Evercade 03: Data East Collection 1

Welcome, one and all, the another dive into the world of the Evercade! The retro themed handheld has a great mix of different cartridges available, and today, I’m looking at the third one released. That means, it’s the Data East Collection 1!

This one contains ten games from across the company’s history. These are: Bad Dudes, Burger Time, Burnin’ Rubber, Fighter’s History, Joe & Mac 2: Lost in the Tropics, Karate Champs, Magical Drop 2, Midnight Resistance, Side Pocket, and Two Crude Dudes.

Now, this is a nice little selection overall, and covers a good mix of genres. I won’t go into Two Crude Dudes too much, as I pretty much said everything I can about the game in my original write up. I will summarise though that it’s one of my favourites, and definitely one that I think many will enjoy, even with the high difficulty level.

Fighters History is an interesting inclusion too as it was fairly controversial in its time. This was due to it being rather similar to Street Fighter II, resulting in Capcom launching a lawsuit against Data East. The outcome of that was that the similarities were acknowledged, but the lawsuit failed anyway. For me, it’s an okay fighter. Not standout, but certainly playable.

In a way, that was a case of turnaround is fair play though, as the classic Karate Champ, that is included here, was also part of a lawsuit. In this case, Data East attempted to sue Epyx Inc for the similarities displayed by their title, World Karate Championship. That also failed. Funny how things go in cycles sometimes, isn’t it? Controversy aside though, this is still a relatively deep game, and well worth playing now.

Burger Time is another early success for the company, and playing it for the first time here, I can see why. While not as nice to look at as some of the games that would follow, it’s a fun, simple game that has stood the test of time.

Oddly, I spent more time on Side Pocket than any of the other titles. I am not great at pool in real life. I enjoy it, I’m just not good at it. The same held true here. Side Pocket is actually a pretty good approximation of the sport, and the rapidly increasing difficulty in the game ensures it’s not likely to be a quick playthrough. There’s something addictive about it that kept me coming back. Meanwhile, Burnin’ Rubber was a fun little blast from the past for me, albeit one I haven’t played in a very long time and that was aided by nostalgia.

If I’m being honest, I found the other titles a little forgettable. Bad Dudes felt incredibly dated to me, and it really wasn’t much fun. The others were fine, but did nothing to keep me interested. I suspect that many will enjoy Joe & Mac 2, and I know that Midnight Resistance has its fans. For me though, they were missing something.

Data East were not my favourite developer of their era. They did have some releases that were excellent though. Captain America and the Avengers was a lot of fun, but if we’re being honest, we were never going to get a licensed title on here. I am surprised we didn’t see Mega Turrican here though, as its easily one of the best of the genre on the Mega Drive. That’s not to say the collection is poor mind you, but it certainly isn’t the best release on the system. I give this a 3.5 out of 5.

Top 3 Recommended Games: Two Crude Dudes, Side Pocket, Karate Champ

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