I have been a fan of these games for a long, long time in arcades. It was always such a treat to find a good, working Gunblade NY machine somewhere, though it did eat quarters like nobody's business, it was well worth it. The huge screen, the powerful, rumbling kickback of the machine gun, the fast action and great colors, it was incredible. I'd told friends, if I owned one arcade machine, ever, it would be Gunblade NY. From what I'd heard, this insane monstrosity of a machine was somewhere around $13,000 to buy. And I was considering selling my car and taking the bus to get one at one point, but that passed thankfully.
For awhile, there were rumours of a Sega Saturn port of the game, which would have been, on many fronts, incredibly difficult. The Saturn had a great light gun, but with no kickback and limited graphics power, questions were many regarding how this would ever come together. The Gunblade NY arcade machine ran on what was called the Model 2 Sega Arcade board, which was the board that ran, if I recall correctly, Virtua Cop 2 and Virtua Fighter 2. Both of which were respectably ported to the Saturn, but at great effort. And simply, Gunblade wasn't as commonly found in arcades (due surely to its great expense, being so big and whatnot), and wouldn't have been as popular despite how fun it is, so not worth the effort in all likelihood.
L.A. Machine Guns was a machine I only saw a couple of times. It was more expensive to play (I think it was around a buck a pop, and set to only give you one hit / one life per play!), but it was gorgeous. I believe it ran on the incredible Sega Model 3 arcade board, which to this day is my favorite arcade board of all time. I loved to pieces the graphics of everything that came out using this hardware (Virtua Fighter 3, Star Wars Trilogy, amongst others), and L.A. Machine Guns just looked incredible. I never heard it rumoured for a home system, even the mighty Dreamcast, and that was a shame. Even more of a shame since the Model 3 arcade machines cost something like $15,000 to buy, too much for most arcades.
And then yesterday, while I was casually browsing my local game store, I see a familiar image on the front of a used Wii game.... Could it really be? No, that's silly. But there it is, this special collection. I immediately went home and grabbed four current generation games I had for my Xbox 360 to trade (games now just aren't as good as they used to be, I tell you). And got myself the game as well as a Wii Zapper (with Link's Crossbow Training) to emulate the machine gun style. But I kept thinking, it just won't feel the same. The rumble won't be as powerful, it'll feel different and weird...
But it doesn't. It's amazing. Using the Zapper with two hands, with the graphics ported perfectly from the arcade to home, broadcast onto my 44" LCD Projection TV... It feels just like, and probably better than, the arcade versions of these games. The rumble in your arms isn't as insanely tumultuous as the arcade machine, of course, but the rumble that's there is quite good. There are some extra new upgraded weapons to be earned, and everything looks, plays, sounds and feels just like it did on the arcade machine. There are no extras (I would've enjoyed some brief little 2-minute arcade retrospective or history), but that's okay. What's here is a real treat, and I'm ecstatic that it not only showed up, but is as good as one could hope for.
Arcade fans, get ready for some serious stress relief, Sega style. :-)