Piko Arcade Collection 1 (Evercade) Review

The latest release for the Evercade retro gaming cartridge systems (both handheld and console) is the tenth numbered cartridge for the Arcade line and features 9 obscure arcade titles whose rights are now owned by Piko Interactive. Lets break down the titles by who originally published the games.

Ultimate Tennis was released in 1994 by Art & Magic and is a solid 16-bit era sports title featuring six fake players and four locals to choose from. The controls are not too picky and volleying the ball is not that challenging so you can get some good back-and-fourth action. Reminds me a lot of a souped up SNES title with the noticable scaling but still a fun little title.

Electronic Devices has two titles on this collection, and both come in as solid releases that most of you would have never seen in an arcade. Steel Force (1994) is a top down shooter that looks and plays very much like the Amiga title Alien Breed but I found it a little repetitive and tough to navigate in handheld mode due to the graphic style. It also is not the most visually pleasing and I am surprised it was an arcade title and not a home computer release.

Diver Boy (1992) is the rare arcade title which focuses on underwater gameplay, pressing the action button will start your character descent allowing you to grab various jewels and goodies. If an enemy is approaching, you can attempt to avoid or tap the action button again to return to the surface. It took a few games to get the mechanics down but once I did, I found myself having a surprising amount of fun with this one. The game features various bosses that invoke R-Type of all things, very unexpected!

Korean developer Unico contributes the last six titles and what a wild variety of titles they are. Dragon Master (1994) is a fighting game very much like a lot of fighter releases from the 90’s looking to secure some of the Street Fighter money. This game features eight basic fighters (including one named Jedi Ryan for no particular reason) and is a quick paced fighter with little real inspiration or new ideas.

Master’s Fury (1996) sees its first ever home release of a fighter that takes the core mechanics of the Dragon Master and refines it into an improved fighter with a larger cast and decent, if floaty, combat. There still remains little visual flair for the character design but it is solid enough for a brief distraction.

Fancy World: Earth of Crisis (1996) is a single screen platformer that sees your character battle a wide variety of animal based enemies and bosses while finding a ton of hidden bonus treasures. This one was a real surprise as I enjoyed playing this one more than I expected, it controls great and is weird fun. I understand this is a clone of a different arcade game of the era, equally obscure to me, but it is a great title for some quick gaming action on the go.

Magic Purple (1996) is very similar to Fancy World but I found this one a little looser control wise and more frustrating with the enemy speed and how the often start the stage with an enemy right next to your character attacking almost immediately. It just seems sloppier in its design.

The Legend of Silkroad is your Golden Axe style game featuring early pre-rendered characters and enemies as well as fighter style special moves. While it may not be original it does bring some new ideas to a genre that by 1999 was on its way out of the arcades, its biggest downside is the strikingly short levels while sometimes only feature a handul of enemies before moving to the next scene.

The final game for this release is Burgler X (1997) is the most strikingly odd game on the cartridge. It is a maze style game featuring pre-rendered CGI graphics with giant headed enemies and a main character who can either head butt his enemies or if he is being chased can release a deadly fart that will temporarily stun the pursuers allowing an escape.

Overall this is another release into the strong Evercade library bringing more obscure and hard to find titles to a wider audience complete in physical form with case and full color instruction manual. I can honestly say that I do not remember seeing a single one of these in an arcade back in the 90’s or even when I visit modern super arcades like Funspot in New Hampshire, these are truly obscure pieces of video game history finally available to gamers in a legal physical format.

Piko Arcade Collection 1 (Arcade cart #10) 
Evercade – $19.99 – Website 

About Author