Monday, September 20, 2010

Retro Game of the Day! M.A.C.H. 3

Retro Game of the Day! M.A.C.H. 3

M.A.C.H. 3 by Mylstar, released in the arcade in 1983.

Now here was a game that really impressed me. Laserdisc games were quite a spectacle in the early 1980s, as titles like Dragon's Lair and Space Ace looked so phenomenally better than anything else available at the time, with one major caveat; these games were essentially playing back one of two sequences ("continue" or "die"), so the gameplay was fairly limited and not terribly controllable. It was a fair enough trade-off for such unbelievable visuals.

M.A.C.H. 3 rectified this, by superimposing traditional in-game graphics over a prerendered video "background." No one was going to mistake the sprites for part of the actual footage, but the gameplay experience was so enjoyable that it didn't really matter. That's right, unlike other laserdisc games, you actually had full control over this game in a traditional sense (even if the actual "gimmick" part of the game was non-interactive, technically).

To further sweeten the deal, there were two styles of play: some missions were top-down shooting levels, and others were 3-d behind the plane (a la After Burner). This game had it all! Ultimately, the game itself was not much to write home about but the experience of "flying over real footage" was quite the spectacle. I was surprised not to see more games follow up in this vein; especially considering how successful M.A.C.H. 3 ended up being.

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