Imagine if you took a game like R-Type and instead of a spaceship battling aliens, you were a cute little witch battling ghosts. That is essentially what Mystic Riders is. The game from Irem is one of the many side scrolling games from Japan. What it lacks in originality, it makes up for in charm. A fun game for the whole family and with the Halloween theme, a great game to play after Trick or Treating.
Your main character is a cute female witch on a broom. As with many Japanese games, she looks very young. You have two main powers, you can shoot spells that defeat your enemies. It is no different than a shooting spaceship. You shoot forward and try to kill everything. You also have a powerful move that involves throwing your broom at your enemies. It spins towards them and goes in the exact opposite direction you are pointing. This will confuse you as you move the way you point, up goes up and right goes right. But when you shoot, up goes down and right goes left. It takes a bit to get used to it and you always find yourself thinking about it. And in a game like this, where instincts and reflexes are the name of the game, you do not want to be thinking too much about the game. This is the one flaw with the game.
The graphics are colorful and there is a variety of locations and enemies to battle. From your typical ghosts to gargoyles to giant end of the level bosses (including a very tough snake like creature). You will find yourself hitting the continue button over and over to see what comes next. And you will soon realize from the amount of continues that you have to use, that this game is a true quarter muncher. If I was playing it at the arcade, I must admit that I would walk away from it. There are too many cheap deaths and you will go through money faster than an old lady at a slot machine. But since it is on MAME, you can keep continuing to your heart's content and not have to sell your jewelry to see the end of the game.
Along with the variety of enemies, there are also some power-ups to pick up and lots of treasure. The levels are littered with chests for you to pillage. I wish I could find a place that had chests everywhere, filled with gold and jewels. But that is video games and this is real life. I have not come across any places to spend all the gold you pick up, which is odd. Many of these games let you buy power-ups with your money. Granted, I have not completed the game yet, but there should have been a shop by now.
Mystic Riders is a very enjoyable game. It is a quarter muncher, but a fun game. The gameplay is nothing original but the charm is there. None of the creatures are too scary, which makes it an ideal family game. You can have two witches at a time battling the forces of evil. Give it a try, you may also fall under its spell.
This is just a review of the arcade machine. If you are looking for the actual arcade machine, you may want to check out ebay. Click below to see if you can find this game.