Better Than the Arcade – Game Sack

(“Game Sack Theme”) – Hello and welcome to Game Sack.

In the last episode, I briefly talked about how Atomic Runner on the Genesis is way better than the arcade in pretty much every way, and I figured it’d be cool to take a look at more examples like this. And you’d think that the arcade would always have the best version, but that is definitely not the case. Anyway, let’s take a look at more examples where the console version comes out ahead. (cash register ringing) (Soul Calibur music) Soul Calibur from Namco came out in the arcades in 1998. This was the sequel to the original game, called Soul Edge, and it changed the naming of the series from here on out.

And this game ran on the Namco System 12 board, which is basically a beefed-up PlayStation. Anyway, it’s a really cool 3-D weapons-based fighter with ring-outs. You select one out of 10 different characters to play as. The fighting itself is mostly self-explanatory. You just try to win two out of three matches while running around a fairly small area with an eight-way run feature that was unique at the time. Be careful of the edges because if you fall off, you lose the match.

The action is fast and fun, and it’s always very tempting to continue when you lose. The graphics are really good, though the characters themselves aren’t much more than PlayStation quality. The music is amazing and it really complements the fast-paced action. – Battle one, fight! (sweet music and sound effects) – In 1999, Namco released Soul Calibur as one of the North American launch games for the Sega Dreamcast. And it’s safe to say that this one is quite a step above the arcade original. You have the same 10 characters to choose from at the beginning, and you can unlock even more as you play. After it’s all said and done, you’ll have 20 different characters to choose from. And in addition to that, the character models themselves look significantly better with higher-resolution textures applied to the sharper polygons and more of them.

Every character was recreated from scratch for the Dreamcast version, and Namco did an extraordinary job here, especially when you consider they only had seven months to make this game. There’s also much more in the way of light-source shading applied to the characters during the battles. And there’s now actual water outside some of the fighting platforms instead of just a boring solid color. Okay, well, it’s not actual water; it’s graphics of water. You know what I mean! And the frame rate is locked at 60 frames per second, though the arcade version ran at close to that most of the time.

An opening intro was added, which uses the 3-D character models from the game instead of the FMV seen in the later games. And of course, the Dreamcast version added the Mission Battle, which gives you much more to do in the single-player mode. The music is the same, and that means it’s still awesome, even if the sound quality from the fake instruments can be a little shrill at times. The bottom line is that this one really blew away the arcade version, which itself was barely even a year old when this came out. – Battle one, fight! (sweet music and sound effects) Out of the ring! – Soul Calibur was also released on the Xbox 360 digitally and is playable on the Xbox One, which I’m using here.

This is basically the Dreamcast version, but it’s a lot sharper and everything’s already unlocked. The polygons seem to be rendered in 4K, but of course the textures and the bitmapped graphics are all still Dreamcast resolution. Sadly though, they didn’t bother to add a widescreen mode. Also, they removed the Mission Battle for some reason, probably to keep the file size down. Microsoft was pretty big on low file sizes for digital games on their store back then. So, can you tell the difference between these three versions as you watch this episode on your phone at the lowest resolution possible? (game sound effects) (awesome music and sound effects) – Out of the ring! (basic game music) – Punch-Out!! from Nintendo is a boxing game which was originally released in late-1983 in Japanese arcades and 1984 everywhere else. Dave talked about this one briefly a billion years ago, but I’ve never given my opinion on these games. Anyway, this is quite an advanced game for its time.

Back then, Nintendo really was cutting-edge. For one, the game uses two monitors stacked vertically. This was because Nintendo had a huge amount of arcade monitors laying around and they wanted them used. The top monitor mainly just shows your stats of the fight, while the bottom monitor is where the action takes place. Next, there’s some good hardware scaling of your opponents as they move back and forth in the ring. There’s also a lotta voice effects that call out each and every move.

– Left, body blow, body blow. Knock him out! Body blow, body blow, body blow. – And this is the first game that popular Nintendo composer Koji Kondo ever worked on. (game music) – Fight. Right. – As for the game itself, well, you play as the green wireframe dude. And you’re a wireframe so that you can see the opponent through yourself to look for the tells to his attacks and his weaknesses. It’s kind of messy-looking, but it works. I’m not really into boxing, so I don’t know how closely this games follows the rules, but there doesn’t seem to be any breaks for rounds, unless I’m just dying too quickly. It seems the first fighter to knock down the other three times or get a KO wins. The control feels stiff and honestly kind of slow. I’ve never been good at boxing games, and I’m certainly no champion at this one, but I’ve got to admit it’s still kinda fun to play. – Body blow. Body blow. He’s down for the count! One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten! Knockout! (audience cheering) (game music) Great fighting! You’re an up-and-coming boxer! – Also in 1984, Nintendo released Super Punch-Out!! to the arcades.

This one introduced new opponents and supposedly you could also duck. I’m not here to talk about this one, but I thought it’d be fun to at least briefly mention. – Left, left. Left. Left. Right. (bell ringing) – It wouldn’t be until 1987 that Nintendo would port the game home to the NES as Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! Due to the hardware limitations, a lot of things had to be changed. Firstly, the game was confined to a single monitor. I mean, duh. Next, your character had to be shrunk way down, since the NES can’t put a ton of sprites onscreen at once. So, they made your character, now known as Little Mac, live in the area towards the bottom of the screen. Your opponents are huge compared to yourself, which really gives you the feeling that you’re the underdog and it makes it especially triumphant when you get some good hits in or win a match. And in my opinion, it also makes the fights themselves a lot more exciting. You lunge so far forward just to make contact, which makes it feel like your button-presses really matter.

The arcade version didn’t show you reaching much as you were hitting your opponents, so it was far less satisfying and felt less eventful. You really feel when you make contact in the NES version. Some of the opponents have been slightly altered or omitted from the arcade version and a ton more have been added. They even added round breaks and other instances where you get great advice from your trainer. And after you win a title match, you’re treated to a Rocky-inspired training session with amazing parallax scrolling for the time. Even little touches like Mario being the referee adds a lot of personality. While Koji Kondo didn’t return to do the music, Akito Nakatsuka did an amazing job. The music here is absolutely classic. (classic game music and sound effects) And yes, I admit, I kind of suck at this game.

It’s one of those that takes a lotta time to learn all of the enemies. And as I was playing for this episode, I started to relearn the opponents, and, damn, it’s just so fun when you start figuring things out. I mean, you really don’t wanna stop playing! I’ve gotta say that this is by far the best boxing game that I’ve ever played. I like it better than Super Punch-Out!! on the Super Nintendo and I like it better than Wii Punch-Out!! And obviously, I like it much better than the arcade Punch-Out!! I feel like the rest of the world does too. Oh, and Super Punch-Out!! on the Super Nintendo is also better than the arcade Super Punch-Out!! I’m just sayin’. (classic game music and sound effects) (bell ringing) Okay, so that’s technically two fighting games in a row where the home version just pounced all over the arcade. So, naturally, I’m gonna throw another fighting game your way right now and there’s nothing you can do.

No you do not fast-forward! (awesomely energetic techno music) (cash register ringing) (Tekken Tag Tournament music) Tekken Tag Tournament from Namco was released in 1997, not long after Tekken 3. This one has similar fighting mechanics to the previous Tekken games, such as a button to control each of your limbs and whatnot. But get this: It also adds a tag button. That’s right, you choose two characters from the select screen at the beginning. At pretty much any time during the fight, you can call the other character in.

Like the Street Fighter Vs games, using this correctly is vital. If your current character is getting their ass handed to them, as is often the case when I play these games, calling in the other character gives them a break. The new character has a full life bar, at least for now, and continues the fight. Meanwhile, the offscreen character goes to Burger King or maybe Olive Garden to replenish some of their life.

But if you need them back again, they’re there for you immediately. To win a round, you only need to defeat one opponent, not both. At no point do you need to defeat both characters. But the same is true of you, which makes it easy to die if you’re not careful. Well, easy for me to die anyway, since I kind of suck at Tekken games. I still really enjoy them though. Like Soul Calibur, this game runs on Namco’s System 12. As a result, the graphics are par-for-the-course in that era, but they are by no means bad, just a little chunky, as you’d expect, with a bit of texture warping and shifting.

However, the frame rate is a consistent 60 frames per second and the sound and music is actually pretty good. Overall, it’s a fun game that I’m not tremendously good at, but I still really enjoy it. – Round two! Fight. (sufficient music and sound effects) (upbeat percussion music) – In the year 2000, Tekken Tag Tournament was brought home to the PlayStation 2 as a launch title in the US and Europe. And the differences visually are outstanding. While it’s obviously a very early game for the console, it’s still leaps and bounds above the arcade in its graphical presentation. Like Soul Calibur, the character models have been improved immensely. Not only that, but the backgrounds all got fairly hefty overhauls with a lot more detail and better lighting. The floor still seems to be oddly disconnected from the rest of the background for some reason though.

I think that reason is that so you never actually run into any of the background. That way, you have infinite room to maneuver around on the floor. The music is fantastic and perhaps even a bit better than the arcade, since it’s now CD quality. (CD quality game music and sound effects) As far as the gameplay is concerned, it seems about the same to me. But then again, I’m not a diehard Tekken freak, so take that with a pinch of salt. That doesn’t mean I don’t have fun playing it though. It just means you won’t see me in an esports Tekken competitions. And that’s… okay. – Round one, fight. (cool music and sound effects) (upbeat dance music) – 11 years later, Tekken Tag Tournament came to the PlayStation 3 in HD, courtesy of Tekken Hybrid.

It’s basically the PS2 version, only presented in razor-sharp 1080p, and I swear they increased the resolution of a lot of the game assets as well. Not only that, but the game is now in widescreen, something that Namco didn’t do with Soul Calibur on the Xbox 360. I guess Namco likes Tekken more than Soul Calibur. Or maybe they decided that since it was on physical media, it would be more worth their attention. Whatever the case, I’m glad that they did it. Everything here is already unlocked for you, including the extremely-difficult-to-control Tekken Bowl game.

And either this or the PlayStation 2 version is preferable to play compared to the arcade. – Round one, fight. (neat music and sound effects) (typical Contra music) – Contra was released by Konami in the arcades in 1987. This two-player run-and-gun had a few different ways to play. First, there were horizontally-scrolling segments where you run along, blasting enemies. Then, there were the third-person segments where you needed to take down objects on the far wall to disable the barrier that’s blocking you, all while killing enemies and avoiding their fire, of course.

Lastly was the vertically-scrolling stages, though these still played like the side-scrolling run-and-gun stages; you just moved up instead of horizontally. The game uses a vertically-oriented screen and it can feel pretty crowded. The graphics are detailed, but I’ve gotta admit some of the art seems kind of ugly. Pretty much the same thing can be said about the music. The compositions are good, but the sound quality of the FM chip that they’re using is fairly poor. (mediocre-sounding music and sound effects) (better game music) In 1988, Contra came home to the NES, ported by Konami themselves. Of course, the aspect ratio is now a normal horizontally-oriented one, and that alone makes the game much better. It doesn’t feel as crowded, and also, everything seems to move a bit faster.

The graphics, of course, have been completely redone. And as a result, I feel that they look less awkward. Your characters are smaller, but that actually helps the gameplay, as it’s a bit easier to avoid enemy fire. Everything looks better, despite having much less color and overall less detail. And the music is about a thousand times better on the NES. It’s the same musical arrangements, but the NES sounds far better and less abrasive than the Konami arcade hardware. (smooth music and sound effects) I can’t imagine that too many people would rather play the arcade version over this, but I’m sure that they exist.

(really nice music and sound effects) (decent game music) Likewise, Super Contra was released in the arcades in 1988. Dave covered this one in the Arcade vs. Console II episode, so I’ll be quick. – What is this place? – This featured the same vertically-oriented screen as the original Contra arcade game, but this one has overhead run-and-gun stages which take advantage of the vertical screen. This game feels like you’re dodging things 85% of the time and actually hitting enemies with your shot maybe 15% of the time.

(average music and sound effects) In 1990, Konami changed the name of the game to Super C when they released it on the NES. Once again, it’s a horizontally-oriented game, just as you’d expect, and it plays just as well as the original NES Contra. There’s plenty of minor stuff missing in this version compared to the arcade, but it does add more levels, making it beefier all around. The vertically-scrolling stages don’t suffer at all being on a horizontal screen.

Contra is truly a series that belongs on home consoles. (really nice music and sound effects) Man, I don’t know what Konami was thinking making those Contras with the vertical screen. There’s no reason for it; they’re just crazy. Anyway, I’m only about halfway done with this episode, so hang on. (bright rock music) (cash register ringing) (good music) Super Hang-On from Sega showed up in the arcades in 1987. This is a great sequel to the original Hang-On, which was from Yu Suzuki, and it improved upon everything, even though it was handled by a different team. At the beginning, you get to select your race course. After that, you select from one of four different musical tracks. I like them all, but I think that my favorite has always been Outride a Crisis. From here, it looks similar to the original Hang-On, with basic colored stripes on the ground, obstacles on the side of the road, other riders to avoid, and cool-looking backgrounds in the distance.

But this game adds, are you ready for this… hills. Your motorcycle goes up to 280 kilometers per hour, which is 173 miles per hour. It’s at this point that you can engage the afterburners, which propel you to 324 kilometers per hour, which is 201 miles per hour. And you’ve gotta be careful using the afterburners because it can easily throw you off the side of the road during a turn or make you crash into an enemy. But if you never use them, then you’ll never reach the checkpoint. And you’re only racing the clock which is counting down, not the other riders, which are only there to annoy you. It’s a really fun game that I didn’t see very often back when arcades were popular. (hella-sweet music and sound effects) Super Hang-On came home to the Genesis in 1989. The gameplay is intact, but there have been a few changes. The graphics are no longer as fast as the arcade and objects are missing the smooth scaling. However, this marks the very first time that Sega incorporated smooth hills into a console game. If you recall, the hills in Out Run on the Master System were extremely choppy and very poorly done.

All of the music tracks are here and they sound good, but they use weaker instruments than they did in the arcade. (still-awesome game music) The music is also now in mono. In fact, the only time you’ll hear stereo in this game is when you’ll pass an enemy at close range or you crash and the enemy bikes whiz by on one side or the other. (mono game music and stereo sound effects) There’s some lag in the controls, but for some reason it’s weirdly easy to get used to after just a track or two. However, even with these compromises, it’s a fantastic game that’s super fun to play. But it doesn’t end there. There’s an original mode that’s been added where you work your way up through the ranks. You start out with the slowest bike and the worst parts. It is unbelievably slow and it feels like you need to hold left for five seconds before you even start to turn left! This time, you’re racing a rival, even though you never see them during the race, just random bikers instead. But it’s fairly easy to win races, which nets you some money to buy new parts.

In the shop, a yellow frame indicates the part that you have, so don’t buy something with a yellow frame around it unless it needs a replacement. Otherwise, you’re just wasting your money. And yes, the more you crash, the more damaged your bike gets and you’ll need to spend a lot of money replacing your parts. Your mechanic will let you know what needs to be done. Sadly, no matter what parts you buy for your bike, it’s always gonna look the same.

Eventually, after you win enough, your sponsor won’t be able to handle you, so you’ll get a new one who will pay you even more if you win. But that means you’ll also get a newer, faster rival and eventually a better mechanic. The races will also get a bit longer and you’ll still be doing each track many times before you move on. I know I’m making it sound kind of boring, but it actually is pretty fun. This extra mode adds a lot to the game and therefore makes it the better version, despite its other flaws. I just wish that this game would’ve been released a year or two later so we could’ve had the higher frame rate, smoother scaling, and perhaps faster action. (awesome music and sound effects) (game music) Super Monaco GP was a 1989 arcade game also from Sega. This F1 racer has amazing graphics with super-smooth scaling.

The sound and control are not bad either. It also has some very questionable sponsorships. Your goal is to stay ahead of the limit that the game imposes on you after passing each checkpoint, which is easier said than done. I can’t even finish the first three-lap race. Overall, it’s a fun, impressive, though very tough game that I rarely saw in the arcade. And it’s too damn hard for its own good. (game sound effects) (game music) But in 1990, Sega brought it home to the Genesis. The first thing that you’ll notice is that the graphics are incredibly sparse and small compared to the arcade. But the gameplay, control, and the speed are all very much still intact. And this one is the better version for many of the same reasons that Super Hang-On’s home version is better. The World Championship mode simply offers so much more to do. It’s very well thought out and will keep you coming back for more as you move through the seasons. Once again, you have rivals, and some of them are incredibly tough to beat. You keep track of your progress with an easy-to-remember password. Not only that, but there are a ton of different tracks to race on in this one.

The backgrounds vary by track and they’re all nicely detailed. And if the rear-view mirror wasn’t enough, the stereo sound helps you hear which side the enemy is coming from when they’re behind you. (stereo sound effects) Really, you can’t go wrong with the Genesis version of Super Monaco GP. (game sound effects) Sorry about that. I know some of you may get a little bit grumpy whenever I show a racing game, but we’re moving on. Anyway, now for the scraps. And these are the scraps because maybe we’ve covered them in a little bit more detail in previous episodes, but they should really be mentioned in this one.

So, I’m gonna cover six arcade games in the time it normally takes me to cover two, so let’s go. (cash register ringing) (game music) We did an entire episode about the Double Dragon series many, many years ago, but I’ve gotta mention Double Dragon II: The Revenge from Technos Japan. This beat-em-up hit the arcades in 1988. The control scheme in this one is like Renegade from 1986. You have three buttons: a left attack, a right attack, and a jump button right in the middle. This means you don’t have to be facing the enemy to hit them. You just need to press the correct attack button. Your forward attack is a punch, while your backward attack is a kick. The stages are all interconnected with each other like the first game. The beat-em-up action is pretty good, but, like the original arcade game, there is an excessive amount of slowdown here, which really brings the entire experience down. The music is really good though. (great music and adequate sound effects) (game music) In early-1990, Double Dragon II came home to the NES, and they changed quite a bit for the better.

They kept the same control scheme, so B always attacks left and A attacks right. Pressing both buttons together makes you jump. But the stages have all been completely changed to make the game far more interesting. They’re now bigger and you move around more. I like this one, where the helicopter door opens and things get sucked out of it as you fight. They really rethought this game, and I’m glad that they did. They even added cut scenes between the rounds. (awesome music and sound effects) Perhaps even better is the PC Engine CD version of Double Dragon II, which was only released in Japan in 1993. This one’s more based on the NES version, but it also keeps a few things from the arcade, like these shovel weapons or whatever they’re supposed to be. The stages are even bigger here, maybe even sometimes too big. And there’s some new and different stages here as well. The in-between-stage cut scenes are now animated and voiced; in Japanese, of course. (speaking foreign language) The control scheme remains the same as the NES version, and it’s easy to get used to. The music is weird but enjoyable, and it’s still not as good as the arcade version.

The bottom line is is that either of these home versions are better than the arcade. (cool music and sound effects) (game music) Ninja Gaiden from Tecmo was a clunky 1988 beat-em-up. You really didn’t feel like much of a ninja in this one. It’s slow and the controls are not done well at all. I honestly can’t think of anything good to say about Ninja Gaiden. (mediocre music and sound effects) That changed in 1989 though, when Tecmo brought Ninja Gaiden home to the NES. It’s now a side-scrolling platformer and you really do feel like a ninja this time. The presentation here was a really big deal at the time with all of the cool cut scenes. It’s fast-paced, gives you lots of cool sub-weapons and a challenge that will keep you coming back for more. And I mean that literally, because you’ll die a lot. But as you learn, you get better and you start to appreciate the game even more.

Good graphics and excellent music round things out with this one. (excellent music and sound effects) (game music) Speaking of ninja games, how about Shadow Dancer from Sega? This is a sequel to the original Shinobi arcade game where you die with one hit. But this time, you have a dog that you can use to restrain enemies and bark a lot, as dogs tend to do. The action in this one felt unrefined compared to the original Shinobi arcade.

It feels slower and a lot less responsive and definitely less fun. The same can be said for the graphics, which appear kind of washed-out and, dare I say, poorly drawn. Even the bonus stages weren’t as cool as the original, though they’re still kind of cool. (average music and sound effects) (cool game music) But in 1990, Sega released Shadow Dancer on the Genesis and they basically changed the entire game. All of the stages are completely different. You still have your dog and he’s still used in the same way. But the pace and control here has been much improved. Yes, you still have the one-hit death. But if you have a modicum of skill, you’ll do just fine. Both the graphics and the music are perfect, even though this is a tiny four-meg cart.

And because of that, the game is too short. But even with that flaw, it remains 10 times better than the arcade, in my opinion, and now yours too. (awesome game music and sound effects) (okay game music) Bionic Commando from Capcom came out in the arcade in 1987. This one was unique because you couldn’t jump. Instead, you need to use your grapple arm to attach to ledges to pull yourself up or maybe swing around or even grab power-ups. It’s a very colorful game that’s not bad at all. (farty music and sound effects) But Capcom thought it could be better, as they redid the entire game when they released it on the NES in 1988. The basic gameplay remains the same with the grapple arm, but now there are many more missions, as well as a lot more depth. Some missions even play like the original Organic Commando with overhead stages. You eventually gain more life and more powerful weapons, which gives the game more of an adventure feel compared to the arcade. It’s a hard game to get into. Hell, even the arcade version kind of was.

But once you do, you’ll find a much more rewarding experience on the NES. (neat-o music and sound effects) (game music) Gun-Dot-Smoke is a 1985 arcade game from Capcom. That’s right, if they’re putting the dot in the title, I’m saying it. In this overhead run-and-gun, you play as a cowboy taking down the outlaws. The controls were interesting, as you had three buttons. The left one shoots diagonally to the left, the right one diagonally to the right, and the middle button shoots straight up. That’s all well and good, but this game will absolutely kick your ass. It can be tough to stay alive, even for an entire minute. I feel that the game’s potential was ruined by its sheer brutality. (average music and sound effects) In 1988, Gun-Dot-Smoke came home to the NES. Visually, it looks about as you’d expect for an NES port of the arcade to look, and that’s fine.

The control scheme remains the same as the arcade, but now you have to hold both B and A at the same time to shoot straight. And now, you need to either find or buy wanted posters in order to make it to the boss fight. But the good news is that the game has been rebalanced and it’s not so brutal. It’s not easy, but it’s a lot more fair than the arcade. They also redid the music entirely and it’s so much better than what you hear in the arcade.

If you’re used to this on the NES, then the arcade version will surely disappoint you. (memorable music and sound effects) (boring game music) Holy crap, I almost forgot about Rygar from Tecmo, which game out in the arcade in 1986. Can you believe that? In this one, you play as a dude who slings his disc thing and you run to the right. After that, you need to run to the right. And after that, maybe run to the right a little more. Honestly, it’s not a bad game at all; there just really isn’t much to it. (game music to run to the right by) But Tecmo wanted to do more with it, so in 1987, they released it on the NES. And yeah, in some stages you run to the right and sling your little disc thingy, but you don’t just go to the right. Now you can go up and all over the place. There’s even some overhead nonsense that’s going on. I know that I’d rather play this version, and I have a feeling that I’m definitely not alone in that opinion. (game music and sound effects) All right, so that’s 13 games where I feel the home version is significantly better than the arcade.

Well, technically 14, since I talked about Super Punch-Out!! briefly, but that can’t be all of them. So, why don’t you tell me? Are there any games that I didn’t talk about in this episode that the home version is definitively better? Let me know. In the meantime, thank you– I’ve never noticed that before. Does it always do that? (“Game Sack Credits Theme”) You know, Altered Beast isn’t a bad game in the arcade. I mean, it’s fair, but let’s check it out and see how it compares to the home version. (Altered Beast arcade music) (game music and sound effects) – Power up. – Okay, so Altered Beast in the arcade, it’s fair. It’s not great, but surely they improved it for the home port, right? So, let’s try Altered Beast on the Sega Master System.

(Altered Beast Sega Master System music) (game music and sound effects) Ugh, it’s so choppy! Oh my god, the horror! – Power up. Power up, power up. – Oh my god, did they even allocate any memory to those voice samples? Damn, so unresponsive! If only the controls didn’t suck! (grimacing) Yeah, so I’m gonna have to go with the arcade version over this one. .

As found on Youtube

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