New Taito TypeX arcade hardware, lineup announced

Giga Wing Generations to head up release schedule; new Raiden and Castle of Shikigami to follow.


TOKYO--At this year's Amusement Machine Show (AMShow), Taito announced the lineup of games that will be appearing on its new Windows XP-based arcade hardware, TypeX. The two biggest game announcements for TypeX were Raiden III and Castle of Shikigami III, both of which will be released to arcades in 2005.

Raiden III will be codeveloped by the companies Seibu Kaihatsu and Moss, with series creator Hitoshi Hamada supervising the project. While details have not yet been revealed, the update to the seminal shooting game series is slated for release in the spring of next year.

Castle of Shikigami III is the latest entry in the popular shooting series developed by Alfa System, widely known for its anime-style characters and distinctive graphic display. Castle of Shikigami III will feature many more in-game dialogue sequences thanks to the hard disk drive on the TypeX board. As for the details of the story, series producer Naoki Suda called the game “more like a side story with new characters."

The PS2 version of the original Castle of Shikigami was published last year in the US by XS Games under the title Mobile Light Force 2. Fans bristled at the name change and incongruous cover artwork, which featured three buxom women--posing Charlie's Angels style--who did not appear in the game. The second game in the series will be released this November under its original title with an MSRP of $9.99.

Taito will debut the TypeX in arcades this October with Giga Wing Generations, developed by Takumi. The shooting game gives the player the ability to ricochet enemy shots with the "reflect shot" system--see GameSpot's beta test report for more info. The first two Giga Wing games were published in the US by Capcom for the Sega Dreamcast.

The next two games will be released in December, both by Taito. The first is a baseball simulation game named Harikiri Online Pro Baseball, in which the player takes the role of a baseball team coach and plays against people in other arcades through an online connection. Harikiri Online Pro Baseball was not shown in playable form, but it seems that the game will play with a touch-sensitive screen, which has become a standard for modern table game arcade cabinets.

The second game, called Chaos Breaker, made its debut at last year's AMShow under the title Dark Aware. The fantasy-themed fighting game features gameplay similar to SNK's King of Fighters 2001. Characters in the game include dwarves, orcs, humes, elves, and other fantasy races--each with a different job, such as swordsman, archer, mage, or lizard rider.

The player starts off the game by selecting three characters and an item. In lieu of selecting more characters, the player also has the option to select more items. This is useful if the player wants to go through the game with just a certain character, buffing him up with power-up and life-recovery items. If the player has two or three characters in the team, the characters that aren't on the screen can occasionally be called out to perform a power strike, as in KOF2001.

In addition to the publishers mentioned above, other companies who have currently signed up as third-party developers for the TypeX board include:

• Arc System Works (Guilty Gear series and others)
• Cave (Mushi Hime and others)
• Success (Psyvariar and others)
• Skonec (Psyvariar 2 and others)
• Treasure (Ikaruga and others)
• Warashi (Usagi and other table games)
• X-nauts / Psikyo (Gunbird series and others; not signed yet, but expected)

TypeX’s hardware was on display at the company's booth, looking at first glance more like an IBM-compatible PC machine rather than an arcade PCB setup. The machine on its back panel had all the connections you'd expect on a PC, such as a mouse port, PCI slots, and parallel port. TypeX also comes complete with a hard disk drive.

What's more, arcade operators can add or replace parts depending on the requirements of the games. For developers, TypeX's architecture and Windows XP-based operating system mean that games can be easily developed like a Windows program; it also means that PC games can be ported to the arcades with ease.

TypeX's full specifications are as follows:

• OS: Windows XP Embedded (customized)
• CPU: Celeron 2.5Ghz (upgradable to Pentium 4 2.8GHz)
• FSB: 400MHz (Upgradable to 800MHz)
• Chipset: Intel 865G
• Memory: DDR266 DIMM 256MB (upgradable to DDR400 2GB)
• Graphics Board: AGP Radeon 9200SE (128 MB) - X800XT (256 MB)
• Audio: AC97 onboard 6 channel audio CODEC
• Lan: On-board 10/100Base-TX
• USB: 4ch (ver 1.1 & 2.0 compatible)
• Parallel port: 1 port
• PS/2 port: keyboard, mouse
• PCI: 2 slots
• IDE: 2ch U-DMA(100/66/33)
• Serial ATA: 2ch
• Audio inputs: Microphone (stereo pin-jack), line-in (stereo pin-jack)
• Audio outputs: line-out (stereo pin-jack), SPDI/F
• Power: ATX AC 100v

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