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Gunblade NY and LA Machineguns Arcade Hit Pack Review



DesertEagle’s Take
: Although arcade shooters such as Time Crisis, Area 51, and Virtua Cop have all left a hazy initial impression, I vividly recall my first reaction to Gunblade NY. Nestled among the light-gun shooters at the local arcade, the cabinet coaxed players with two obscenely gargantuan guns. Powerless to the sidearm siren’s call, I slammed my two tokens into the slot, and launched a steady stream of ballistics into a squad of missile-launching foes. With every shot the enormous weapon offered a gratifying sense of recoil; after ten minutes, my hands were pleasingly numb.

Without the massive machine gun, both Gunblade NY and its sequel are unusual candidates for a console port. Whereas most of Sega’s House of the Dead translations (and in the case of Overkill– interpretation) have usually focused on semi-auto, small arms fire, the Gunblade NY and LA Machine Guns Arcade Hits Pack offers a continuous cascade of firepower. As with the port of Ghost Squad, popping your Wiimote into a piece of white plastic offers a feeble imitation of the gratification found with oversized arcade ordnance.

If players are able to overlook the title’s hardware limitations, they’ll find a proficient arcade port elevated by a few interesting supplements. As was typical of arcade titles in the late 90’s, both Gunblade and Machineguns‘ output was constrained to a standard-definition format. Cleverly, the Arcade Pack offers a widescreen presentation to owners of 16×9 television. To ensure this doesn’t give some players an unfair advantage on the regional and worldwide leaderboards, the borders of the screen are rendered inactive. While these margins offer a broader panoramic view, gamers are prohibiting from firing on both edges.

Beyond a score attack that limits the amount of time players can spend in each stage, players are also ranked at the end of each game. As I ascended from lowly beat cop to police chief, a number of new weapons were unlocked. Each of these supplementary armaments were mapped to the cardinal directions on the direction pad and nunchuck stick, allowing players to choose variations in firing rate, shot size, and stopping power. While neither game is unusually challenging, gamers can bring in additional support via each game’s drop in/drop-out cooperative option.

Players accustomed to contemporary shooters take heed- Gunblade NY and LA Machineguns‘ mechanics are undeniably rooted in a bygone era. Despite that caveat, the disk is the ideal catalyst for an afternoon of cathartic full-auto fun. If two guys can’t bond by blowing the living crap out of persistent parade of robot terrorists, then we need to scuttle our current technologies and start fresh. If that ever happens, let’s make sure that big-ass guns are standard issue for every home light-gun shooter.

Shipwreck’s Take: If there’s one genre in which the Wii has completely dominated over its high definition competitors, it’s light gun shooters. I’m a sucker for mindless on-rail action and SEGA alone has contributed three previous shooting galleries to my Wii collection (Ghost Squad, The House of the Dead 2 & 3 Return, and The House of the Dead: Overkill). Is their newest compilation worthy of being added into the mix?

Gunblade NY: Special Air Assault Force is the older of the two games, hitting arcades in 1995. The bright polygonal graphics instantly transported me back to the early days of 3D and they are lovingly ported in all their blocky lack of detail. As one of two gunners on the titular Gunblade helicopter, you are incomprehensively whipped about violently as if the game is testing your aversion to motion sickness. One second you are soaring high in the air, seconds later you are turned completely around and are inches from the ground. This helicopter’s maneuverability is nothing short of amazing. When you are defending prominent New York locales against an evil android terrorist group, that’s exactly what you need, especially when one of the bosses of those evil androids is Bizarro Optimus Prime. At least I’m assuming that’s who the transforming red and blue eighteen-wheeler is. Optimus himself would never attack New York City. Never.

Gunblade NY is an incredibly simple on-rails shooter that requires no re-loading and has no scoring (other than totaling the number of robots you blew to bits). It’s a lazy man’s shooter. Simply hold down the A button (or the B button, it’s not picky) and put your cursor over the enjoyably juggly enemies. Heck, if that’s too much effort for you, you could tape down the button and just concentrate on aiming. Playing through both the Easy and Hard campaigns only took my wife and I about ten minutes each, but the two modes do feature entirely unique levels. Depending on how well you played, the game does have a somewhat advanced persistence system where you work your way up the police ranks. This also opens up a few variations on weapon types that can be swapped through while your playing. Gunblade NY also features a Score Attack Mode that adds a more traditional scoring and combo system, but strangely can only be played solo.

L.A. Machineguns: Rage of the Machines
continues the battle against the bots but with the more refined graphics and game mechanics that could only be accomplished in 1997. While it doesn’t stray from the “running out of bullets isn’t fun so just keep shooting” formula, there’s a lot more to do. There’s a fully integrated combo and scoring system (Keep hitting stuff to up your score.), more destructible environmental objects (Red barrels now explode!), and shooting friendlies now subtracts from your score (Dude, if you don’t want to get shot, don’t stand next to the robots. I just had this same conversation with your dead friend over there.). This title trades in the so, so archaic helicopter for hovering SkiDoos. Nothing was cooler in 1997 than flying jetskis. Sadly, evil Optimus fails to make an appearance in this game, but you do get to defend a Denny’s on the Vegas strip. Trying to take away my Grand Slam Breakfast is a step too far, evil-android terrorists.

As ports, I think both games are fantastic replications of the arcade machines. There are even some nice additions thrown in like having orders barked through the Wiimote speaker and Wiimotes vibrating as your shots rip through robot flesh. There’s also unlimited continues and three difficulty settings. I should clarify that my saying these are fantastic replications doesn’t mean that I think these are fantastic games. They are very dated and overly simplistic compared to the past Sega light gun releases. If you don’t have the three Sega shooters I mentioned earlier, I’d definitely recommend picking those up prior to this compilation. If you have a soft spot for the two games included in this compilation, though, I think you’ll be happy with their treatment. I’m just glad to see arcade games like this being preserved on the current gen systems.

If you enjoyed Shipwreck‘s opinion of the Gunblade NY and LA Machine Guns Arcade Hits Pack, more of his game reviews can be found on CheapAssGamer.

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.

42 comments

  1. Freakin epic review! I love when you get two people to review a game.

  2. Awesome review, guys. Is this one $20 or $30?

  3. I never played either of these games before, but I like to rent a light gun game once in a while.

    Anyone remember Die Hard for the PS1, that one is sooo underrated.

  4. I said it before and I’ll say it again.

    every review needs at least two people. I’d prefer three if it’s possible. Keep everybodys take short and sweet, and the internet will be happy.

  5. Freaking awesome review. Thanks, Deagle and Ship.

  6. I played this a few times in the arcade. I remember that big gun was the hook. I bet you guys liked Silent Service.

  7. desert probably dreams of big guns and endless ammo.

  8. You say Gunblade, I think Kingdom Hearts. Whats this stuff 😉

  9. Man, the Wii does fugly well. Is that how bad the original games looked?

  10. Shopping Samurai

    I played that one, three games in one. The shooting and driving parts were the best.

  11. $30, but I bet it will drop pretty quick.

  12. Boatcrash and Deagle are the reviews of choice. Great work, guys.

  13. I think you’re actually fighting trans-fats and Denny’s not robot terrorists, now 😉

  14. I’m surprised no one has made the Deagle Chronicles comic. His love for guns and JRPGs is a weird mix, and seems like has unlimited potential for humor.

    Episode 1: Deagle hunts down the thief who takes his Disgaea plushies. (Spolier: It was actually NOLA)

  15. how long does it take to beat each game?

  16. I’ll bet he dreams of big guns, the sicko.

  17. If the games in widescreen how come all the screens are 4×3?

  18. Like Tournament of Legends, this will drop is price fast. I bet it will be $20 before Oct. 1st.

  19. you guys brought the yucks with this review. Grand Slams FTW!

  20. So there’s really Denny’s product placement in the game? That’s both cool and sad.

  21. It’s actually a knock-off Denny’s called Bunny’s?.

  22. Their Moons over my Rabbit sandwich is to die for, trust me.

  23. uh, not thanks. There’s a reason that these games were in arcades- they’re fun for 10-15 minutes tops.

  24. I’m surprised no one has made the Deagle Chronicles comic.
    health tips
    ares free download

  25. Is the game actually ‘on-rails’? I remember in the arcade the helicopter (or whatever you are in) flew a different pattern depending on how fast you killed the guys.

  26. nice review, guys.

  27. Mister Megadrive

    I haven’t played either game in the arcades, if you can believe it. I’m looking forward to giving this a shot.

  28. Deagle, what kinds of guns have you fired in real life? You see that Kotaku story?

  29. You guys should invite Ship on the podcast sometime, I’d like to see what he adds to your podcast.

  30. Honestly I’ll never play this unless it was on PS3 for like $5 or something

  31. He’d add a lot of things…because he loves math!

    HARHARHAR! I AM SO FUNNY HOW DO YOU PEOPLE STAND IT?!

  32. I thought this was a weird choice to bring to the wii – the arcade game wasn’t a true light-gun shooter, it was a joystick shooter like the Terminator game or Revolution X. I’m glad it turned out alright, but I imagine that porting it was more trouble than it was worth.

  33. Whats wrong with math? It’s the old part of school that kept my interest, besides Miss Baily’s cleavage.

  34. Explain the difference to us noobs please. I played a Terminator game with a gun.

  35. Sean you should have hopped on for a threesome.

  36. “Nothing was cooler in 1997 than flying jetskis”

    Both the The Spice Girls and Titanic was. But the girl group on a sinking ship and that would have killed SeaDoos.

  37. duck hunt sound better than this. I bet it hella cheaper too.

  38. Its hard to take, but I endure 😉

  39. Next time you see an arcade game with a big gun mounted to the cabinet, like Gunblade, Operation:WOLF or Terminator, wrap your head around and look at the barrel: there is no lens.
    Light Gun shooters (in the literal sense) use a series of IR beams and/or light flashes to triangulate a point on the screen where the user is aiming, so they have to have a lens or IR sensor in the gun barrel.
    Joystick shooters, on the other hand, have large, gun-shaped joysticks that control reticles on the screen. That’s why you can’t lift the guns off of the cabinet. It’s a tiny difference, but I just thought it was interesting – I wonder if it made it any more difficult to reprogram for the Wii.

  40. I don’t like looking down the barrel of even a fake gun 😉

    Still cool to know.

  41. I cant seem to find this in stores. All the GSs got in one or maybe two copies. Looks like I’ll have to go with Amazon and wait.

  42. That’s pretty interesting… That’s great, I never thought about Gunblade NY and LA Machineguns Arcade Hit Pack Review like that before.