If you grew up playing video games during the ‘80s and ‘90s, the 18 arcade titles contained in DotEmu’s just-released Irem Arcade Hits ($10) are going to bring back a rush of memories. The collection includes some really seminal titles from the era when games were transitioning from 8- to 16-bits, as well as lesser-known releases and interesting sequels. If Irem’s name isn’t familiar, it’s the developer that originally released the Sega/NEC hit shooter R-Type, Nintendo’s Kung Fu, and Sega’s Vigilante, as well as many other good to great games.
Fans of 8-bit consoles will find the original arcade version of the NES game Kung Fu here as Kung-Fu Master alongside the beat-em-up Vigilante. Familiar from 16-bit consoles are the awesome platformer Ninja Spirit and shooters such as Gunforce and Image Fightr, while Japanese arcade game lovers may recall Dragon Breed, the amazing submarine game In The Hunt, obscure shooter R-Type Leo, and a street brawler called Undercover Cops. Several other Irem titles, including the Street Fighter-wannabe Superior Soldiers, Japanese-influenced Hammerin’ Harry and Legend of Hero Tonma, are also in the mix alongside Gunforce II, Cosmic Cop, and other games. While the emulation sometimes leaves a little to be desired in the keyboard department, and the games shift awkwardly between aspect ratios in filling the on-screen window, this is a very cool collection of classic and near-classic arcade titles from a developer that deserves to be remembered.