Retro Coin Op Synopsis
“Approaching the first target, Captain…
Target’s in sight! Let’s get him!”
The only thing better than really good graphics is reality. Back in 1983, when video game graphics were still in the 2-D, sprite-based days of Spy Hunter and Mario Bros., a short-lived boom of Laserdisc games stormed the marketplace. Led by the interactive cartoon Dragon’s Lair, laser games offered the image quality of film and television, but with less playing flexibility than ordinary games. Dragon’s Lair was essentially a high-tech Choose Your Own Adventure story, reacting to player’s moves by skipping to the appropriate animated bit.
Mylstar’s M.A.C.H. 3 offered a different spin on the laser game, one that gave players a bit more control. Instead of a fully animated game, M.A.C.H. 3 placed computer graphics over live-action footage, creating a high-octane simulation of a F-15 flight into enemy territory.
Two different scenarios were available: "Fighter Raid" and "Bombing Run." In the former, a head-on view took your fighter on a mission to destroy bridges, radar installations, factories and more. The view came courtesy of a nose-mounted camera from a real jet flight, and the game’s programmers added a sort of “Heads Up Display” that placed yellow boxes around your intended targets. The Fighter Raid also took you on a winding dogfight through narrow canyons, taking on enemy fighters and heat-seeking missiles in a dangerous battle.
In the Bombing Run, your view came from a plane’s belly-mounted camera, and again, computer graphics added targeting boxes and random threats. The background moved more slowly, thanks to the higher altitude, but constant anti-aircraft missiles and other threats made this sortie every bit as deadly as the Fighter Raid. After taking out shipyards, missile assembly plants and even more bridges, your plane returned to base for a well-deserved rest.
The true-life flight footage gave M.A.C.H. 3 an air of realism, and the effect was enhanced by the game’s soundtrack. Wind rushed constantly in the background, and your radio was frequently alive with pilot chatter, pointing out targets or congratulating you on a job well done.
M.A.C.H. 3 wasn’t the first game to use computer images over real backgrounds—Astron Belt had done the same thing not many months earlier—but it was one of the most memorable. The Laserdisc boom was a brief one, but while it lasted, M.A.C.H. 3’s jet jockey theme and fast action made the game one of the top hits of the day.
Arcade Machine Release History1983 - M.A.C.H. 3
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