9 best arcade games of the 90s: Gamestate answers
If you grew up in the 90s, you probably remember playing at the local arcade. It was an essential part of growing up and a fundamental part of what made arcades so special.
The 90s was a decade that saw the rise of home consoles and personal computers, but it was also the golden age for arcade games. Games like Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat brought massive crowds to arcades across North America, who would gather around these machines for hours to test their skills against other players.
Many of these games were ported to home consoles later (and still are today), but a few stayed true to their arcade roots. Here are 9 iconic titles from the 90s that still hold up today.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - turtles in time
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time is a beat 'em-up arcade game released by Konami in 1992. The game features the main playable characters from the original cartoon series: Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael.
The plot involves time travel and aliens invading Earth to steal its water supply. The player must defeat them all before they can succeed in taking over Earth's resources!
The gameplay is similar to other games of this genre: you fight against waves of enemies until you reach an end boss with more health than regular enemies (but not too much).
You can pick up power-ups along the way, which increase your attack damage or give you special abilities such as throwing projectiles at enemies from afar or sticking them together. Hence, they take double damage from attacks made by other players' characters.
Mortal Kombat II
Mortal Kombat II was the second deliver of the Mortal Kombat series, released in 1993. It introduced many new features that would become staples of fighting games: finishing moves, digitized graphics, and a story mode.
The original Mortal Kombat was released in 1992 and featured characters based on various fictional deities from different cultures worldwide.
In this sequel, you had more options for choosing your fighter and new locations like an ancient Chinese temple or a medieval castle dungeon where you could unleash your rage on your opponents. At the same time, they were chained up against walls (aka "fatalities").
NBA Jam is a basketball video game developed by Midway and published by Acclaim, originally released in 1993. It was the first basketball video game to feature NBA players and teams, including all-star players. The game's popularity led to its release on several consoles, including the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), Sega Genesis/Mega Drive, and Game Boy versions.
House of the Dead 2
House of the Dead 2 is a light gun arcade game released in 2000 by Sega. It is the second installment in the House of the Dead series and is based on the original House of the Dead arcade game. The story takes place after its predecessor on New Year's Eve.
Players assume control of either agent James Taylor or agent Jessica Walters as they investigate an abandoned hospital where zombies are running amok.
The sequel was highly anticipated due to its success with critics and fans; it was praised for its graphics, gameplay, voice acting, and sound effects but criticized for being too similar to its predecessor. Upon its release, it became one of Sega's highest-selling games, with over 400 thousand copies worldwide, making it one out of three titles from Sega, whose sales surpassed 300 thousand units.
Daytona USA is a racing video game that was released in 1994. The game was developed by Sega AM1 and published by Sega for the Sega Model 2 arcade system board and for the Sega Saturn, PlayStation, and PC in 1995. It runs on an enhanced version of the hardware used in Virtua Racing (1994).
It was one of the first games to use texture mapping technology. It featured 3D-modeled polygons (instead of sprites) and Gouraud shading effects.
This gave it more realistic-looking environments than other racing games at that time, such as Ridge Racer or Pole Position, where everything looked flat, like cardboard cutouts stuck onto your screen, so you could barely tell what was going on around them without moving closer towards them.
Virtua Fighter 2
Virtua Fighter 2 was a fighting game released in 1994 for the Sega Model 2 arcade hardware. It was the second game in the Virtua Fighter series of video games and one of the first 3D fighting game to use polygonal characters instead of sprites.
The original Virtua Fighter featured eight different characters who were all modeled after real people; however, with Virtua Fighter 2, they decided that they wanted more variety, so they added three new characters: Lau Chan (a Chinese martial artist), Sarah Bryant (an American kickboxer) and Lion Rafale (a French swordsman).
Street Fighter II Turbo
Street Fighter II Turbo was released in 1992, and it was the first game to use Capcom's CPS-2 hardware. It also continued with the Super Combo system from Street Fighter II, which allowed players to perform multiple special moves in a row without inputting them individually.
The roster of playable characters included 12 different fighters: Ryu, Ken, Chun Li, and Blanka from Street Fighter; Zangief and Dhalsim from Final Fight; E. Honda and Vega from Spain; Sagat from Thailand; M Bison (Vega's boss) from Shadaloo (an evil organization); Balrog/M Bison's aide boxer who fights dirty like Balrog does but has a different name.
Crazy Taxi is an arcade game released in 1999 and made by Sega. The gameplay is based on a taxi driver who has to pick up passengers and deliver them to their destination as quickly as possible. You can pick up passengers from anywhere in the city. Still, you must reach your destination within a time limit, or else you'll fail the mission.
Along the way, coins will help boost your score if collected by driving over them or hitting them with an item such as banana peels or bowling balls (introduced later).
Area 51 - Area 51/Maximum Force Duo
Area 51 is a 1996 first-person shooter (FPS) video game developed by Atari Games and published by Midway Games. It is set in Area 51 and the Roswell UFO incident.
The player assumes the role of an unnamed Special Forces operative who must infiltrate the secret base and rescue several captured soldiers, scientists, engineers, and technicians held captive there by an extraterrestrial race known as "Greys."
The player starts with only one weapon: an M16A2 assault rifle with unlimited ammunition but limited range; other weapons may be picked up during play, such as pistols or shotguns; some weapons can also be dual-wielded if two are acquired at once.
These additional guns cannot be upgraded like those found in other FPS games such as Doom due to their limited number but do improve slightly over time instead until reaching maximum power level, which renders them just as deadly as any other firearm available within that particular level; however, this does not work for melee attacks which continue upgrading beyond max level until reaching their maximum strength later on during gameplay.
These are a few more of the most iconic 90s arcade games.
If you've ever heard of these games and the ones we discussed previously, we wouldn't be surprised; they're all classics, but if you haven't played them, it's time to get into the arcade and see what all the fuss was about!
I hope you enjoyed this list of the top 10 iconic 90's arcade games. If you have other favorites that didn't make it here, please comment below!
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