Tokyo Wars1

Genre: First Person Action
Year: 1996
Developed by: Namco
Published by: Namco
Platforms: Arcade
Feeling Like: PULL OUT! PULL OUT!

If other arcades are cabinets, Tokyo Wars is an entire kitchen. Impossible to miss at Johnny Zees, racking itself on the far right wall ensured you were bombarded with “ENEMY TANK TO THE REAR!” if you took more than ten steps in from the front door. It’d be borderline rude not to give it a go.

Four players can sit in unnecessarily large seats, complete with speakers nestling right next to your ears. Your POV was either third person (lame) or first person, with the tank’s cannon soaring above you (amazing). It’s team white versus team green – first to eliminate the other wins. It was an easy sell, as neither Kasim, Eric, Dobbo or myself had girlfriends. We weren’t interested in drinking yet and we had an afternoon/evening/2am to kill. Tokyo Wars it is.

Winning was easier said than done, however. We almost always ran out of time before we could get those last few elusive enemy tanks. A ploy, no doubt, to suck more quarters out of us. We had more tanks remaining, but we didn’t vanquish team white. That’s as good as a tie and that simply won’t do.

You don’t exactly have a lot of defensive capabilities, aside from hiding behind one of the walls and hoping nobody sees you. The name of the game is to try and kill 1.5 enemy units before you are inevitably gunned down. A one to one ratio won’t cut it. This means sneaky cuts, lots of ineffective shouting and praying you can hit the broad side of a tank. If you manage to get the health pick up, you might stretch out your run to a legendary 3/1 ratio, but in all likelihood death will find you. Thankfully, the respawn time is mercifully short.

Tokyo Wars2
This was the only picture I could find, trust me, Johnny Zee’s had bigger and better chairs.

There’s not much too it, but there doesn’t need to be. Any excuse to get all of your friends in on the same game deserves some reverence, but I can’t put it any higher since there really only were a few instances of me actually playing Tokyo Wars. I think I’ll remember the announcer the most. He strays dangerously close to being obnoxious; certainly unhelpful. “ENEMY TANK TO THE REAR!” loses importance when the map at the top shows every single enemy and if they are indeed to your rear. “PULL OUT! PULL OUT!” doesn’t trigger any potential strategies, since this is announced as you’re getting killed.

No matter. Tank games will always be hit and miss for me, but four player arcade games are a bulls-eye every time.

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