Using... enough... ellipses... there.... Lump Beefrock...? And if they're taking off in helicopters, why don't you just fucking shoot them down like you did in the intro?
But instead he gets into a helicopter of his own (which isn't pictured so you don't really know how that came about) and follows them along, which is where the entire level takes place. So you're stuck in the same screen the entire time with no background scenery to hide behind. It's not a very interesting level and the "boss" is pretty lame so let's skip that too. After the boss battle the helicopter lands, and before Round 5 we're treated to the best line in the game:
HAHAHA. I'm not quite sure why I find this so amusing. I guess it's just that question mark tacked on at the end of "Now they've gone too far...?" that really seals the deal for me. Just goes to show that at this point, Blast Hardcheese really has no idea what he's babbling about.
Yes, Round 5 takes place in a department store. Well actually, the beginning takes place in this rather kid-friendly environment. But of course the bad guys come along to fuck things up. So what's the best possible way to enter a department store?
By falling through a trap door and rolling down a ramp through several glass barriers. Gawd DAMN. As usual though, our hero just shrugs it off and continues onward. There's lots of stuff to blow up in the department store, including that odd statue off to the side. I see long hair but not much in the way of boobage, so I'm guessing it's a statue of Fabio or something. Yeah.
Then there's another trap door, another ramp, MORE GLASS, and another fucking queer gorilla shows up. This fight's a little tougher since there are a lot of regular enemies shooting at you this time. Once the gorilla hits the floor, it looks like you're at a dead end... where to go now?
Oh fuck. That fan is back!
You know that's no ordinary fan when it has the power to blow a musclehead THROUGH A GLASS WINDOW. And the fall from that window is even worse... department stores don't have trees, but they do have even more glass objects for Smash Lumpjaw to fall through. I'm pretty sure that by this point the designers had realized that they hadn't sent him falling onto stuff for the last few stages, and so it's better late than never to turn it into a running joke. Man, I wish they'd had him falling head-first onto shit in every stage, that would have been glorious. But I digress...
5th boss is two guys who float around and make fake copies of themselves while occasionally firing at you. Whoopity shit. Why do some of these bosses seem so damn lazy? Get off your ass and put some work into it! And no, I don't know why there's a statue of Simba floating in the background during the fight.
Ah yes, the cliched "guy about to spill his secrets and then gets picked off by a sniper" routine. Hell, they did this very same thing in NAM-1975! Not sure why he's expressing remorse about the guy getting killed though when he got the information he needed to know. Also, that "mansion" in the background looked more like a traditional Japanese castle to me. But here we go, final round!
The first part of this round is pretty crazy as tons of enemies show up. Interestingly enough you don't seem to enter a mansion at all...
Instead you get to take this "elevator" platform down to the bottom while a bunch of caterpillars attack you. Yeah, really.
What's waiting at the bottom? Not one but TWO gay gorillas! They jump around at different speeds AND there are some enemies in the foreground firing at you, so this part is surprisingly tough. As usual it takes forever to kill the Brokeback Gorillas, but we're almost there...
Fuck this part. You have to watch the pattern closely and then roll across at the right time to avoid the platforms raising you up into the spikes, which kills you instantly. Come on, after all that time running into tree branches and glass, his head can't take the impact of some measly spikes? I ain't buyin' it!
The last boss is another lazy slacker who doesn't do any attacking himself, he sits on the head of a dragon and lets the dragon do all the work. Now how would you expect a dragon to attack? By firing lasers out of his eyes, of course. Why bother breathing fire out of your mouth, that's for chumps! Of course this is the cheapest boss in the game, mainly because it has an attack that is absolutely unavoidable. I'm serious, if the dragon decides to fire lasers from the edge of the screen instead of the center, then it will sweep across with the lasers all the way to the other side of the screen. In other words, there is absolutely no safe spot if this happens. The lasers WILL hit you and instantly take off half of your life, because a roll sure won't give you the invincibility you need to dodge it. Soooo fucking lame. The only thing you can do is... well, shoot those eyes as soon as possible, because it's the only part of the dragon that's susceptible to damage. Once one eye is gone it can't fire any lasers, and you'll instantly be safe in one part of the screen. Once both eyes are taken out, the boss's shield breaks and all you have to do is fire one bullet to kill him. What a puss.
Oh yeah, and then there's the scoring system. I really don't understand how it works, because during the game it keeps a tally of how many enemies you've killed, then at the end it just throws that number out of the window and then gives you a new number? The whole "fighting strength" thing seems to give higher points for bosses that are killed and less emphasis on regular enemy kills... I don't know, I don't quite care enough to figure out how it works. But I thought the high score screen was pretty cool, how it went into a little more detail on how far each player made it into the game. Not sure the whole date thing works since I don't think the PCB has a calendar built into it? Hmm.
I thoroughly enjoyed playing Riot and it was a pleasant surprise when I discovered it in MAME. It got me wondering about what other people thought of the game, so prior to writing this "review" I hit up Google just to see if anybody else had done any sort of review or webpage about the game. I came up entirely empty, which wasn't too surprising since I hadn't found anybody that had even heard of the game in the first place.
This gave me a hunch that perhaps the game might be a unreleased prototype, but it was just a hunch and I obviously couldn't find any evidence to back up that claim. I forgot all about it until I found a message board post that linked to a webpage with a list of arcade games made by NMK. Riot was suspiciously absent from this list. It was of course possible that this list wasn't complete, but this page was already pretty educational since I didn't even know that Psychic 5 was considered to be an NMK game when it has a Jaleco copyright on it (Psychic 5 is an awesomely fantastic platform game, by the way). Every other NMK game in MAME was accounted for on that list.
I then decided to check Gemant's comprehensive list of Gamest/Arcadia records (a must-visit for any arcade high score junkie), just to see if any scores for Riot were in the list. Not too surprisingly, there were none. Now I was really getting suspicious. I then decided to check an archived version of Bobby Tribble's UnMAME'd page because, well, there's been lots of obscure arcade games on that site that I'd never heard of, so maybe Riot would have been mentioned in there by SOMEBODY, because surely somebody had played this game in an arcade at some point. But nope, no mention of it at any time before the game was dumped and supported in MAME. The plot thickens...
Finally I decided to post about these findings on the mame.net boards to see if anyone knew anything about the game. Not surprisingly nobody really did, but an awesome person named AWJ managed to dig up this link, in which a Japanese player details his account of playing Riot on location test. It basically just talks about the background/foreground shooting, the boss background transformations, and the ending, in which he brings up the fact that it seemed like the staff roll was supposed to run during the ending, but of course it does not. The ending stuck with him even though he never saw the game again after the location test (at least, that's what I've been able to deduce thanks to Excite Japan's crappy translator since I don't really know Japanese. There's even more stuff about games he played on location test, which could prove very interesting if anybody ever took the time to translate it). Everything he mentions seems to point to the version in MAME being the very same board that was location tested in Japan.
So, assuming that Riot is an unreleased game (it still hasn't been ENTIRELY proven yet), it leaves us with even more questions... like, how did this game slip out and get dumped? Why is all the text in English if it was tested in Japan (one theory for this seems to be that they were too lazy to put in a Japanese font)? Why was the game cancelled in the first place (could have been any number of reasons - I'd believe that since the game was made in 1992 right when fighting games were starting to dominate arcades, perhaps interest in traditional crosshair shooters was dying and it didn't make much money at location test. Maybe the addition of foreground shooting made the game too hard for newbies. Maybe players felt sorry for Trunk Slamchest after his head collided with all those tree branches in the first level and didn't want to subject him to any more harm)? Nobody seems to know (or care). In the incredibly unlikely event that you're an ex-NMK employee or something and have stumbled unto this page, please email me! And even if you're not and you do know something not listed here, I'd really love to hear about it and put this mystery to rest.
It's times like this that I truly love emulation, seeing extremely rare games being spared from disappearing for all eternity. Bottom line, Riot is a very fun little entry into a genre that we never really got to see enough of before they became extinct in the arcades. If you have fond memories of Cabal and the like, you owe it to yourself to give Riot a playthrough. It has its flaws (besides the cheap last boss, the game is really a bit lacking in terms of replay value, unless you're going for a one-credit finish or something), but it's still a very "unique" game to say the least. Perhaps the only thing that would have made the game complete would be if you got to drive some badass
....well, maybe not. I just wanted to make another Space Mutiny reference. Kalgon, blow me away!