Interesting home adaptations of games from the arcade

I’ve been playing Hyper Crazy Climber and it gave me an idea for a new thread: let’s discuss and share interesting home versions or adaptations of arcade games. The word interesting is of course very much open to your own interpretation, it could be an accomplished port for technical reasons, or a very different translation of the concept with a personality of its own, or perhaps it could just be the new control method that manages to stand out.


Hyper Crazy Climber, PlayStation, 1996, Nichibutsu

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So why did Hyper Crazy Climber give me the idea for this thread? I mean, at first glance it just looks like a PlayStation sequel to Crazy Climber 2, right?

It’s true, at its core Hyper Crazy Climber does delivers another six stages of solid climbing action in the vein of Crazy Climber 2, where your character must avoid all sorts of menaces for anyone glued to the side of a building, whether it be falling projectiles, closing window frames, or electric monsters to slow you down. And the symmetrical controls do still force you to think through every step you make, lest you fall to your doom because you left one hand in wake of a closing window.

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So far so good, then. But developer Nichibutsu must have thought just having the pure arcade experience wasn’t enough to sell a PlayStation disc in the late 90s, so instead it was decided to put all six levels on a world map, available independently, add a slot machine, and turn the levels themselves into a grind of sorts to fuel the slots minigame.

You see, the real aim of the game isn’t to just clear all the tough-as-nails stages, it’s actually to collect three red and green apples from the slots, which then grant you a chance to visit a bonus stage to collect falling crystals from flying angels. -However-…

…to get just one red or green apple, you need to win at the slots…But to play the slots you have to have coins…But to acquire coins you have to clear stages…you get the idea.

And the bonus stage you play in return for three red and three green apples? You need to collect 100 crystals (pretty challenging but fun) AND beat the level afterward. You’ll get a gem for your efforts, but you’ll need one from every level of the game.

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So the game flow has shifted to this:

  1. Repeat play levels from stages 1 through 6 for coins
  2. Spend coins at the slots to get apples
  3. Use up all your apples at an attempt at the bonus game
  4. Clear the bonus game and the level for a gem
  5. Return to 1) if you haven’t got all six gems from all six stages

It turns what is normally a fun, high-score chasing game into a slog, the only reason you find yourself replaying levels you already cleared is to rinse them for coins, it’s pretty surprising how this set-up completely changes your motivation to want to play the game.

But that’s what makes it so interesting, since I wasn’t expecting this at all from it. I didn’t bother reading the manual, so upon clearing the extremely difficult stage 6 (after what must have been over a hundred goes) I was rather shocked at being dumped straight back at the world map screen. I was hoping to see the credits eventually, but to win this game may well be to not play it at all due to the sheer amount of pointless grinding involved. It’s a shame this sort of experimentation was so poorly thought out.


What are your picks for notably interesting arcade conversions and adaptations?

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In 2006, Bandai release Mobile Suit Gundam: Bonds of the Battlefield exclusively for Japanese arcades. A first-person multiplayer online shooter, Bonds of the Battlefield big selling point was its high-immersion enclosed “caspule” cabinet, using a scaled down version of the O.R.B.S technology that was developed for the cancelled Starblade: Operation Blue Planet. It was a big success and despite a lot of its appeal coming from the design of the cabinet, it stood reason that porting it to consumer format would be profitable.

So, they did. To the PSP.

Kidō Senshi Gundam: Senjō no Kizuna Portable*
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To be honest, it’s not bad! While the graphical downgrade is big as expected, the port adds a few extras like a tutorial, 1p matches with custom rules and more mobile suits and areas. The fighting system has enough depth to not immediately wear out its welcome, though it’s not Gundam Vs. or anything. It lasted me quite a few rainy bus rides.

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Huh. Yeah there are a few of these, in various ways.

I guess you have Contra and Super Contra for the ultimate ‘better than the arcade’ games on Famicom/NES. Horizontal orientation, smaller sprites, less animation and brighter colours took the same gameplay and ‘fixed’ it, taking a cool idea with wonky execution and basically perfecting it. (I feel like 80s developers as a whole were not ready for 16 bit hardware but that’s a broader thing!).

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I’m keeping an eye on Crusin’ Blast on the Switch, because it seems to add a substantial amount of stuff that wasn’t in the arcade title. I wonder if covid might explain Raw Thrills’ shift to consoles here.