Do you feel it… the chill in the air? Falls is here! with it- HALLOWEEN! It’s that time of year to play some spooky games! So I thought- what better way to celebrate by doing a special COIN UP! REVIEW!

Now, we’re not doing the game everybody’s reviewed ( Ahem… Ghosts and Goblins ) we’ll do that another day. Were going to talk about a little known Halloween jem called…



monster bash cab

MB-title was released in 1982 by Sega. 1982 was an interesting time for Sega. Monster Bash was a part a Convertagame Kits- to put into their older cabinets at a lower price. In the game you play a boy named “Lil Red” who has to defeat Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster and the Chameleon man!

story halloween

redThis is your player, Lil Red. He has to move from one castle to another to defeat the monsters and save the day. He can shoot zappers from his hands to dispatch the smaller monsters in the room. But for the big guys, he’s gonna need a little more power…


Touch the sword when it’s fully energized and get SUPERZAP power to defeat the big guys! But watch out! You only get one shot, so make it count! Also, get to it before the clouds cover the moon- or it will need to be recharged again! And how do you energize that bad boy?


Why, Candles of course! Light them by running by them! Light a candle on a floor to energize the magic sword! But, watch out again! If you let the candles burn out before you reach the sword, those candles are done till they reset! Quick! Run to the next one and light it!

And when you are ready to attack, Red does this-


You only get one superzap before you have to re energize, so make it count!

Let’s get to the Monsters you are fighting…


The prince of the undead is waiting for you in his castle! he uses magic portals to get around faster. Use them to your advantage!!!

Dracula’s minions-



The Bats hang from the ceilings on each floor of the castle, but they awaken if you wander too close. Shoot it once with a zap to kill it!



This hideous man of a hundred different body parts has portals, but can also drop through the floor!

Frankenstein monster’s minions-



Werewolves move about on every floor and climb the ladders! They can also duck your zaps! Shoot them once with a zap to kill it!!!



This monster is the toughest of all! He can change color to blend in with the maze he’s in! hit one of the colored buttons on the sides of the maze to bring him out of hiding!

Chameleon man’s minions-



The spiders are EVERYWHERE! And there is a lot of them! Shoot fast or you’re a goner!

Now, let’s take a look at the rounds and see what your dealing with!

round 1

draman copy

As you can see, there are three candles on the second floor, and two on the fifth. All you have to do, is light a candle on a floor to energize the sword. Easy enough, huh? NO! Bats are hanging about! walk past them, and they will fly down to bite you! And Bats can only fly on their floor, so no going down the stairs for them! Dracula roams the corridors of the castle using the glowing portals. You can use them too! Just remember- portals are linked by color. Enter the blue portal, come out the other side at the other blue portal. Use this to your advantage! Look at the other end before jumping in- a bat or the “BIG D” may be waiting to strike!

round 2


Big changes here, kids! there’s only ONE CANDLE! Which means, you have to wait for it to reset to light it again! There’s one door to go through, but the big change in this castle is the HOLES IN THE FLOOR! Yup- on either end of a floor is a hole. Pull down on the stick to drop through it! Beware of the werewolves! they can go anywhere they want, and will gang up on you to cover any stairs, so there’s no escape! Just zap them to make ’em disappear! Watch out-  They can duck your shots! Keep shooting till you get ’em!!!


round 3


Now, this is where things get interesting! Chameleon man can CHANGE COLOR! he can disappear into the background! Quick! Use the color buttons on the side of the maze to change the maze color, exposing the Chameleon man’s location! Also watch out for his long tongue! He can get you without being near you!!! You only have one candle again, but this time, it’s in the center, surrounded by walls! Also the colored walls change location, locking you in or out of an area, so be careful! Spiders are fast, and there is a lot of them, so keep shooting!

play halloween copy

Play at home? yes.. and no. In 1986, Sega revamped ( get it? VAMP? ) Monster Bash into a true adventure platform game and renamed it…


( From the manual )

A spooky romp through Count Dracula’s incredible haunted house.

You’re Mick. And the good news is that your grandfather just told you that you’re to inherit the family jewels. A flashy collection of diamonds, rubies, sapphires, even opals. All yours.

The bad news is that they’re hidden inside Count Dracula’s mansion. They have been for years.

First, you have to wipe out the bats, Draculas, and eventually their annoying henchmen. Then, you have to find the hidden keys and passageways that should lead you to your family’s long lost treasure.

Ghoul luck — you’ll need it.

And then in 2010, I saw this on ATARIAGE-

monster-bash-scr-3 (1)

It’s a faithful recreation of the game done by Russell Kumro for the Colecovision! He’s done several arcade ports that were supposed to be on the original line up on Colecovision ( Sidetrak, Ripcord ) and judging by the video, it looks amazing!

Unfortunately, it hasn’t been released as of yet. Hopefully we will see this great game for the Colecovision in 2015!


Appearance and Sound- 


Although not perfect, the graphics were great for this type of game in 1982. They are well defined, and you can tell what everything is supposed to be. The sound is what kept this from getting a five. The music ( if you can call it that ) is awful. The sound effects on the other hand, are good! the evil laugh at the beginning of a round, and the werewolves howling really stood out to me.



This is kinda and unfair two, but playing it in MAME with my PC controller, it was dreadful. Red just comes to a dead stop at any corner, making you lose precious time. I just don’t see it getting any better on an arcade machine, but I could be wrong.



Im giving this a five in the difficulty department because it is a relentless game unless you know the secrets ( LOOK AT THE TRADING CARD!!!! ) It really keeps you on your toes!

Play ability-


I’m giving it a five in the end because, the challenge, good graphics ( In 1982 ) and level challenges keep you wanting to play again and again ( I haven’t stopped yet- and I started writing this review 4 days ago! ) so, control issues notwithstanding, and the bad music, it’s definitely worth a go!

 So, Monster Bash’s overall score is-

4 zombies out of 5

And as a special treat- here’s your special HALLOWEEN TRADING CARD! 

MB CARD frontMB CARD back


Coin Up! Review Of Pulsar!


Hello Arcaders!

Welcome to another Coin Up Review! This is something I wanted to do from the beginning- online reviews of games that we couldn’t devote an entire podcast to, but a written review would do nicely. So keep an eye out- I might review that game you have always liked, but couldn’t put your finger on the name- or you just secretly liked while playing your friends at Karate Champ.

pulsar cab

 Is a unique maze  game released by Sega/Gremlin in 1981. The player controls a tank that’s in a very strange maze. The player must collect the colored keys to unlock the airlock and escape to the next, more challenging maze.But, you are not alone… hear that heartbeat? that’s the Pulsar, looking for you! Large and seemingly harmless, it is filled with aggressors, just waiting to break out and destroy you! Get all your keys to the airlock and and try to escape… THE PULSAR!

 I first saw this astonishing game in May of 1981 at a little Mom and Pop convenience store that was right next door to my Junior High School. They had a little back room area that they would put 5 or 6 games in,  and that was great for them, as the kids would come over after school ( or sometimes, when school was in session- don’t tell my Mom!) They always got some great games in (Battlezone, Turbo, Astro Fighter) and between the candy, soda, and arcade games, the place was always hopping! And after the first play on this game, I was HOOKED!


The key to this game is speed. You get bouku bonus points completing a level with the most fuel. So, the first thing to do is assess the maze- more important, where are the keys? On top? On the sides? Remember, the maze is ALWAYS MOVING! Also, don’t be afraid to get close to an aggressor to shoot it. Running into them won’t kill you- and it’s a great way to get some fuel! And remember- you don’t have to get the keys in numerical order… you just have to get them to the keyholes!


This is your tank. It is capable of 360 degrees of movement quickly. The tank has a laser cannon powerful enough to shoot a beam across the maze at a target. It can move fast through the corridors of the maze, but at the cost of your fuel- shoot the aggressors to replenish.


This is the Pulsar. It seems to be a living organism in the maze, as the Pulsar’s heartbeat can be heard throughout it’s confines. It is following the tank, sensing wherever you are in the maze. It has no defense, and you can run into it, but what would happen if you shot at it?


This is a Yellow Aggressor. It rolls on the walls of the maze,and is harmless to the touch. shoot it for more fuel.


This is the Green Aggressor. It bounces around the maze randomly, shooting at you. It too is harmless to the touch, and if shot, helps replenish your fuel reserve.


This is the Red Aggressor. it makes a fast beeline towards you shooting quick. Again, it is harmless to the touch, and when shot will go towards  your fuel.


Keys are what you are after on all the sides of the screen. They will unlock the keyholes to the airlock at the bottom right hand side of the screen. when you grab a key, your tank’s color changes to the keys color. You have to collect different color keys for each keyhole.


The keyholes unlock the airlock, allowing you to enter the next maze. Each lock matches a corresponding colored key. You can do them in any order, but you must unlock all keyholes to successfully enter the next maze- before running out of fuel!

And now for the most dangerous enemy in the game…



I feel the biggest enemy in this game is the maze. It shifts and changes with every beat of the Pulsar’s heart. It does two things- walls open and close, and it creates deadly force fields which can kill on contact! Just when you think you have the key, or your near the exit, the walls move blocking your path!


This one’s a no- brainer… There were NO ports of Pulsar for home play that I know of (a shame) But one that was about as close as you could get at the time ( I guess ) was Tanks But No Tanks  for the Atari 2600.

I guess its cross between the tank level in Tron and the game Tank Battalion , but the movement is fast, and you shots go across the maze. The object here is to protect the base at the bottom from the screen from the oncoming tanks who want to destroy it. Not a bad game , but not very exciting.  But a good hacker COULD make this Pulsar. Also, you can play this game on the M.A.M.E. emulator http://www.mame32.com.


Appearance and Sound-


1981 was a transitional year for video game technology.  You had games like Donkey Kong and Defender pushing the limits of what a game could do at the time.  Then, you have games like Pulsar. Graphics like this were still the norm at this point, so they work just fine. The character animations are great,  and the moving maze parts add to the excitement. The sounds all work for a sci-fi game ( I especially like the sound of the pulsar exploding!) , but what really gets you going is the haunting heartbeat that you hear throughout game play. So, I think the simplicity of this game is what works.



Controls are quick, concise, and simple for a game of this era. If I had any complaint its a minor one- there’s only one fire button- on the right side- great if you are a rightie. Sega should have put the stick in the middle and fire buttons on each side. this was very typical in early 80’s arcade machines. Probably  a cost issue during it’s manufacturing cycle.



I think with the simple objective, the game gives you a few rounds to get used to the movement of the maze itself. After round 5 though, with five keys to collect, the maze changing fast, and even more aggressors, you got your work cut out for you!!!

Play ability-


With it’s simple but changeling game play, you will be coming back to play Pulsar again and again to see what else it has to offer!

So, Pulsar’s overall score is- 


I think Pulsar holds up today because it truly is a golden age arcade game- great graphics and sound for a game of this type and age, cabinet art is simple, colorful and enticing to the eye. It just keeps pulling you in for just one more try!!!

Hey gang- as a special treat, I will making collectible trading cards of all the reviews I do on the site! The front has general stats (name ,year, manufacturer) the back has game play tips! Collect ‘em! Trade ‘em! they make great holiday gifts! Please give me a shout and let me know how I did!

Thanks for reading and keep playin’ like it’s 1981!


pulsar frontpulsar back copy

the gang

Coin Up! review Of Ponpoko!


Hello Arcaders!

Welcome to my Coin Up! Review series! This is something I wanted to do from the beginning- online reviews of games that we couldn’t devote an entire podcast to, but a written review would do nicely. I will be doing these periodically so keep an eye out- I might review that game you have always liked, but couldn’t put your finger on the name- or you just secretly liked while playing your friends at Karate Champ.


Is a platform  game released by Sigma in 1982. the player controls a Ponpoko, a  tanuki that can climb ladders, walk across floors and jump over gaps and apple cores while trying to avoid green caterpillars . The player must collect all the fruits and vegetables in order to advance to the next level. There are also baskets that contain either snakes, fruits, vegetables, or other bonus items.

The first time I saw this one was in the Dream Machine arcade I worked at in the South Hills Mall in Poughkeepsie NY. Of course it was placed in the 3rd level section, destined for obscurity from day one. But that was my favorite section of the arcade, so I gave it a try- and I liked it!


you play Ponpoko, a hungry tanuki who loves his fruits and vegetables! So much so that he is willing to climb up ladders and jump over anything in his way to get to them! But watch out- feisty caterpillars run back and forth on  various platforms  to knock you down! And those caterpillars have been eating for fruit as well, for there are apple cores littered around the screen. Jump over those too- or you will fall down! Mystery pots are scattered between platforms as well. touch those, and you might get some bonus points, maybe some fruit- or a SNAKE! The snake will bite you so be careful! Finish the round in time, and get to the next level where more goodies and baddies await!


These are the treats that litter the platforms! Keep your eyes on the prize and get them all, as that’s the only way out of the round!

The first thing you will notice when you start playing this game is you have no defenses other than to jump over things or to stay on a ladder- get used to both- you will be doing them A LOT. Ponpoko walks at a good pace for a chubby thing (at least as fast as Mario) but , it’s the jump you have to get a little used to. It’s a little like he’s breaking wind and that’s what’s lifting him off the ground. the timing can be tough. Like when you have a few apple cores placed one after another. Or you have a a large crevasse you have to jump. But, it’s a learning curve you can get used to fairly quick. Now that we have talked about the game let’s look at the enemies-





These are Caterpillars. This is the main enemy you get to know quickly! They scurry back and forth on a platform, but can’t go up or down ladders. They can be jumped, but timing is crucial! In higher levels is a red and white also blue and pink  that moves much quicker so be on your toes!


This guy is the snake. He hides in a few pots in each level. you won’t know until you touch the pot, releasing him. Eerie music will play just as you touch the pot- that’s you cue to back away! They move slow, so you will have have a few seconds to get out of his way. You cant’ jump over him so just sit on a ladder until he goes by!

Apple cores are placed on the platforms. They kill on contact so don’t touch! Jumping over them is easy, until in later levels when they’re everywhere! Jumping over multiple apple cores is crucial  later on.  As you jump over one, take a small step back before jumping over the next! These are also called tacks in the flier, but I’ve always thought that they look like Atari joysticks!

Now that we got game play and strategy out of the way how about home ports? I don’t think  you could play it at home until MAME. Which is a shame as this would have been an easy port on Colecovision or even on the Atari 2600. Wait- there was one game on the 2600 which was very similar to Ponpoko- Fast Eddie!

This is very close in game play. You control Eddie, who has to collect items moving back and fourth on the platforms and jump over the Sneakers who patrol each level. once you gotten 9 items, Hi-Top, the tall orange sneaker at the top of the screen will shrink enough for you you get the key and end the level. Great game with similar strategy, but I believe that’s as close to a true port of Ponpoko as we got back then. If you know of any ports of this great game on any system our on a computer- let me know!

Now, let’s give Ponpoko a score.

I will be basing my rating on the following criteria- appearance and sound,  control,  difficulty, and overall playability. we will score each of the criteria in a number score 1-5 Arcade Guys (one being  the worst, five being the best) the numbers will be tallied in a final rating for the game- the scores for Ponpoko-

Appearance and Sound- 

I love this game. but even for 1982 the  graphics are way outdated. It would have looked and sounded great for 1980. But in 1982, we had games like Joust and Tron out in the arcades at the same time. they could have put a little more effort into it. The sounds were OK, but one sound stood out- the snake warning sound! It was perfect for that moment when you knew you had to jump back!


Now I know what your thinking. but I believe that the controls were pivotal for the game play. This game is about stealth not attack and I think the controls reflect this.


This ones a no brainer- I think that Ponpoko amps up in difficulty in a way where you have to keep playing to see the next round. Its hard but not impossible. But the white caterpillars are FAST!


Again it goes back to the games core concept- GET THE FOOD IN THE QUICKEST TIME POSSIBLE! and I think it accomplishes that well.

So, Ponpoko’s overall score is- 

It’s a very fun and addictive game- but, with the graphics and sound issues for a game dated 1982- it should have looked and sounded better.

Hey gang- Thanks for reading my first review! as a special treat, I will making collectible trading cards of all the reviews I do on the site! The front has general stats (name ,year, manufacturer) the back has game play tips! Collect ’em! Trade ’em! they make great holiday gifts! Please give me a shout and let me know how I did!

Thanks for reading and keep playin’ like it’s 1981!