Judge Dredd arcade game - Title Screen

Did You Know About The Judge Dredd Arcade Game?

In October of 1992 Mortal Kombat was released by Midway Games. Did you know however that Midway Games was also working on another title well known for over the top violence? The Judge Dredd arcade game was developed around the same time as Mortal Kombat II. In fact as you can plainly see below, one could spot Goro on a leash. However the game while reaching the prototype stage was ultimately cancelled.
Judge Dredd arcade game - Goro on a leash

Using the same motion capture technology that would make Mortal Kombat stand out. The developers even used the same hardware from Mortal Kombat II. Also of interest is the Judge Dredd arcade game was intended to be a 3 player game. The team even used a control panel from 1988’s Narc when designing the prototype cabinets. Of which there were apparently four made before the game was axed due in part to low test numbers.
Judge Dredd arcade game - Control Panel

The title was obviously part of the beat ’em up genre. Similar in concept to games like Streets of Rage and it’s predecessor Final Fight. Although having said that the Judge Dredd arcade game appears to have had some interesting design choices. For example your attacks weren’t limited to just left and right, but up and down as well. Naturally it gives the brawler more of the feel of a 3D environment.
Judge Dredd arcade game - Block War

Then we have the fact the game captures a lot of what makes the comic book character so awesome. The digitized speech as well as the myriad background nods to the series are evident. In particular, I am rather fond of the ‘No Drowning’ proclamation in the sewer level.
Judge Dredd arcade game - No Drowning

Now when I first stumbled upon video of the gameplay I just assumed it was produced for the Judge Dredd film in ’95. It turns out that is partially true as the film had just been announced. But the fact of the matter is that Midway had struck gold with another film turned video game. That was of course 1991’s Terminator 2: Judgement Day!

[Via] Media Pool

Friends, surprisingly enough the Judge Dredd arcade game was also inspired by the popularity of Konami’s TMNT game. While the game itself never made it to mass production, we have those geniuses at Chicago’s arcade mecca Galloping Ghost to thank for making an actual cabinet. In fact, in the 2015 video below you can hear owner and head guru Doc Mack talking about the game itself.

[Via] Ghost Lord 000

You’ve heard a little about the Judge Dredd arcade game now. Ready to see it in action?

[Via] World of Longplays

Friends, I am certainly thinking about doing a special Diary podcast. Cherry-picking some of the games that were almost released like with Gremlins!

Life Force - Christopher Tupa

Retro Arcade Art By CTupa: Life Force (1986)

Christopher Tupa has certainly chosen a classic title for this Retro Arcade Art offering. Although in this case Life Force was not a game I played in the arcade. Indeed I hadn’t even heard of it until it was ported to the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1987. While that may be so, Life Force is a shining example of the multi-scrolling shooter genre!

Right off the bat we have an interesting fact for you. When the game was originally released it was known as Salamander. In fact it was considered to be a spin-off of the popular arcade game Gradius. When released in the United States it gained the Life Force moniker. Later the re-release in the arcades of Japan took the new name as well as in Europe, where the game was known as Life Force: Salamander!

Image courtesy of the Arcade Flyer Archive.

In the game, Players take control of the Vic Viper. A legendary series of ‘space ships’ that Konami has used in numerous games. Everything from Super Bomberman R to Yu-Gi-Oh! as a matter of fact. In Life Force a second player is able to take control of a ship known as Lord British.

Of course you might be asking yourself where the action takes place? In the North American version, Konami added a bit of text at the beginning of the game. Explaining that the Player was entering a giant bio-mechanical being, known as the Sentinel XR1. Radiation has caused a tumor to grow and activate the XR1’s antibiotics, which will see you as an enemy. With the added mandate that you must you must save the life force of the being at all costs!
Life Force - Sentinel XR1 Text

So basically the Player is thrust into an incredibly hostile version of 1966’s Fantastic Voyage. Not only must you contend with flying enemies, exploding obstacles, and enemy fire. But the landscape itself will attempt to thwart you, expanding or altering it’s shape. If a Player isn’t on their toes they might find themselves slamming into a wall that wasn’t there before.
Life Force - Body Defenses

Did I also mention that Life Force is both a horizontal as well as vertical shooter? Every other stage, of which there are six, changes to a vertical view. The gameplay then of course becomes something similar to Capcom’s 1942!
Life Force - Vertical

Now there is a lot against you in the game and you will certainly be hard pressed to keep up. Thankfully the Vic Viper has some pretty impressive weaponry to say the least. Much like Gradius, Players are able to pick up a variety of weapons and upgrades.
Life Force - Vic Viper - Weapon Selection

Now that you know the basics of Life Force, why not watch a full longplay?

[Via] World of Longplays

As always with CTupa’s Retro Arcade Art project, you can purchase the artwork featured in this post. The originals are ink and watercolor and are 5″x7″ on 8.5″x11″ size paper. You can hop on over to Christopher’s Official Site to contact him as well as check out more artwork from his project!

I hope you won’t forget to check out CTupa’s previous entries in his Retro Arcade Art project as well!

Did you know there was also an OVA for Life Force/Salamander?


There certainly was and it was released on VHS and Laserdisc between 1988 and 1989. Three episodes in fact, although these aren’t considered canon. It’s still fun however and has many elements from the arcade game in the series.

[Via] Alex Hoch

Jungler - Christopher Tupa

Retro Arcade Art By CTupa: Jungler (1981)

How many of you Arcade Addicts out there played Jungler back in the day? While I was indeed familiar with Christopher Tupa’s pick for this week’s Retro Arcade Art. I will certainly admit that I never had the privilege of playing Jungler in the arcades of my youth.
Jungler - Marquee

Jungler happens to be one of the many maze games from the early 80s. Obviously Pac-Man is the most famous of that genre. However back in 1973 Atari heped start the arcade maze craze with Gotcha!

While Jungler was developed by Konami it was in fact Stern that produced the game. You might now Stern for it’s arcade classic titles like Berzerk, Scramble, Tutankham, as well as Pooyan. The goal of the game is to control your white colored snake (Jungler?) as it navigates a maze.
Jungler - Screen 1

The problem is you have three other snakes in the maze with you. They want nothing more than to catch and devour you. The enemies comes in three different colors as well as lengths. The green snakes are shorter than Jungler and if a Player makes contact with the head it will safely devour them. A yellow snake is the equal length of the Player. While you will be able to eat them- they won’t cost you a life if you make contact in the maze. The red snakes however are longer than the Player and will result in death if it catches you.
Jungler - Red Snake

This isn’t a game though where you just have to constantly be on the run from your foes. Not at all. Jungler as it turns out happens to be able to shoot at the enemy snakes. Each successful hit will shorten a snake by one segment. Of course the enemies will do this randomly as well so you always have to be on your toes.

I was quite shocked while doing research to learn that Jungler did not receive a port to the popular home consoles of the day. It did have versions on both the Arcadia 2001 console in 1982 as well the Tomy Tutor a year earlier. On the other hand it at least got a handheld version thanks to Gakken.
Jungler - Gakken

As I previously mentioned earlier in the post. Jungler was a game that just wasn’t found in my neck of the woods. Thankfully I was able to play it when the Game Room dropped on the Xbox – a classic gaming option I might add that should have stuck around.
Jungler - Arcade Cabinet

Ready to see Jungler in action?

[Via] H. Gallo 64


Now remember that with CTupa’s Retro Arcade Art project, you can purchase the artwork featured in this post. The originals are ink and watercolor and are 5″x7″ on 8.5″x11″ size paper. You can hop on over to Christopher’s Official Site to contact him as well as check out more artwork from his project!

Don’t forget to review CTupa’s previous entries in his Retro Arcade Art project!
(Beezer)
(Bomb Jack)
(Devil Fish)
(Dig Dug)
(Inferno)
(Kangaroo)

Netflix's Castlevania

Netflix’s Castlevania Is A Bloody Good Time!

It is hard to believe but Netflix’s Castlevania animated series has been unleashed. I can at the very least tell you, without giving away the entire plot of the series, that it stays true to the spirit of Konami’s video game series. As well as successfully adapting the Gothic and dark story line touched upon by the games for a most assuredly adult audience. Netflix’s Castlevania is delightfully gory and doesn’t shy from it’s horror roots.
Netflix's Castlevania

I should probably mention that this first season of Netflix’s Castlevania is a mere four episodes. In all honesty I found that to be rather shocking. However I have found information that Adi Shankar, the producer, has said in all there will be two seasons. With the second and of course presumably longer season landing in 2018.

As I mentioned when sharing that awesome NES inspired teaser trailer just back in May. The series has been penned by none other than Warren Ellis. A writer I hold in very high regard as his Planetary comic series is hands down one of my favorite books. Ever.
Netflix's Castlevania

The story itself while taking elements from the Castlevania game series, mostly seems focused on the cast of Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse. Which was released on the Nintendo Entertainment System back in 1990.
Netflix's Castlevania

Netflix’s Castlevania does something rather different indeed. Right off the bat we are shown a very different version of Dracula. Furthermore one quite different from the character we’ve become accustomed to in Konami’s games. Yes, this Vlad Dracula Tepes is still very much a vampire and dangerous. But he is also in fact reasonable and is convinced by a young woman to rejoin mankind.
Netflix's Castlevania

I mention this, friends, as you will actually side with Dracula a bit. I say side because thanks to a religious zealot, tragedy turns Vlad into a terror of the night. His retribution however threatens the lives of every man, woman, and child. No one will be spared from his wrath.
Netflix's Castlevania

It certainly looks like an undead tide of horror will sweep across the lands. Thankfully there is one man who will take up the challenge of halting Dracula’s bloody reign. Trevor Belmont, the last surviving Son of the Belmont clan.
Netflix's Castlevania

Wait. Hold up a second. While Trevor is certainly an inspiring and dashing figure. The very last thing he wants to do is be a hero. His goal is pretty much to stay drunk as much as possible and keep his belly full. Now, I should add that through the four episodes we totally understand why Trevor is behaving this way. His family too has been subject to the whims of religious zealots.

Trevor crosses paths with a group of Speakers. One of which, Sypha Belnades, happens to be a magic-user. Her desire to protect mankind contrasts sharply with Trevor’s pragmatic nature.
Netflix's Castlevania

While four episodes are short and to be honest, you will be left on something of a cliffhanger. The writing is top notch and the animation style as I have already mentioned is satisfyingly dark. The voice talent is also where Castlevania should be praised. Playing Trevor is Richard Armitage (The Hobbit), Matt Frewer (Max Headroom) plays the Bishop. In addition Graham McTavish (Preacher) lends his voice to the role of Dracula, with Alejandra Reynoso (G.I. Joe: Renegades) as Sypha. Rounding out the cast is Battlestar Galactica’s James Callis, Tony Amendola, as well as Emily Swallow (Supernatural).

Last but certainly not least is Trevor Morris’ powerful and haunting score. You don’t have to take my word on that though as you can in fact listen to the theme below!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zz3du_b6Okc
[Via] Sariel Dracool

Now if you are ready for a dark and bloody good time. You can binge watch Netflix’s Castlevania animated series right this minute!