screen. The trackball is used to move a

cross-shaped cursor. The fire button fires a missile at the cursor's location from the closest ship.

The shield button is used to activate force fields around the ships. The shield can only take four hits

each round, and the count is shared between all ships.

At the beginning of each level, the player is flying through outer space and spaceships fly on screen

from the left and right and leave in an arc. They try to ram into the player's ships. Shields do not

work during this stage.

After this stage, the player is taken to a view of a rotating planet. The most prominent enemies are

red flashing missile bases. They shoot missiles, fireballs, and star balls at the player's ships. The

enemy bases can also detach from the planet, turn into satellites, and orbit the planet while shooting

missiles. Once all missile bases are destroyed, the player moves on to the next level. At higher

levels, there is the white master base. It is very intelligent, and it can change the direction or

speed of the planet rotation to avoid getting hit. At the end of each stage, the player is awarded a

bonus ship for every 20,000 points.

Missiles can be destroyed, although some split into four smaller particles when destroyed. Fireballs

take four hits to destroy, but they slow down on each hit. Star balls also take four hits to destroy,

but return to normal speed soon after being hit.

Flying saucers sometimes appear from the planet. Flying saucers shoot a large, deadly laser which

cannot be stopped.

A level select menu allows the player to start at any third level (1, 4, 7... up to 22).


i played several games and noted the following:
-----------------------------------------------
1) standard latest liberator ROM

2) default settings

3) difficulty
 - there are no difficulty settings, just a default, same as the arcade

4) highscores are saved when machine is unplugged


[exclusive to 8-1]

gameplay - crystal castles
-----------------------------------------------
Crystal Castles has nine levels with four castles each, and a tenth level which features a single

castle — the clearing of which ends the game. Each of the 37 trimetric-projected castles consists of a

maze of hallways filled with gems and bonus objects and also includes stairs, elevators and tunnels

that the player can use as shortcuts. The three-letter initials of the player with the highest score

are used to form the first level's castle structure. When all gems in a castle have been collected, a

tune of the Nutcracker Suite is played, and the player moves on to the next castle. The player can also

skip some castles and acquire additional lives and points by using secret warps activated by making

Bentley Bear jump at special locations.

A trackball and jump button are used for controlling Bentley Bear's motions. Gems are collected by

walking over them, and a bonus is given upon collection of the last gem. While collecting gems, there

are a number of enemies that try to stop Bentley and/or collect the gems for themselves. Any gems

collected by the enemies also result in a lower obtainable score for that screen. Likewise, if the last

available gem is collected by the enemy, the player also loses the last gem bonus.

i played several games and noted the following:
-----------------------------------------------
1) standard latest crystal castles ROM

2) default settings

3) difficulty
 - there are no difficulty settings, just a default, same as the arcade

4) highscores are saved when machine is unplugged



---------- END PART 1------------

later
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negative1

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Re: Arcade 1up - Centipede Partycade 4-1 and 8-1 (DEFINITIVE REVIEW)
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2020, 02:19:45 am »
------------REVIEW PART 2 - CONCLUSION ----------------------

gameplay - akka arrh (prototype)
-----------------------------------------------
Akka Arrh is an unreleased prototype arcade game made by Atari's Mike Hally and Dave Ralston. The name

Akka Arrh is a play on words for Also Known As Another Ralston Hally production. The arcade game was

shown in 1982 to a small test market. However, the test-market was unsuccessful as those that played

Akka Arrh considered the game to be too difficult. This caused Atari to cancel Akka Arrh in support of

other Atari arcade games at the time.

Story/Gameplay
For one thousand years, the galaxy lived in peace thanks to the Atarian Federation. However, that peace

would come to a halt when the evil Jorzon and his forces attacked, leaving the galaxy in despair. A

turret called the Sentinel must use an ancient star cannon called Akka Arrh which must be used to

defeat Jorzon and restore peace to the galaxy.

In Akka Arrh, the player controls the Sentinel which is fixed in the center of the screen surrounded by

a black octagonal field. The game uses a trackball to target enemies, similar to Missile Command. The

player has to shoot all of the enemies outside of the octagonal field. If one or more of the enemies

enter the octagonal field, the player can be able to zoom in the screen to shoot the enemies in the

octagonal field and zoom back out to shoot at advancing enemies.

i played several games and noted the following:
-----------------------------------------------
1) standard akka arrh ROM

2) default settings

3) difficulty
 - there are no difficulty settings, just a default, same as the arcade

4) highscores are saved when machine is unplugged

i love this game, it has very unusual gameplay, and the visuals are very unique.
not many people will ever play this game, and most people will have never heard of it.

so i'm glad that arcade 1up was able to get the rights and include this game on here.
maybe some people will enjoy its gameplay, and learn to like it.

i'm still learning how to play it, and look forward to spending a lot of time
with it.


==========================================================================

gameplay - super breakout [progressive]

NOTE : ORIGINAL GAME USED A SPINNER FOR MOVEMENT
-----------------------------------------------
Super Breakout was released in arcades in September 1978 as the sequel to Atari, Inc.'s Breakout from

1976.It was written by Ed Rotberg, who later designed Battlezone for Atari.The game uses the same

mechanics as Breakout, but allows the selection of three distinct game modes via a knob on the

cabinet–two of which include multiple, simultaneous balls in play. Both the original and sequel are in

black and white with monitor overlays to add color.

Super Breakout contains three different game modes:

NOTE : ONLY PROGRESSIVE IS AN OPTION TO PLAY
===================================================
Double gives the player control of two paddles at the same time—one placed above the other—with two

balls in-play simultaneously.

Cavity also has two paddles, but initially only one ball. Two others are contained in pockets inside

the wall and can be freed.

Progressive advances the entire wall downward step by step, gaining in speed the longer the ball is in

play.


NOTE : gameplay is fine using a trackball
===================================================================
and arcade 1up has fixed the movement to use full precise
left and right control instead of steps (asteroids partycade had this problem)


gameplay - avalanche

NOTE : ORIGINAL GAME USED A SPINNER FOR MOVEMENT
-----------------------------------------------
Avalanche is an arcade game designed by Dennis Koble and released by Atari Inc. in 1978. The object is

to catch falling rocks with a controllable set of paddles that diminish in number and size as the rocks

fall faster and faster. The concept gained a much wider audience after Activision released an

unauthorized adaptation in 1981 as Kaboom! for the Atari 2600.

Avalanche is for 1 or 2 players, alternating turns. There are six rows of rocks at the top of the

screen. The game starts with a six-storied platform and the player loses one platform per row of rocks

cleared. The player scores points for those rocks they prevent from reaching the ground. The farther

the row of rocks, the smaller and faster they become. The ultimate goal is to get enough points so that

the player can continue the game should they lose their first one.


NOTE : gameplay is fine using a trackball
===================================================================
and arcade 1up has fixed the movement to use full precise
left and right control instead of steps (asteroids partycade had this problem)
=======================================================================================


tldr version:
==============================
controls are not arcade accurate - but almost do the job for average players,
they are subpar for intermediate and expert players

games play near arcade accuracy - framerate, and response is decent

graphics - blocky and pixelly of course
 
sound - decent, loud enough but not overdone

screen angles are shallow - but are pretty vibrant enough in most cases
                          - color is ok, but over saturated
===================================================================================


Final thoughts
----------------
A valiant, and in the end ok experience, if you're going for nostalgia,
and love centipede, millipede or missle command. just realize you will
never be able to master the games or get good with the basic stock
trackball included which is very poor.
 

overall, i would give 1up countercade a grade of D for effort.
B plus for quality and longevity, B plus for emulation, C for graphics.

So an average of C plus overall grading, or 2.5/5 stars for the price.
---------

Take into account the games you like, how much you will play them,
and how rough these things will be handled.

If you don't play often, these things will last and look good.

If you do play often, they WILL wear out, the buttons,
the controls, etc, eventually.

Modding the buttons and trackball, is essential if you want to improve your game,
you will have to decide how much you want to upgrade.
---------
I have upgraded these

 - trackball replaced with Glens Retro trackball which is arcade quality

at some point

- volcano start buttons
- improved firing and action buttons
---

 

The price was not a factor to me,  and is at the midprice for units.
its a great value considering how many games you get

every other prebuilt or configured one is several hundred dollars more, and usually unlicensed.

there really isn't any competition except the smaller counter and bartops
which are for a different group of people.

these take up less space than a full cabinet, but are much more versatile,
since you can put them on tables, walls and doors.

 

i don't recommend these partycades to anyone looking for accurate gameplay,
arcade quality controls, or bargains. they are mostly for collectors,
and fans of the game. other options will suit your needs much better than these.

but like the stand up units, are excellent bases to begin
making mods on, to make them much more useful and enjoyable.
this form factor gives you full size controls and screens
with a compromise on space, making them much more versatile.
 
later
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KenToad

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Re: Arcade 1up - Centipede Partycade 4-1 and 8-1 (DEFINITIVE REVIEW)
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2020, 11:52:19 am »
Thanks for the review!

I have never been particularly good at any of these games, so it's nice to hear opinions from someone who can play them well. I'm still on MAME .201, but I hope to try Akka Arrh at some point.