1992 was a really fun year. I’d just turned 10 and was already familiar with a number of different arcades. The ones I more commonly frequented had neo geo machines in them, but there was still the bowling alley that had a number of pinball machines, sit-down cabinets, and classic style arcades. I’m saying this because I didn’t JUST play neo geo games, though I’m sure it might sound like that eventually! There are 82 games this year, so let’s get to it.
#5 – Art of Fighting
It may not seem like much now, but the ability to zoom in and out repeatedly to expand the battlefield and contract it was considered revolutionary when it first started happening with Art of Fighting. That’s not to say that other games didn’t have raster or zooming, but as far as fighting games went, especially with larger models, not really. Art of Fighting also took the unfortunate low road of having only a couple of selectable fighters, something that thankfully would be more or less abolished as fighting games evolved.
#4 – Total Carnage
This game is insane. It’s part Smash TV, part bullet hell shooter, part parody, and part balls to the wall super actiony shooter. If you’ve seen my drunkcast of it, then you already know. If not, enjoy the treat. This is a game that’s fun to play again and again, preferably with a buddy, and there are even multiple endings. This is a criminally overlooked classic shooter that deserves your attention.
#3 – Cadillacs and Dinosaurs
I don’t think I got to talk about this one on my Brawler of the Year series, so here goes. Capcom really is the king of brawlers. In this one alone you have running, several variations of combos, lots of enemy variety, lots of weapons and weapon variety, a freakin’ car, 4 playable characters with varying strengths and weaknesses, and a whole lot more. It was based on a cartoon I never watched, but that doesn’t matter; this is one of the best brawlers of all time…but still only the second best for this year.
#2 – Golden Axe – The Revenge of Death Adder
I STILL stand by my decision that this is the top brawler this year. Just like I stated for 1992, this one also has mounts, multiple characters to select from, and magic. However, this time around there’s a greater attention to graphical and animated detail, more devastating and brutal magic, more characters to select from, and is far more epic overall. This is an incredible brawler and the best one for this year…so what could possibly wrest this masterpiece from the top of the arcade mountain?
#1 – Mortal Kombat
A game that is itself a mountain. MK was surrounded in controversy when it first came out and started the means for establishing the ESRB. It was necessary because this was one of the first games to allow for fatalities, there was constant blood (though not a whole lot of it compared to today’s games), and the characters weren’t just life-like; they were ripped from people ACTUALLY doing shit.
It’s pretty dated now, but back in the day there used to be crowds of people huddled around this game and the competition would get intense. Kids (and parents) went even more berserk at the prospect of a ported version coming to various consoles. It really was a trend-setter and we wouldn’t have a lot of the games we have today if not for MK.
There was no way anything else was going to come close to Mortal Kombat this year. This was a year of many great games, but it wasn’t too terribly hard to select a top 5. My selections shine far above and beyond most of the rest that was offered this year. Definitely give them a go if you’ve never heard of them or if you simply never got a chance to go back and play them.
Truth be told I only had about 10 must plays this year. There really are a lot of great runner ups, but they’re buried under obscurity. Some of these I’d never even heard of and I’m always pleasantly surprised when I find rare gems while digging through gaming history. So far the 90s has proved to be very entertaining to go back through, so I can hardly wait to see what else I can dig up.
Bakuretsu Quiz Ma-Q Dai Bōken
Baseball Stars 2
Big Fight – Big Trouble in the Atlantic Ocean
B. Rap Boys
Capcom World 2
Chatan Yarakuu Shanku – The Karate Tournament
Cosmo Gang the Puzzle
Diet Go Go
Fatal Fury 2
Fighter & Attacker
Final Star Force
G.I. Joe – A Real American Hero
Golden Fire 2
Grid Seeker – Project Storm Hammer
Guardians of the ‘Hood
King of the Monsters 2 – The Next Thing
Koutetsu Yousai Strahl
Quiz & Dragons – Capcom Quiz Game
Quiz Meitantei Neo & Geo – Quiz Daisōsasen Part 2
Sand Scorpion Sasori
Street Fighter 2 – Champion Edition
Street Fighter 2 Turbo – Hyper Fighting
Super World Court
Varth – Operation Thunderstorm
Warriors of Fate
Wild West C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesa
Yes/No Sinri Tokimeki Chart
Zing Zing Zip