TROPICAL ANGEL / Irem / Arcade

Though I visited many arcades in my youth, I never saw this one and didn't know it existed until MAME. I'm guessing that's because it puts you in control of a young lady with a chunky bunky and about as low a rise as you can get away with in a bikini bottom. There is also a button solely to make her turn around and shake her ta-tas at you, which gives you bonus points. Not the kind of thing that would fly at the local Chuck E Cheese.

It's basically a racing game, but you accelerate the boat and steer the jet-skiing girl behind it around rocks and through checkpoints. You would think you could just follow the wake, but the boat has the mysterious ability to phase through rocks so they'll still end up right in your path. The game is divided up into a few different "tests" (each test just being a new course), and as you complete sets of them you are rewarded with a cheesecakey shot of Miss Angel frolicking on the beach ... though in some of these shots she actually has more clothes on than she does during gameplay.

Like Hang-On and Outrun, the game is based on time rather than lives. You can crash all you like, the game only ends when the timer runs out. You add more time by steering through the various checkpoint flags, but unlike these other racers you can actually miss the flags and miss out on the time boost. Various jump ramps are strewn about too; these aren't a strategic advantage so much as they just add some more points and give you another animation of Miss Angel to ogle.

It's actually an alright little racer, with both a novel premise and better-than-usual graphics for 1983. But between the ancient scaling technology and the boat defying the laws of physics, it's hard to get a bead on where rocks will wind up and the gameplay often feels random and frustrating.

A version called New Tropical Angel hit arcades less than a year later. I can't find any documentation of the exact differences online, but just from playing both it appears to be an altered set of courses with more jumps and more rocks.

Videos :

* Gameplay Video