Thanks to Flying Tiger Entertainment for the review code
Title: Johnny Turbo’s Arcade: Night Slashers
System: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Release Date: 11/08/2018
In this belt scrolling action game, you take control of a team of three investigators, who set out to seek and destroy the cause of paranormal activity spreading around the world!
It’s been a while since the last release in the Johnny Turbo Arcade series, and in that time I had some hope that the issues I had with their emulator’s presentation would be ironed out, especially after how Nitro Ball showed how awful that blur filter can be. I’m very disappointed to say that nothing has changed in that time period, so all the filter and display options I’ve gone over before are here, meaning that the tiny bit of blurring is still over the game, regardless of your selected display option. Being a horizontal game, this isn’t as bothersome as Nitro Ball, but it’s very irritating that there’s no way to fully enable the sharp, crisp pixels.
The game itself looks pretty average, using a similar art style to Data East’s other early 90s games such as Tumblepop, Spinmaster and Wizard Fire, so there’s really nothing new to note outside of the game’s excessive use of blood, a bit unusual for the time period, but sure enough every undead enemy you slay must die with blood despite already being dead. Besides that, the game looks like a typical brawler.
The music and sound on the other hand, are fairly competent. While none of the tunes are memorable, they are well composed, and the sound effects have a satisfying feel to them. Unfortunately, I noticed a few emulation issues related to the themes for Stages 2, 3 and 4, which have a bad tendency to stutter and lag for no apparent reason, usually when a lot of enemies are on screen or when a flashy special move is executed. Looking up footage of this game online, it seems this is not something that’s supposed to happen in-game, leaving this as an emulation issue related to the JTA wrapper.
Night Slashers is your typical belt scroller, with several different stages you and up to two extra players can go through to beat down the undead. As per usual for the genre, you have a basic attack button, a jump button, and a special move button which causes your character to execute a powerful screen clearing move at the cost of some health, with the special move differing depending on if you’re in mid-air or not.
Each stage tends to have a mid-boss, followed by the end boss, with their health bars growing bigger and bigger the further you progress during the game. Not only can you mash the attack button to do your typical combos, but you can also hold down the attack button in order to use a special move exclusive to each character. Don’t hold down for too long, though, or else they’ll get tired out!
Sometimes there will be a bonus stage to break up the flow of the game, with two in total, and the game even throws in two autoscrolling segments as well, which require you to simply dodge incoming obstacles to make it to the next part of the stage. Besides those rare bits, Night Slashers is a zombie-filled belt scroller from start to finish, and upon beating it I didn’t really feel like it did anything special that was lacking from other brawlers.
Per usual, the Johnny Turbo Arcade version of this game doesn’t include any DIP Switch options in the slightest, meaning you’re stuck on the default settings from start to finish. As always, I still express disappointment at this decision since I do enjoy being able to tweak these games to my liking, either to make the game more challenging or a lot less stressful. In Night Slashers’ case, it’s more in the middle, so this difficulty curve actually works out pretty well for high score chasing, although the last few bosses won’t hesitate to kill you in a few hits.
In conclusion, Night Slashers is yet another Arcade rerelease with barely any effort into making customization options available. The core game itself works fine and is an average belt scroller, but considering the audio emulation issues and the blur filter that’s still on these games, this release could have been handled a lot better, especially considering how this is actually the very first time the game has gotten a home release! I still approve of giving obscure gems like this a new life, but I also can’t help but hope that someday in the future, the JTA wrapper will get an update to let you remove the blur filter and maybe even edit the DIP Switch options. Regardless, if you’re looking for a fun co-op game to play with two friends, this game will certainly provide an enjoyable hour of gory entertainment!
I give Johnny Turbo’s Arcade: Night Slashers a 7 out of 10.