The bowling alley had a surprising number of modern arcade games.
However it was The Ocean Hunter: The Seven Seas Adventure which really caught my attention.
The Ocean Hunter was developed by Sega AM1, released in 1998, and runs on Sega Model 3 Step 2.1 hardware. The game is played by using two mounted turret-like Shock Guns on the arcade cabinet, and follows two underwater adventurers as they head out to defeat the Seven Great Monsters of the Seven Seas. I had only seen this game once a few years ago in Southend, but it was broken. It was great to finally play it!
I really liked the underwater / sea monster theme. The enemy creatures were well designed and the first two boss battles were great, unfortunately we didn’t make it to the third! I liked how the outcome of in game events would trigger certain actions. For example, on stage one Sea Dragon, a reptilian creature is only encountered if the diver chased by a great white shark is rescued. Also the soundtrack is very good and suits the game perfectly. I really enjoyed my couple of credits. It’s a fun game and still looks good today. I’m surprised so few were produced. It could be that Sega thought it might be a bit too niche like Brave Firefighters and Planet Harriers and were less prone on taking risks, especially in light of the late nineties declining arcade market.
The shopping centre also had a nice oriental supermarket so we were able to stock up on some tasty goodies.