Astro City Mini is bringing Sega arcade classics home
Astro City or atrocity? Well, the first one, obviously
(Extremely Ringo Starr voice) Hel-lo, what's this? Sega have announced an Astro City Mini console for this year; based on their extremely popular arcade cabinet, it packs in 36 classic Sega arcade games - and only ten of them have been announced so far, meaning it's here we go again with the speculation!
Here's the announced roster so far:
Alien Syndrome, Alien Storm, Golden Axe, Golden Axe: The Revenge Of Death Adder, Columns 2, Dark Edge, Tant-R, Virtua Fighter, Fantasy Zone and Altered Beast.
Several of the expected titles on there - and there's bloody Altered Beast again - but there are definitely some interesting deep cuts and choices even in this little lot. Virtua Fighter is an extremely welcome conclusion and also implies further 3D titles could be included. There's also an official outing for Golden Axe: The Revenge of Death Adder, an extremely entertaining and rarely-seen little gem (though it's hitting Arcade 1up soon, as well), and what I believe is a first-ever home release of sprite-scaling fake-3D beat-'em-up Dark Edge.
Yer usual HDMI out is present, and the six-button arcade setup has a micro-switched joystick, which means it should be nice and clicky. My enormous hands may struggle with this setup, though; I hope there'll be an option to use some sort of larger hardware to control it. There are extra USB slots for additional players, so we shall see. At a glance it closely resembles the rather crap Neo Geo Mini, but the quality of the stick and (presumably) not being limited to four measly credits per session makes this a more enticing prospect, not to mention the fact that the games here are less widely available than the Neo Geo library.
What's coming, though? That's the real question. I'd like to see Shinobi, Shadow Dancer and ESWAT, but Sega have such a rich archive of arcade games to choose from. Get Flicky on there - absolute banger, that. Maybe Alex Kidd: The Lost Stars will finally see a re-release, too. The capacity for additional players makes the under-rated Quartet a compelling option. I figure that for various compelling reasons we're not getting Michael Jackson's Moonwalker, but a man can dream. Are driving games off the menu, due to the lack of steering wheel? Is Outrun fun to play with a joystick? I suppose there's no chance of the lesser-known AB Cop without it, but it would be great to see some more rarities. I've no doubt we will, if the terrific Mega Drive Mini is anything to go by; and who knows, maybe this will be hackable too.
That's if it comes to the West at all. Not that it's going to stop me importing one; personally I think these mini systems are the best things ever made, better even than penicillin and the wheel, so I will be nabbing this at the first opportunity. And that opportunity appears to be at the end of this year for 12,800¥, which is just under £100. Or, for the Americans among us, $120 or so.