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The CED or Capacitance Electronic Disc was a form of media that started development in the early 1960’s but did not see commercial release until 1981. In the most basic terms CED is movies on vinyl discs. The players were manufactured and sold between late 1980 and 1884 and around 1,700 titles were ultimately made available on the CED.

The players were produced in relatively large numbers in North America (about 500,000) but many individuals Ive personally talked to that were of the age to have disposable income in the early 80’s have no memory of these machines and are always shocked at the idea of movies on a vinyl record. These players were also sold in smaller numbers in both the United Kingdom and Australia.

Video quality was roughly on par with VHS standards of the time but which media looked slightly better seems to depend on who you ask with some sources saying it looked slightly better. I find that VHS seems to have held up a little better picture wise. CED was intended to be a cheap form of home movie viewing and was slated for a 1977 release but was pushed back to 1981. By that time Laserdisc, VHS and Beta were well on the scene and in the case of VHS and Beta prices were dropping to affordable levels.

My model is a relatively low-mid end RCA SGT-100W. CED players can be pretty hard to find these days at thrifts or yard sales and even on sites like Craigslist and OfferUp. eBay is always an alternative but like most “rare, collectables” prices plus shipping can be outrageous. Even on local sites like Craigslist people tend to want unreasonable amounts. I paid $50 for my player which I think is pretty fair. Interestingly though actual CED movies are quite common and cheap. I see them on a fairly common basis at thrifts and prices for all but the rarest titles are very reasonable online.

My player seen above is obviously a product of the time with bad wood grain casing but more modern players in all silver and blacks were available. These players were also marketed as “Selectovision” which is labeled in blue on the face of my player. The CEDs themselves come in protective caddies and are inserted via a long slit at the front of the machine and play mode is engaged by a large switch. Not all players used this switch mechanism and some of the more high end or late players used an auto load mechanism. This, though looking more modern, tends to be less reliable as auto load trays being more complex tend to break down more with time then the simpler manual loaders.

The switch or lever seen above on the far right is for loading and playing movies on this particular player as well as functioning as a on/off switch. It’s a little strange and awkward at first to use this thing since its nothing like the processes on a VCR or DVD player though It is worth pointing out again that not all CED players use this manual giant switch load/play method.

all the way to the left there are two lights labeled side 1 and 2. This just is there to indicate what side of the CED is playing. Much like a Laserdisc A CED only can hold about 60 minutes on each side and thus needs flipped at the half way point for standard length movies.

Rapid Access buttons are merely fast forward and rewind and video search button could be held down to rapidly skip ahead or to previous scenes. Finally the pause button does just what it says and pauses the movie though this causes thew screen to blank as the stylus is raised from the disc being played.

Here is the back of my RCA SGT-100W. As far as video and audio connections go my model only supports RF out as well as a switch for channel 3 and 4. For some reason with this machine I’ve had better luck getting an image on channel 4 then on 3. RF quality unfortunately is not very good and is the worst video output method available. Some higher end CED players do offer composite out which offers a noticeably better image as well as makes it much easier to hook a CED player up to more modern TV sets. I have read it may be possible to modify RF only players for composite but it may be easier or cheaper to just acquire a higher end CED player with composite out.

It may be a little hard to see but at the top of the player on the right hand side but more to the center is a little button. This button is used to pop a small hatch on the top of the machine to give access to the stylus.

Once this black cover is removed you have access to the stylus which is a plastic casing with a needle. This works just like a a record player and is needed to read the CED movie discs.

On my player the stylus is held on in a metal cradle with moves on rails over the disc when a CED is playing. To access the stylus there is a small latch that you pull back and then lift up the metal cover. after this is done the stylus can easily be lifted out.

These styluses can and do wear out over time and do need replacing. unfortunately they can be hard to source these days and different models may use a different type of stylus so the form factor stylus I need for this CED player may not work in a different model. Changing them though is incredibly easy and is basically just involved pulling the old one and placing a new one down in its place.

Now lets take a look at the CED movies themselves.

Here are two CED films. CEDs with mono soundtracks came in white plastic cases where CEDs with stereo sound came in blue. You never actually touch the vinyl itself or at least your not supposed to. The vinyl movie itself is in these plastic caddy carriers. When you insert the CED movie into the player it grabs the end of the case and as you pull the case out the vinyl slides out of the case it is in and onto the turntable. This is actually a really good solution RCA came up with to protect the vinyl movies as they can be very susceptible to dust and finger prints. Dust and grim can still find their way onto discs and cause skipping. repeated viewings can correct this issue.

Speaking of repeated viewings, CED movies do have a finite life and after about 500 viewings the quality can degrade considerably. For home use this isn’t to bad as it is unlikely a single individual or even a family would of watched a movie 500 times or more but for something like rental this could become an issue. This was never an issue though as CED’s were never popular enough to find a place in the rental market of the time.

The image above compares size between a CED, Laserdisc and a DVD in the case/sleeve. The CED is slightly larger then a Laserdisc and like LDs if the movie was longer then 120 minutes it ether had to be edited down or spread across multiple CED discs. Unlike LDs there were only a few widescreen versions of films released and then only in North America so the vast majority of titles seem to be mono sound and full screen format.

My friend owns an SGT 200 model that features stereo sound as well as composite output for superior image quality. I asked to test a few CED movies on it and although the Image was superior to my CED player it was still pretty lacking and suffered from continuous skipping issues likly due to an old stylus.

As far as quality goes you can expect a player with a new stylus and a CED with fairly low use to give about the image quality of a VHS though these days with second hand players and discs expect watchable but slightly lower then VHS quality as the norm for something you pick up from a yard sale or thrift store. The image from a CED seems to be more stable then an image produced from a VCR player with no tracking line issues but then you do have to tend with skipping due to possible dust issues or worn out stylus needles.

CED was meant to be a cheap means for consumers to watch movies in the home and if it came out in the 1970’s it very well may of been a success. This scenario wasn’t the case however and the CED wasn’t introduced until 1981. By this time prices for VHS and Beta players were already becoming affordable and Laserdisc was occupying the markets high end. CED wasn’t standing much of a chance even with the budget market. Even though quality and at first, price was comparable to VHS add the inconvenience of disc size and the idea of having to flip a disc mid movie and VHS was the clear winner. Not to even mention the ability of VHS to record programming. Like Laserdisc, CED could not record programs off TV but at least Laserdisc had the advantage of a vastly better image quality over both CED and VHS/Beta.

So in the end CED faded off into relative obscurity not even being remembered by the majority of consumers and movie lovers of the time. As for picking one up in modern times it’s really up in the air. CED’s really offer nothing that you cant find elsewhere. The quality is poor and none of the movies that I know of can’t be found on either VHS, DVD, LD or Blu-ray nor are any movies or special cuts of a movie available on CED that can’t be found elsewhere as well. at least with Laserdisc or even VHS there are some movies that have never found official release on DVD or Blu-ray or have features or versions not found else ware but this doesn’t seem to be the case with CED. Even VHS likely offers the same movie but in a widescreen version with comparable quality and more convenience in size and no disc flipping.

Another thing to keep in mind is price. CED movies themselves tend to be very cheap, even brand new and sealed but players seem to be relatively hard to find if not using eBay. They also tend to be expensive and are commonly tagged with words such as “Rare” and “Collectable”. In my opinion they aren’t worth more then $30 or $50 for a working player as just a novelty but most places seem to want at least $100. There is an active CED collector community and it is a neat little machine so I don’t mean to poo-poo to much on it but I do want potential newcomers to the CED to be aware. If you do find a a CED player at a thrift for a high price don’t be afraid to haggle. I had one friend find a player for $120 but after a few weeks was able to get the price down to $60.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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I came across Night Slashers as a young man at a local amusement parks arcade. I was immediately captivated by the amazing horror atmosphere and game play. Night Slashers is a 1993 Arcade release from Date East which has as far as I can tell no ports to any other system. The game is your basic beat-em-up where you scroll from left to right beating the hell out of everything in your path. What sets Night Slashers apart from other games is its excellently executed horror theme featuring various monsters such as zombies, werewolves and vampires. The game also has a pretty high gore level for the time as well as a pretty excellent sound track. There are two versions of this game, one released in Japan and then an oversees version with the various censoring that I’ll get into.

The plot of the game is pretty sparse as to be expected from a arcade game and especially a beat-em-up. The world has been overrun by the undead. Zombies, mutants and monsters of all sorts have overrun the earths armies and mankind is being slowly eradicated with only a few remaining outposts.

First lets take A look at our three intrepid hero’s which are all selectable playable characters. The “Night Slashers”, yea, sounds more like a trio of serial killers then monster slaying hero’s.

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Christopher is a Billy Ray Cyrus look alike vampire hunter, hes the most balanced character.

Jake is a reject from a failed 80’s hair band that happened to have giant cyborg arms. hes the slow powerful one of the three.

Hong-Hua is the fast and agile female character that every beat-em-up of the era required.

The version I’ll be reviewing here is the Japanese version since I feel it is the superior of the two as far as atmosphere goes. Mostly they are identical games besides some superficial censoring. The oversees version had the gore turned down and most of the blood was colored from red to green. It doesn’t really effect much as far as game play goes but the over the top horror atmosphere takes a hit from it. other changes include missing between level cut screens and the censoring of the character Christopher’s move. In the Japanese version when he ends his attack he flashes a cross but in the oversees version the cross is changed to a blue gem. A lot of Japanese companies were concerned with offending anyone in America back then so this kind of censorship was very common.

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Another change involves when the game prompts you to continue moving to the right to progress through the stage. In the oversees version its just a “GO” arrow but in the Japanese version the arrow flips over and reveals “TO HELL”, pretty clever.

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The game itself has a good variety of creatures pulled from the stock of usual suspects. Zombies, werewolves, vampires giant executioners, mad scientists, golems, elementals. Everything is nicely animated with werewolves starting out as normal looking young guys standing around in jackets before transforming into leaping werewolves and vampires looking appropriately vampireish. The highlight though is the horde of zombies. we have regular guy zombies, fat man zombies, armless zombies and my favorite the decomposing skeletal zombies that heavily remind me of “Tar Man” from Return of the Living Dead.

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Blood is everywhere, intestines hanging out, bones poking through its just very nicely done overall.

Theres also these guys that I guess are psycho’s with knives and hockey masks. They move around swiftly and do these sliding kick moves. I guess their undead though since if you look when they move their arms you can see ribs showing.

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Dispatching any of these creatures results in lots of gore and bloody piles of body parts. Here is just a sampling of the death animations.

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Bucking the trend of many games of this genre at the time there is an almost complete lack of any weaponry laying around to be used which is a shame because the nature of the game could of really benefited from it. From time to time you get knives, swords, fireball globes and brief cases to throw but its mostly a one time use weapon and is never very interesting overall.

So the game starts out with a brief summery about how the world has been overrun by monsters and the undead. At least in the English version. Since I’m playing the Japanese version I can just assume the text is basically saying the same things.

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Japanese for “BRAINS!”?

The game starts out with your group assaulting an undead overrun hospital that apparently has been taken over by a mad scientist as a base for his inhuman experiments. This stage is possibly my favorite and really sets the tone for the game. The stage starts with you driving a kick ass 80’s style van straight through the front gate, over a horde of zombies and into the side wall. The hospital itself is nicely done and full of nice disturbing backgrounds like a caged area with humans crowded in and trapped presumably awaiting to be experimented on by the mad scientist. You have elevators that bring more zombies down and body bags that roll off the morgue shelves releasing even more undead.

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I should also add that the stages to this game are in general pretty short but most do involve a sub boss fight sometimes right before the main boss battle. After a brief tour through the hospital you come across the very mad scientist. He always looked like Egon to me from Ghostbusters. I guess he took the breach of the containment unit pretty hard this time.

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He first shows up riding in on a gurney slashing a zombie to bits with a knife/scalpel before a brief exchange of words and then a battle. Most boss and sub boss battles end with a particularly gory finish for the defeated monster and I’ve attempted to get screen shots of boss and said death together. You should be able to click on any of the images for an enlarged image. Directly following the death of the doctor you are greeted by the stage boss, a somewhat appropriate Frankenstein’s monster. The monster is well done and busts from his gurney in order to kill you. His death animation is particularly well done with a melting off the flesh to a skeleton that collapses to a pile.

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The second stage is a creepy fog filled forest. This stage keeps up the atmosphere of dread as your assaulted by continuous hordes of foes.

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After battling your way through the forest you come across a stage coach and a vampire who you suspect may be behind the recent apocalypse. Before taking off in his ghostly carriage though he tells his weird ass hunch back and Satan possessed Pinocchio puppet to murder you. The way the hunch back skips across the screen as well as the puppet is just genuinely creepy. You know when you see a doll and your thinking “that’s one creepy ass doll”. That’s this doll.

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This fight is followed by a chase where your running to catch up to the carriage while werewolves are attempting to stop you. Apparently its common for monster hunters to be able to run at the same speed as a horse. Very handy indeed. Finally after NOT catching up to the carriage you come to a graveyard. The graveyard is pretty small and just has a handful of oversize generic R.I.P gravestones that fade away and turn into zombies if you touch them. It just feels like a wasted opportunity here as a great place for more atmosphere. The boss of this level is a golem. Hes actually pretty plain and boring.

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I do have to say though that with his one eye kind of bulging out like it does he always reminded me of a rock golem version of Popeye.

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Two things I need to point out at this point. One is the two mini games that you get as the game goes on in between stages. The first involves stepping on zombie heads as they emerge from the ground and the second is a zombie toss / zombie bowling where you try and toss a zombie into other zombies lined up like pins at a bowling alley. The highlight of these games is the zombie crowd watching in the background. Theres even a lady who has torn her head off. Their all in various states of decay. Along with the zombies there’s also bizarre adds plastered up like one for “Doctor Rippers hospital” who is the mad scientist of the hospital you just razed.

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Next are the well done cut screen between stages that attempt to move the plot forward.

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I love his vaguely disinterested pose and smug look here. I attempt to duplicate this look every time I drink a glass of red wine.

Anyways stage three is the head vampires castle and is filled with elevators, guillotine traps, hooded giant executioners and of course more zombies.

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The mini boss is a ghostly knight and that smirking sword in a room with a few destructible Greek busts followed immediately by a battle with the head vampire. When you kill him he turns to stone and then to a pile of goo before the sun rises.

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So with the vampire lord dead the world is saved and all is well……or not. You learn that the main menace is far more powerful so its off to South America. This stage is extremely short and takes place amid some Aztec themed ruins. There is no mini boss just a short stroll to the stage boss which is actually a pair of predators dressed as Mexican wrestlers? I dunno, its probably supposed to be demon Aztec shamans or something.

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Stage 5 takes place aboard a large transport aircraft. You have discovered the source of the worlds evil and attempt to reach it but on the way your plane is assaulted by undead, or perhaps you stowed away on a plane of undead going to the island since your plane is stocked to the brim with monsters?

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The fighting eventually leads to the roof of the plane where regardless of massive wind sheer and low oxygen you battle it out with a palette swapped undead knight just like the one you faced at the vampires castle as well as another aircraft that drops off mutants before you board it.

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On board the second aircraft you meet the stage boss. A mummy. It was inevitable, you cant have werewolves, vampires and Frankenstein’s monster and not have a mummy. Though two things always came to mind with this boss. One is that he moves and fights like some professional MMA champion fighter with his fists up and his sidestep moments. Second is he always felt so misplaced to me here on a plane. It just feels like despite the cliche of it he would of been better faced in a tomb or a destroyed museum level or  something and that’s were I find one minor fault with this game. It seems after the first few stages it just kinda drops the ball on the overall horror atmosphere. Don’t get me wrong its still really good but I always wanted more and felt they could of pulled off so much more in that specific department.

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The next and final stage takes place on a secret military base on a remote island. This is where whatever is causing this is based. Military experiment gone wrong is also cliche but in this case I like it.

When you crash land on the island base your faced with a sort of initial mini boss in the form of a Vietnam era ghost helicopter. Its somewhat transparent and you can see the dead and rotting corpses of the pilot through the cockpit and another dead soldier in the cabin. It fires at you with a nose cannon while creatures continuously attack from the sides. How to kill a ghost helicopter? punch it of course, that technique seems to work for a lot of things…..ghost helicopters, evil arch mages. When I was a kid playing this game this boss always stood out to me. I loved it and I don’t know why its not the most amazing boss in the game but it defiantly helped me remember this game as a kid.

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After this fight we enter the base proper and are faced with a sort of boss rush, or a part of a game where you have to face previous bosses one after another. Now if we follow the code of classic horror video games we can easily reach a logical conclusion of whose next. We’ve faces zombies, mad scientists, werewolves, vampires, golems, Frankenstein’s monster, the mummy…whose left? Medusa…well that’s a good guess but no. DEATH of course.

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Death tells Christopher to “talk to the hand”

Also following the nature of horror video games (I’m looking at you Castlvania) we realize that Death himself is NOT behind the undead hordes and he is just playing second fiddle to a even more powerful entity…..the cyber devil! I don’t think that’s the main villains name, its actually King Zarutz. So after Death in the form of the Grim Reaper (what other form would he take) reveals his place in the scheme of things you release him from his shame by…punching and kicking him to….DEATH. He likes to hold his scythe out and spin around like a bozo. Its a little silly but hard to avoid.

Shortly after this fight we finally meet the dreaded cyber devil, err King Zarutz. Well technically he is a cyber devil I really don’t know since its not clearly explained. I always just assumed he was a military experiment of some sort..sort of like DOOM where hell was accidentally accessed…I don’t know

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He’s not really all that impressive or gory. To be honest he was kind of a anti climatic moment. He does employ this shield that surrounds him and hurts you a lot which is really really annoying but then I’m sure he was designed to eat quarters.

Once you defeat him the base begins to self destruct and as you run to escape the flaming ruins the remains of king Z float at you. At least there’s no timer here forcing you to escape or defeat him in a specified time, I usually hate those.

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That’s pretty much It. You escape the base, It explodes and you go home. All the undead go back to being dead and everyone is happy.

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Each character has their own ending showing what they end up doing after saving the world but none of it is anything spectacular.

So overall what do I think of this game? Does it hold up from my childhood memories? well, yes. The game is just good. Even with my trivial gripes the atmosphere is pretty unique and done well. The characters all play well and have a variety of moves. I personally would of liked to see more. I wanted more levels like the first one depicting a ruined civilization overrun by monsters. I wanted usable weapons and monster placement that made more sense and just a longer overall experience would be nice as this game can be finished quite quickly. Despite that its still a great early 90’s beat-em-up and if your a fan of that kind of genre you need to check this game out.

Now normally things would end here but it seems someone was standing over my shoulder as a youngster reading my thoughts as I played this game because some years ago someone created a homebrew mod of this game that other then being unpolished and unfinished made Night Slashers everything it could of and should of been. That game is Night Slashers X

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Night Slashers X is a homebrew remake of the original Night Slashers by BonusJZ for openBOR. openBOR is an open source game engine. Its free to download and its kind of like a program that people can write games for and then play them with the program. There’s versions of it for many consoles and computer types. I actually had somewhat of a hard time finding a version and then the files for NSX itself that worked and even then I think my version may be a Beta since it crashes/ends on stage 3’s ending. I don’t know if this game was ever finished but I can say that what has been done turns Night Slashers into everything I ever wanted the game to be. There are now usable weapons, more enemy’s, a combo system, level rearrangement to make more sense, branching levels and all the stages have been touched up giving an even greater horror feel. Also bodies of enemies you kill do not flicker and fade away so at times you end up with piles of dead around you. The game does “barrow” spites from other games but for the most part its done well and only clashes with the art style of the main game rarely.

The first change you will likely notice is a bit of fan service as the conservatively dressed Hong-Hua has been replaced by the busty blond Jasmine. If your wondering her sprite is taken from the Japanese game Kurokishi from Guardians: Denjin Makai II.

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Asia’s most revered martial artist huh? I can probably think of two more reasons shes revered in Asia…….the fact shes the youngest graduating student of Tokyo University and her great contributions to preventing the spread of the Asian bird flu in China.

No, its her boobs.

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Another funny thing is that in all the between stage cut screens we still see Hong-Hua.

The touched up levels are really well done and add a lot from the original. More blood has been added. The numbers on the elevator in the hospital level light up as the elevator changes floors. Crows peck at the flesh of lying corpses and In certain areas you get lighting effects such as In the fight with Frankenstein’s monster.

Images from original on left and remake on right.

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There’s also a great variety of weapons added that can be found in random barrels. Grenades, chainsaws, shotguns, assault rifles and battle axes. Its really adds a layer of fun that was missing in the original. Another great aspect is branching levels such as In the hospital stage (now stage 2) where you can enter the elevator to reach the mad scientists secret laboratory complete with giant computer terminal and a new battle where he uses a potion to transform into a monster. One highlight is the return of that kick ass 80’s van and a drive through a ruined city. If this game was finished and polished and the sprites taken from other games done with original art this game would be beyond a doubt the definitive version of Night Slashers. Here’s some images of the game showcasing some new levels, monsters and weapons.

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(The above monster really clashes with the games art style and that’s one problem you encounter time to time with this homebrew. The creature is a boss from Kishin Douji Zenki FX: Vajra Fight on the PC-FX)

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tp1

This 1982 Konami game from the golden era of arcade games is possibly one of my favorite games of all time for just some quick game play and nostalgia. Playing this game is also one of my earliest memories. There are several versions of this game from a Colecovision port to an Xbox live digital download with enhanced graphics but otherwise identical game play. For this article though I’m only going to refer to the original arcade version as this is the version I am most personally attached to. One of my early memories is going to a diner? bar? pool hall? I don’t exactly remember but back in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s almost every place had an Arcade machine. even grocery stores and pizza parlors. anyways I remember going into one of these places with my dad and seeing this machine in all its upright arcade cabinet glory. He gave me a few quarters and I immediately went over to Time Pilot. I didn’t have many quarters and I wasn’t very skilled so I didn’t last long but I simply loved this game. Maybe the aerial time jumping appealed to the military historian inside me or maybe it was the simple but fun lateral and vertical game play but I really liked this game. It was played from a side view yet it allowed you to scroll endlessly in any direction which was kind of novel since many shooters were either vertical or horizontal scrollers. Basically the point of the game is your a modern fighter jet and for whatever reason your jumping through various time periods in aviation history and destroying a number of airplanes of that era until you come to a Boss aircraft, defeat it and you jump to the next more advanced and thus difficult era. There are also parachute guys that you can grab for points, remember when points mattered? The game only has five era’s but they are varied and interesting. Years later on visiting the arcade at a local amusement park me and my best friend spent a lot of time on this game, though its meant for one player at a time we would designate one of us to fire the gun and one controlling movement. Our system kind of worked and I remember having a lot of fun and spending a lot of time on the game.

The first era you begin the game in is 1910 where you face biplanes that occasionally fire bullets at you as well as lob bombs

tp2

The boss of this era is a blimp. All the bosses essentially operate the same as they fly across the screen and randomly fire bullets at you, never deviating. The general tactic is to line up behind them and fire away.

tp3

The second era is 1940 and here you face two types of standard enemy’s, a typical WWII mono fighter plane that fires bullets and larger bombers that fly across like mini bosses and fire at you. I get the impression these planes are more plentiful, fire more often and are slightly faster then the 1910 era but I have to say those random bomb lobs for the previous era sometimes surprised me.

tp4

The boss of this era is a larger bomber. according to Wikipedia its a B-25 Mitchell….so apparently your attacking the Americans or Canadians in this era…..as well as the B-25 being an extremely early version or a prototype since the B-25’s first flight was 1940 and did not enter service until 1941…but i ridiculously and nerdily digress. Time Pilot is not a game based on absolute historical accuracy.

tp5

The third era is 1970 where you are confronted by helicopters this time. They fly around firing bullets at you but as a twist they also fire off guided missiles that attempt to follow you but luckily their not very hard to avoid and they can be shot down.

tp6

The boss of this era is a large tandem rotor helicopter that can really only be a CH-47 Chinook. Its a big helicopter so it makes as a good boss though in actual use the Ch-47 is a utility helicopter and its usually unarmed…its also another NATO/JDF aircraft. I’m starting to think the time pilot is actually a Soviet tossed about through time as the side effect of a failed 1980’s communist time machine experiment. So hes just randomly dropping in on these eras and blindly attacking the Americans with his future jet. Also he apparently missed the history lesson on WWI and II. Though the players jet on the promotional art looks like an American F-4 Phantom II.

tp7

The forth era places you in 1982 OR 1983 if your playing the Centuri distributed USA release. Here you face jets just like your own which are fast and fire bullets and more homing missiles at you.

tp8

The big boss of this stage is just a large jet bomber that acts just like the other bosses. Wikipedia claims that this is a B-52 (again an American plane) but really it could be anything. I mean to me it kind of looks like a really big WWII nazi ME-63 Komet rocket fighter.

tp9

The final era takes us to the distant future of 2001. What was it with the year 2000 that everyone thought we would either be dead or suddenly horribly technologically advanced. Remember when Gateway was called Gateway 2000 because it sounded futuristic? Those were awesome PC’s though. Anyways this era takes place in deep space with an asteroid field in the background and your facing stereotypical flying saucer UFO’s. They fire two kinds of energy bullets at you but really its just bullets and missiles with a fancy look to them.

tp10

The boss of this era is a large mothership UFO that seems to take quite a few shots before exploding. I’m guessing all these flying saucers are piloted by Americans or capitalist aliens.

tp11

In typical fashion for the era upon defeating the mothership the game loops you back to the starting era and everything is a little harder and so on and so on. I just really love Time Pilot or as I’m starting to think of it “Time Pilot: Red Scare!”. I always find myself coming back to it through the years. It was a success in its day and I think it holds up as a fun as well as timeless game. There was a sequel of sorts, Time Pilot ’84 but this game is nothing like the original. It sort of has time jumping but I dont even recall if its on earth as all the stages are samey looking future places. Its just overall a mediocre game in my opinion. As I said there have been recent updates to the game and even spiritual successors (Time Ace, Nintendo DS) but I would love to see a true sequel with more eras and detailed enemies.

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