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Gunblade NY & L.A. Machineguns Arcade Hits Pack (Wii) artwork

Gunblade NY & L.A. Machineguns Arcade Hits Pack (Wii) review

"With Sega releasing a light-gun title on the Wii at nearly a yearly rate, you'd think a Virtua Cop collection would be inevitable. Instead, Wii owners get blindsided by one of the most unexpected releases ever: Gunblade NY and L.A. Machineguns on one disc."

It's no surprise the Wii has seen an influx of light-gun titles; always an endangered species on consoles, with the creation of the Wii's default motion controllers, the Nintendo system has acted as a safe haven for the genre, because you really don't need to buy a special peripheral for these titles. Sega, notably, has gotten in on the act by releasing ports of arcade games, such as Ghost Squad and The House of the Dead 2 & 3 Return, as well as a new title, THotD: Overkill. With Sega releasing a light-gun title on the Wii at nearly a yearly rate, you'd think a Virtua Cop collection would be inevitable.

Instead, Wii owners get blindsided by one of the most unexpected releases ever: Gunblade NY and L.A. Machineguns on one disc.

Last I checked, no one has seriously clamored for home conversions of either title. Then again, the chance to play two, nearly-forgotten arcade titles on a console is alluring. However, once you get your hands on this disc and play, you soon realize why it wasn't really a memorable "series". The problem is that neither game has a solid amount of content, even by light-gun standards. Though, first impressions may have you figuring otherwise: Gunblade NY and L.A. Machineguns incorporate a style of play where your characters fly around in a dizzying manner around the action. The thing that makes these two titles stand out from the norm is that it doesn't stare at one location as baddies pop out to shoot you. With the concept of flight, the direction and angle of the camera constantly switches as you try to gun down foes tap-dancing and hopping around your bullets.

While I applaud the development team for trying something different with the genre, the execution is a bit of a disappointment. Gunblade NY, a Model 2 title, is the worst of the two in this department, acting almost like a prototype. At any given time, there's normally three to four android terrorists (don't ask) on screen, either running or bouncing around like idiots, while only one bothers shooting a missile at you, with another following shortly after. It's rare that you see more than that shoot at the same time. That's the game in a nutsh... you know what? That's the game, period. It has this erratic camera aspect, mixed with enemies acting like they came from the circus, that gives the illusion this is an epic, action-packed title, when, in reality, it's a very basic light-gun shooter underneath. Even its New York backdrops are lifeless and dull, like you're defending a ghost town. I mean, Virtua Cop 2, which came out the same year, has more life with its car chases, people scattering to safety, and locations with plenty of stuff to destroy.

L.A. Machineguns, a Model 3 game, tries to be a superior product, and while it has a more refined approach, it has almost the same pitfalls as its predecessor. One thing it does right is give you more lively backdrops, with vehicles moving through the streets and whatnot. Another neat aspect is panicking civilians mixed in with the circus act, meaning you have to concentrate more... I know, it's sad I have to treat a light-gun staple as a highlight here. Though, I find it more disturbing the game gives points for destroying cars with innocent people inside, yet docks a few thousand for killing running civilians. Unfortunately, L.A. Machineguns shares Gunblade NY's focus on being showy, again abusing players with shaky camera angles and acrobatic baddies. You're basically getting the same game with better graphics and a bit more stuff happening on screen.

If that aspect was the only major gripe I have with both games, I would consider this two-pack fun to a certain extent... if you can find it very cheap. But it's not. There's this one glaring issue that bogs down the action, sadly. Cursors are there to guide you, to help identify where bullets are going, right? Well, both titles have big ass circle cursors, or circle jerks, and the tiny bullets shoot right in the center of these rings, which obviously causes you to miss targets by a narrow margin. Mix that with the nauseating camera and the bouncy enemies, and you have this problem every time you want to hit someone. It's very annoying. The development team could've given us cursor options, like what was offered with THotD 2 & 3 Return, but I guess that was way too much to ask for.

That brings us back to this question: why these two games? I never once recall either title making a huge impact at the arcades. They just kinda came and went, with one person, once in a blue moon, asking if anyone remembers an arcade cabinet with huge machine guns. I have trouble accepting the possibility of a meeting taking place at Sega, with people suggesting a Virtua Cop compilation, only to be overruled with a "No! I want my Gunblade NY! NOW!!"

Someone goofed.


pickhut's avatar
Community review by pickhut (June 11, 2011)

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honestgamer posted June 11, 2011:

This was one of your strongest reviews in a while, pickhut. Your writing style was lively and you made good points about missed opportunities and the problems with what the game attempted. I actually saw one of the two games at the arcade that used to be located in the mall where I lived in Bend. It looked mildly amusing but I didn't find myself with a quarter to spare. This compilation sounds like a pretty big disappointment.
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pickhut posted June 11, 2011:

Really? Thanks. I was kinda hoping it would be good, but I had my doubts. I played a bit of Gunblade NY back in 1999/2000, so I had a chance to wrap my hands around one of those guns. My memory is foggy, but I think they rumbled, too. I never made it past the first stage, surprisingly.

Also, probably wishing for a "complete" Virtua Cop collection on the Wii may be asking too much XD. I'm not really sure how powerful Virtua Cop 3's hardware is in comparison to the Wii's.
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qxz posted June 12, 2011:

Pickhut, I happen to have experienced both Gunblade N.Y. and L.A. Machine Guns, and yes -- the big, bulky, two-foot-long plastic guns do rumble. However, whoever has one (or both) of these games in their possession has to keep the machine(s) in as good a condition as possible.

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