Save the Planet (or Blow It Up) With the Missile Command x Replicade

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If you spent your youth in the arcades, you probably played a little (or a lot) of Missile Command. In the game, you have three missile bases, and you’re trying to protect several cities from incoming waves of enemy missiles. In a highly thematic choice by writer/director James Cameron, Missile Command is the game a young John Connor is playing at the arcade in the sci-fi classic Terminator 2: Judgment Day:

New Wave Toys has just released their latest x Replicade machine, a playable reproduction of the Missile Command arcade cabinet in sixth scale. How does it compare to some of their other releases, like the previously reviewed Q*bert x Replicade? Let’s take a look.

The Missile Command x Replicade

New Wave Toys has two different flavors of their Missile Command x Replicade available. The standard edition, which is the one they sent me, retails for $159.99. There is also a Field Test Edition, which costs $179.99 and is based on the prototype version of the game that was field-tested in arcades before the version we know was released. Both are currently available to order from the New Wave Toys website.

As usual, New Wave Toys’ packaging is on point. If your Replicade shows up at your house damaged, then it’s certainly not their fault.

The shipping box and interior protective box. Image by Paul Benson.

I usually don’t pay too much attention to the brown product box inside, but this one has a lovely little Easter Egg…a side that replicates the original arcade cabinet shipping crates:

Please, don’t use a forklift on your x Replicade. Image by Paul Benson.

Inside of the brown box is thefull-colored packaging for the Missile Command x Replicade.

The display packaging. Image by Paul Benson.

As with other x Replicade machines, everything comes nestled securely in foam.

Opening up the final box. Image by Paul Benson.

Inside the box you’ll find the following:

  • (1) Missile Command x RepliCade
  • (1) Replica Missile Command Operator’s Manual
  • (1) Micro USB Charge Cable
  • (4) Mini Metal Arcade Tokens
Everything that comes in the box. Image by Paul Benson.

The arcade cabinet is 11-5/8ths inches tall, and constructed of MDF wood, metal, and plastic. Though the Missile Command x Replicade uses an LCD screen, New Wave Toys has introduced a CRT FX™ convex lens, which goes over the LCD screen and emulates the appearance of an old-school CRT monitor.

The arcade cabinet with CRT FX™ lens. Image by Paul Benson.

Like many other x Replicade machines, the coin panel opens up to reveal a hidden compartment for storage. I don’t know whether it’s all the Missile Command machines or this one in particular, but I found that the door opened much easier on this unit than on my Q*bert x Replicade.

You can store the USB cable or other small items inside. Image by Paul Benson.

The control deck has a Trak-Ball XL™ that rolls smoothly, as well as sixth-scale arcade buttons. All of these are functional. The game is fully playable and contains the original arcade Missile Command ROM. And of course, the Missile Command x Replicade is designed to look just like a smaller version of the 80’s arcade cabinet, down to the screen-printed instructions on the deck.

A closer look at the control setup. Image by Paul Benson.

The back of the Missile Command x Replicade is relatively bare for an x Replicade machine. There’s a volume dial, power button, speaker, and charging port. This is a far cry from Q*bert, which also had an HDMI-out port to play the game through a TV or monitor, and USB ports for connecting external controllers. Now, it’s understandable that New Wave left off the external controller ports. After all, you really need a trackball to play Missile Command, and most people don’t happen to have one laying about. But it would have been nice to have included the option to hook up your Missile Command x Replicade to a big screen.

A few ports less than other x Replicades. Image by Paul Benson.

Playing the Missile Command x Replicade

The Missile Command x Replicade plays quite well with the tiny controls. The buttons and the trackball are quite responsive, though of course the trackball doesn’t have the same solid feeling as one on a full-sized arcade cabinet.

All ready to save those cities! Image by Paul Benson.

Pressing the left coin button adds credits to the game, and pressing the left brings up the menu screen. The menu allows you to adjust several settings for both the cabinet and the “dip switch,” which allows you to change settings in the Missile Command game itself.

You can really see the screen curvature effect of the CRT FX™ on the menu screen. Image by Paul Benson.

As the game is the original arcade ROM, all of the sights and sounds are just as you remember.

Missile Command for Your Shelf

The Joker may love blowing up cities more than saving them. Image by Paul Benson.

As I’ve said in the past, the x Replicade games from New Wave Toys are great to both play and display on your shelf. Though, without an HDMI output to run the Missile Command x Replicade out to your television, you’ll probably be showing off this cabinet a bit more than playing on it.

I’m lucky enough to have an Atari Legacy arcade cabinet, where I can play Missile Command on a 17″ screen with a full-sized trackball. But, it’s good to know that the trackball on the Missile Command x Replicade is nicely responsive. And, you can also tweak the sensitivity of the Trak-Ball XL™ in the menu. The machine is still a lot of fun to play, though some of us who were playing Missile Command back when it was first in the arcades might be squinting a bit to keep track of the action on screen.

Batman knows this is no game for a madman! Image by Paul Benson.

A new development with the Missile Command x Replicade is the inclusion of the CRT FX™ lens. There is some controversy in the fanbase over the lens, as some feel that it overly distorts the screen. I personally think that the CRT FX™ does a pretty good job of replicating the feel of a CRT screen like the kind I used to play on. The biggest downside, in my opinion, is that you get a lot of reflection on the lens. I’m hoping that New Wave Toys finds a way to put an effective anti-reflective coating over the CRT FX™ lens for future machines.

Like so many other fans of New Wave Toys, I’m enjoying watching my own personal arcade grow, but in a comfortable space on a bookshelf instead of taking over my home. The x Replicade machines allow you to recapture the sights and sounds of the arcade, but in a way that’s affordable while still being fun. Despite a couple of questionable design choices, New Wave has another hit on its hands with the Missile Command x Replicade. You’ll just have to decide which version you want to pick up!

New Wave Toys’ arcade machines are strictly limited, so if you’re interested in the Missile Command x Replicade, be sure to pick one up soon. Other great games will soon be on their way from New Wave Toys in sixth-scale arcade form, like Food Fight, Space Ace, and special editions of Dragon’s Lair.

For more information, head over to the New Wave Toys website.

Joker’s going to Arkham…right after Batman gets a new high score! Image by Paul Benson.

New Wave Toys sent a unit for evaluation, but had no input into this review.

 

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