Skip navigation

Tag Archives: arcade game

Well, this will be my first scripted video review. Don’t fret though as I stated before I am not switching to all video but I am possibly staying video only for game reviews. This video review is for my annual Halloween special. This years game review. Beast Busters, the 1989 arcade shooter from SNK.

Happy Halloween!

UPDATE! I’ve tweaked the script and added some screenshots to also make the review into a good old fashioned article for those that prefer the written things in life, or that hate my voice.


well, its that time again, October and we all know what that means. a shoehorned Halloween themed game review for my otherwise hardware centric blog and now blog slash YouTube channel. I mean unless anyone out there knows of a Halloween themed PC I could review. I suppose i could paint a pumpkin on the side of a PC tower or something but…na. This years game  will be the 1989 arcade gun game beast busters.Beast Busters was developed by SNK and was their final game before the Neo Geo.

Beast Busters is generally referred to as an Operation Wolf clone with zombies and that is fairly accurate.The zombies in Beast Busters aren’t even your common mindless flesh eaters but are gun toting, knife flinging, motorcycle riding soldiers of the undead. This doesn’t help at all in dispelling the clone stigma.

The Beast Busters arcade cabinet allowed for three players and featured uzi gun controllers for all three players. Unlike many arcade games of the late 80s and early 90s Beast Busters was not ported to every home computer imaginable and only made an appearance on the 16 bit Amiga and Atari ST machines. The Amiga version was my first experience with the game as a child but I don’t recall ever getting past the first level due to either my incompetence on figuring out the mouse controls or my lack of a joystick I only remember I couldn’t get the gun sight to move acceptably and the game was just to much of a chore because of this despite my enthusiasm for a zombie shooter. My local arcade at the mall, Giggles, did feature the game for awhile back in the far forsaken corner and so I did get to play it in its original format some.

For this review I will be taking the unfortunate step of emulating but since I cant horde arcade cabinets and boards can be a little hard to come across I make an exception for arcade games.

The game starts off with a very vague plot about a random city overrun with the undead. You get to choose from three characters who as far as I can tell play identically in game. The names though just scream 80’s action cheese. Our hero’s go by Johnny Justice, Sammy Stately and Paul Patriot. Sammy Stately? that’s actually pretty clever. The writers must of been up all night patting themselves on the back over coming up with that one. I’m surprised we don’t get Reggie Regal and Patty Presidential as secret characters.


Like operation wolf and other games of the genre you automatically scroll through the levels in first person blasting everything that moves. other then your standard uzi you also have a grenade button that lobs an explosive damaging enemies in a wide area on screen. As you fire you can run out of bullets. If this happens your rate of fire slows down but ammo falling from the top of the screen is pretty abundant. grenade power ups such as rockets, napalm grenades and lightning grenades are also available as well as first aid kits and according to the intro bullet proof vests though I don’t recall seeing any in my play through.

As I mentioned earlier the bulk of the beasts you will be encountering in beast busters are zombies. Unlike your classical slow moving mindless variety though all these undead are packing heat and are rearing to pop a cap off in your stately a…derriere. These zombies also drive cars, pilot boats and the football player zombies even assault you from the air while being lifted airborne by what looks like undead owls. There are other enemies though as you traverse this city of the damned. zombie chihuahua dogs, sentient piles of scrape metal and aforementioned owls. The real highlight is the sometimes downright bizarre midboss and boss beasts. Some are fairly mild on the oddness chart such as the first boss, a switchblade flinging zombie punk rocker who transforms into a fire spitting dog mid fight. other not so odd bosses are a gang of zombie bikers and a pair of blue uzi toting zombies that look like a amalgamation of Jason Vorhees and Blaster from Mad Max and Thunderdome. some of the bosses get really…really odd. we have a river blob midboss that has the most serine look on his face.


He doesn’t even come close to the level boss though which is a floating eyeball encased within a sphere of finely toned naked blue men. As you inflict damage the hunky blue heart throbs fall off into the murky depths exposing the lurking horror within.


One boss battle also has you waiting your aim as you shoot this mad scientist type as he holds onto a hostage. after he dies you have to fight a second form which kind of looks like……..well I’m not really sure what it looks like but I find the dance like motion it continuously makes kind of disturbing. The boss that takes the cake though is without doubt the monster car. Later in the game your fighting in a parking garage when your suddenly attacked by a rocket launcher equipped jeep. not to strange yet right? how about as you damage the jeep parts start falling off revealing a disgusting jeep monster hybrid. The tires have claws, eyeballs look out where the headlights once were biological goo ozes out of the shattered windshield and a vicious fang filled mouth is where the front grill once was. The car not only serves as the levels midboss but also the main boss as it pulls itself up somehow on your elevator at the end of level for a final showdown. All and all its a pretty silly boss battle but definitely memorable.


The final level is nothing but a boss rush and ends up being pretty unsatisfying. The final boss himself though is a snarky looking mad scientist type in a techno eyeball throne. After dealing with his throne you get to face his true form. a cycloptian flying brain, because….obviously. even after slaying the eyeball brain things arn’t over yet as the final battle is against what I assume is some kind of alien machine bristling with weapons.

The ending is a bit lack luster but what can you expect from an arcade title. as your victorious dude bros celebrate amid the ruins a giant spaceship slowly descends and cue cliffhanger ending.


Visually the game isn’t horrible, at least the arcade version is not. there is some sprite scaling that goes on in a few levels as you go down a street or hallway though the effect is nothing to write home about.The environments are destructible is some places though obviously nothing like today’s games. The subway train in the first level can be shot up pretty thoroughly and I always enjoyed blasting fire hydrants in the street stage.



So what did I think of this game? Beast Busters is ultimately a fun but silly game. I never took the element of horror far enough for my tastes and in stead went in a more silly direction with simply taking gun wielding solders as enemies and giving them an undead sprite swap. Some moments are almost inspired, again in that silly kind of way such as the monster car boss and the floating eyeball surrounded by naked blue hard bodied zombies. Its certainly not the prettiest game but its fairly short and does not overstay its welcome making it a nice burst of short Halloween fun.

prehistoric isle flyer

Prehistoric Isle in 1930 is along with Time Pilot one of my favorite and earliest game memories. The game is from 1989 and features a biplane from the 1930’s being sent to investigate an island in the Bermuda triangle where shipping has been vanishing. Being a kid at the arcade this game always grabbed my attention with its colorful graphics and interesting theme. It kind of reminded me of one of my favorite movies growing up which was about a world war I German U-boat that gets stranded on a dinosaur and cave man infested island. The game play is fairly standard for a horizontal shooter but features the interesting mechanic of “pods” that act as power ups. You have your standard shot but when you get a pod power up the pod makes your standard shot more powerful. Also you have the ability to rotate the pod around your biplane changing its power depending on its position. For instance if in front of you it powers up your standard shot, angled diagonally in front of you it arcs bombs, directly above or below and it fires a sort of energy blanket and if placed directly to the rear of your plane it lays mines. Other then the theme it was always the variety of dinosaurs and monsters that grabbed my attention from giant bugs and cavemen to skeleton pterodactyls. There were also nice details for the time such as the cavemen grabbing onto your wings and weighing you down or flying under waterfalls and feeling the pressure of the water forcing your plane down.


before each level your shown a little map of the island and where you will be on said island. The game isn’t overly long and can be completed in something like 30 to 40 minutes or less but the levels are interesting and varied from jungles to underwater to the open skies.


The first level takes place in the jungle where you face various dino’s as well as cavemen that emerge from huts and leap up to latch onto your plane and drag it down. This stage like many feature a mid level boss as well as a level boss.


The first two bosses you encounter are a Brachiosaurus that lunges out at you with its long neck and an Allosaurus. before each boss encounter your greeted with a large “CAUTION!” on screen as well as the bosses species and length and weight stats. Its ultimately pointless but its a nice little touch for introducing the boss.


The second level mixes it up a bit sending you high up above the island where you battle various flying enemies such as pterodactyls and cavemen latched onto giant bats.


This level features no mid level boss but does have a huge pterodactyl as the level boss. Besides his standard fireballs that he fires at you he also creates mini tornadoes with his wings that grab your plane and fling it around the screen possibly right into a fireball or the giant flying terror.


The next stage takes you back down to the island. This stage is a little bland and seems to take place in rocky canyons over small lakes and in caves.


The bosses of this level are a little strange. The first one is even introduced as “unknown dinosaur” and looks like a some kind of flying green whale covered in giant pustules. The main boss is a giant insect that splits into smaller and smaller versions of itself as you weaken it.


The next level is my favorite of the game and sees your biplane transform into a submarine and go underwater off the islands coast fighting various undersea prehistoric monstrosities.


The mid level boss is a giant prehistoric turtle that fires baby giant turtles at you.


This level features some neat details such as the wreckage of all the ships that have gone missing in recent years. In one section of the stage as you begin to descend deeper into the depths a wrecked ship from above floats down and two heads and necks of the Brachiosaurus boss you faced earlier bust out of the wrecked ship and attempt to grab you. The effect used to create the dinosaurs neck is admittedly sort of cool for the time and its nice to see it used again.


The boss of this stage is a giant nautilus type monster that uses the same effect that the necks used for its to grasping tentacles. If you to happen to get grasped by one of the tentacles you are dragged to the mouth where you are chewed apart and pieces of wreckage are spewed out.


The final stage takes place in what appears to be a volcano but overall is not very interesting.


Your mid level boss is an angry Stegosaurus that jumps around and knocks stalactites on you. The “veggie” eating dino’s out for your blood and kind of the whole vibe I get from this game does kind of make me think of the island from King Kong, well at least the original version.


The final boss is actually kind of silly. Its a Tyrannosaurus but all you get to fight is his head as he comically bobs back and forth across the screen. I understand the fight is supposed to give you an impression of his massive scale and the bobbing is to awkwardly simulate his walking but it all just kind of comes off as comical. He breaths fire and gives off a Godzilla roar as well.


Defeating this final boss grants you an ending cinema and a job well done…and a horrible death. yep, that’s right, after defeating the fearsome and awkward Tyrannosaurus you dock with your mother aircraft which is then promptly attacked by a flock of pterodactyls and destroyed, your dead, the end…oh sorry. SPOILER!

I really enjoy this game. For the time it was released the sprites are nice and the levels and enemies are varied. I really enjoyed the theme and it made me feel like I was playing an interactive version of some of my favorite movies as a kid such as The Land That Time Forgot/The People That Time Forgot or exploring the dinosaur island from King Kong. As far as I know this game was never ported to other systems outside of the arcade. I think there was some kind of digital download version for the PSP but that’s really no different from just running the game on an arcade emulator. There was in fact a sequel created in 2000 by the title Prehistoric Isle 2 but in my opinion the game is horrible. The premise is okay and involves you flying either a Soviet Hind or American Apache helicopter against invading dinosaurs and rescuing civilians but the game turned out bland and lacking any charm the original had. Most of the enemies aren’t even recognizable dinosaurs but just generic monsters, most of the levels are pretty boring. The game is done in a sort of 3d style that has not aged well and that I find generally unpleasant.


A place for the pc collector

I ❤ Old Games!

Probabilmente il miglior blog bilingue al mondo*

Waltorious Writes About Games

Game-related ramblings.

NekoJonez's Gaming Blog

My Gaming Timeline

Evelynn Star

Lynn talks about video games, records and books ...

Retro Megabit

Sharing My Retro Video Game Collection.

133MHz's Junk Box

Random electronics and gaming crap


Chronogaming project featuring reviews, screenshots, and videos of the entire Super Nintendo library in release order.

Retrocosm's Vintage Computing, Tech & Scale RC Blog

Random mutterings on retro computing, old technology, some new, plus radio controlled scale modelling.

The PewPew Diaries.

Work(s) in Progress!


1001 video games and beyond

retro computing and gaming plus a little more


retro computers and stuff


Stay Jispy!

%d bloggers like this: