Monday, 13 November 2017

Arcade gaming in Cleethorpes

Hi all, Ted here back with another write-up! Last week I was staying in sunny Cleethorpes on the Lincolnshire coast- I was meaning to go there while I was in Skegness as it isn't too far from there, but I didn't manage to find the time. But, of course, I have now.

I had actually been earlier in the year, although before I was writing this blog, (and I didn't give a few of the arcades a proper looks) but I did have at least an idea of what games would definitely be there.

Fairworld Amusements

While most arcades nowadays have been renovated and made more modern, Fairworld was an example of the type of British arcade that has had little done to it over the years- at least in its decor. It looked incredibly dated and dimly lit- and that's usually a sign to me that there's going to be some classic games!
Sadly there has been numerous changes to the games line up over the years, with a indoor crazy golf course having been added a few years back which got rid of some games and more gambling machines unfortunately.

When I went back in February earlier this year, Fairworld still had a good line up of classics- including a Street Fighter II. Sadly things have changed once again, as Fairworld have added a new shooting range- and a large chunk of space has gone.

From memory, Fairworld also had a great lineup of Sega arcade racers, including Sega Rally 2 and the uncommon Le Mans 24, although they seem to have vanished. However, one still remained- Scud Race!

Scud Race is what I think to be a fine mix of OutRun 2 and Daytona USA- similar drifting mechanics and engine to Daytona, but a similar hyper-realism aesthetic to OutRun, as well as featuring real cars.
While the cab overall was very well kept and clean, there were some control issues with the left side's steering wheel, and there was sadly no music- just the sound effects. Still, Scud Race is rather hard to find in arcades now, and at 50p a play I enjoyed several credits.

Here's some rather bad gameplay- bear in mind I was having to do this one handed, on automatic transmission, and I have had nowhere near as much experience with this game as Daytona or OutRun 2... excuses excuses :(

The marquee may say it's a 5th Mix, but this DDR is actually an Extreme!
The pads were good on this machine, and I really liked the unique instructions made for it. Gave the machine a old and kind of ghetto look.
Manx TT and Time Crisis 2- two games that have been arcade staples for years now. The latter was £1 for 3 credits, so I enjoyed a quick playthrough of the game!

The Mint

Not much to be found here I'm afraid, probably the worst of Cleethorpes arcades. Mario Kart is fun enough, but there wasn't much else.


The arcade with the newest games in Cleethorpes, Kingpin had a fair selection of modern games.
It was nice to see both GRID Deluxe and Star Wars Battle Pod- both are fairly expensive machines with deluxe features. The seat sub-woofer in GRID is really quite effective!
This was already down to 50p a play! I've seen Battle Pod priced at £2 and £3 before, so this was a nice surprise. 

Fantasy World

Lastly, we have Fantasy World- and what a history this place has. Over half the space currently isn't in use due at the moment thanks to a pretty unsafe children's play centre, and unfortunately the owners have put replacement equipment in the arcade area, which has of course had an effect on the games. However there are still some left, thankfully.

Sega's Cool Riders is easily the biggest surprise out of all the games in Cleethorpes- I hadn't even heard of this one when I first saw it here!
Cool Riders is basically a OutRun spin-off, and looks to have been built off of OutRunners. It's very similar indeed, the only major differences being that you're on bikes instead of cars, and the game uses digitised sprites- an odd move for Sega indeed. Other than that it's literally the exact same game- same stages, same ridiculous stereotypes, same gameplay, in fact the game even calls itself OutRiders on a few screens!
It's obscurity is mainly down to it's minimal release. Cool Riders had a limited release in Japan and the US, and Europe didn't even officially get it- the machine I was playing on was in Japanese, as such. This is mainly due to the fact it ran on the H1 arcade board, which was used for literally nothing else. This makes it a nightmare to get working in MAME. 

It also got negative reception when it was released- Cool Riders is actually the very last Super Scaler game Sega made, in 1995. Compared to Manx TT and Namco's Cyber Cycles, the game looked incredibly outdated, and as such most arcades didn't buy it.

I did end up enjoying the game and I think you can appreciate it a bit more now that older games aren't judged by their technical performance. There are a lot of very arcade racer-like design choices made in this game, like UFO abductions in Roswell, jumping off a ramp to go flying through the White House in Washington, and a laughter track whenever you crash.

Unfortunately the machine had a few faults. The CRT's could do with some adjusting, the music is pretty loud, almost to the point it hurt my ears, and the steering pulls slightly to the right in neutral position on both sides. However I am fairly certain this is the very last one left in the UK so I enjoyed playing it while I did, even though the steering was a bit of a hindrance.

More OutRun fun with OutRun 2 SP! This is the yellow type DX cab- not as impressive as the hydraulic one, but still better than a twin cab.
One thing that's odd about this version is that is has paddle shifters instead of up-down ones. They take some getting used to but it does make it easier to control the wheel while drifting, as you do have both hands on it at the same time.
Fantasy World had a nice line of DDR cabs, the usual suspects- Euromix 1 & 2 and Fusion. I didn't try any of these, as not only was I running out of time in the arcade, they all looked pretty broken and sad anyway, so I didn't want to take any chances with them. Apologies for the poor quality on this one, they're all next to the bowling section and there were a few employees circling around this area. Didn't want to be told not to take any pictures!

Also in the arcade was a Silent Hill Arcade! This was in pretty nice condition, the rear projector was in good shape, and the curtains were still intact, surprisingly.
That concludes my write up of the arcades in Cleethorpes! While there were a few disappointments, Cool Riders was a nice surprise, and it's always great to find decently priced games like the Time Crisis 2 and Star Wars Battle Pod. I don't know when I'll be back in Cleethorpes next, but I hope it will still have some of the older games, especially Cool Riders and Time Crisis 2. Hope you enjoyed reading.


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