A notion that's been left behind as video game consoles have increased in power, this used to be the touchstone of any Arcade Game conversion to home computer or console. An Arcade Perfect Port is a port of a video game that is touted to be indistinguishable from its source.
Most 16-bit systems could reasonably claim that they could do arcade-perfect versions of early 8-bit arcade games, and these days most arcade games more than 10 years old can be said to be arcade perfect on modern home computers and consoles thanks to emulation, but the claim was made for many games that couldn't truthfully be said to be arcade perfect.
After the release of the PlayStation, arcade board makers slowly began using consoles as their arcade platform over more powerful custom made boards (Capcom's CP System III and Sega's Model 3 were the last pure custom boards to be popular), making arcade perfect ports more common place. Now, all modern arcade boards either use a home console, such as the Wii for Tatsunoko vs. Capcom or PlayStation 3 for Tekken 6, or use PC components (boards from Sega or Taito today follow this route).
This is NOT for examples where the port simply exceeds the original; that's a Polished Port. For a port to qualify as this trope, it must replicate the arcade version down to the last details of gameplay. Additionally, please limit example descriptions to how the port is arcade-perfect; don't list extra features not found in the original version, as they have nothing to do with porting accuracy.
- The Sharp X68000 computer, released in 1987, was the first home system to offer arcade-perfect ports, largely because it is a home computer designed similarly to an arcade machine. It served as a development machine for Capcom's CPS arcade systems, thus many Capcom games received arcade-perfect ports for the X68000.
- The FM Towns computer, released in 1989, features perfect ports for a handful of arcade games.
- All the games released for the Neo Geo (released 1990) are arcade-perfect ports, being as the home console has identical hardware to the Neo Geo arcade system. However, this being the 90's, back when console hardware was not on par with then-current arcade hardware, you were lucky to be able to even rent a Neo Geo console.
- The Sega Saturn and PlayStation feature equivalent arcade machines, the Sega STV and Namco System 11 (both downgraded from the Sega Model 2 and Namco System 22), respectively. This allowed arcade-perfect ports of games from those arcade systems to their equivalent home consoles.
- The Dreamcast, released in 1999, was built on the same hardware as Sega's Naomi arcade system, allowing perfect home ports of 3D arcade games for the first time, with most of the Naomi arcade games receiving arcade-perfect ports for the Dreamcast (for instance, Crazy Taxi).
- Also, the Dreamcast versions of Capcom CPS games such as Marvel vs. Capcom, which have little to no load times.
- The Dreamcast port of Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes was considered the definitive home port for a long time after (until the PS3 and 360 port), with aftermarket prices for the game climbing into hundreds of dollars. Compare this to the PS2 and Xbox ports, considered Porting Disasters due to blurry graphics, muffled audio and fixing bugs essential for Tournament Play.
- Under Defeat: Although it has Updated Rereleases on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, some fans still prefer the Dreamcast port due to its arcade-perfect nature, as the HD ports have some differences in enemy patterns and a wealth of slowdown during the Final Boss not present in the Dreamcast or Naomi versions.
- In the same vein, Sammy's Atomiswave arcade hardware is just repurposed Dreamcast hardware. In 2020, the Dreamcast fan community released a collection of homebrew ports of Atomiswave games on the Dreamcast, most of which play exactly like they do on the intended hardware.
- Both the R-Type and R-Type II ports are perfect in the R-Types compilation, aside from some loading screens, a transparent HUD, and a higher frame rate.
- For the Sega Genesis's 32X add-on, Sega released perfect versions of its arcade games After Burner II, Space Harrier and Star Wars Arcade.
- Capcom's CPS Changer, like the Neo Geo, was a luxury system designed to run games from actual arcade boards. The only game that had to be downgraded was Street Fighter Zero, whose arcade version is run on the somewhat more powerful CPS-2 hardware.
- Deathsmiles, right down to Windia being an underpowered character. The "Xbox 360" modes fix this, but they are not examples of this trope.
- The versions of Marvel vs. Capcom 1 and Marvel Super Heroes included in Marvel vs. Capcom: Origins. Playing the games, it's pretty obvious that Capcom is running ROM dumps of the original arcade games with a few "cheats" to allow for versus and training modes. Most notable however, is that the games are more arcade perfect emulation since most emulators run the CPS-2 at the wrong clockspeed.
- Being arcade perfect is a point of contention for the re-release of Vampire Savior included in Darkstalkers Resurrection. Purists are happy that the game is supposed to be an arcade perfect port. However, fans who grew up with the PS version are disappointed since it lacks the extra characters and gameplay features added to that version.
- Daytona USA is an interesting case, in that the HD remake for arcades was designed to be as similar as possible to the old '90s version, including a severe case of pop-up at distances further than about one second from the front of the car. The modern hardware was more than capable of eliminating this pop-up but it was intentionally left in for the sake of parity.
- After Burner Climax for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Other than changing the aspect ratio to 16:9, it's just like the arcade version, even leaving in the "slightly de-throttle for a moment to maintain full throttle" glitch.
- The Taito Legends 2 version of RayStorm is exactly the same as the arcade version. By "exactly the same", we mean the default life setting is 3 instead of 5, the ship select menu runs at full speed, and no, it does not have the Arrange Mode, the 13-Ship Mode, or the arrange soundtrack from the prior Saturn and PS1 ports.
- Similarly, the version of G-Darius from the same compilation is also the same as the arcade version, barring the exception of brief loading screens. Since the PS1 port had slowdown not in the arcade original, this PS2 version is often considered the definitive port.
- A rare thing to happen to the PC in the early 90s, the first Mortal Kombat game was essentially an arcade perfect port. The only discrepancy was the music didn't sound the same, but this was a problem anyway on PCs during that time. What's more, an extremely rare CD-ROM version of the game went further and even included all of the original music and sound effects. Here is a video that even compares the sound in both the floppy and CD versions
- The version of Splatterhouse included in the 2010 remake uses the original arcade version from 1988, and plays exactly like it. The game even uses credits as if the player is playing the game on the arcade cabinet. It was also released for PC in 2003/2004 in Japan by Mediakite, with graphical and audio quality identical to the arcade version, retains the two-player (alternating) mode, and using virtual credits (up to a max of 9) to play the game.
- The primary goal of MAME is to emulate arcade games perfectly on PC for historic preservation. Since MAME works with the actual ROM chipsets, 100% emulated games are quite literally arcade-perfect, since they are the real arcade software, complete with dip switches, diagnostics, and a key that mimics the insertion of coins.
- The Sega Chihiro was built on Xbox hardware, allowing SEGA to create arcade-perfect ports from Chihiro games to the Xbox console. House of the Dead III retained EVERYTHING from the arcade version, including the graphics and even motion blur and depth of field. OutRun 2 was also a perfect port.
- Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara, for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii U, is another emulated compilation from the creators of Marvel Vs. Capcom Origins. Thus, the games included, specifically Tower of Doom and Shadow Over Mystara, run at the correct clockspeed and have nearly every arcade detail, with the only glitch being the removal of the Letting the Air Out of the Band gag at the end of Stage 2. Moreover, it's the first home version of both games to feature the four-player mode from the arcade game (which the Sega Saturn port lacked).
- The first two installments were released in a compilation called The Raiden Project, seen by many fans as the first true Arcade Perfect Port of any shmup. This is especially good for the second game, whose encryption prevented emulation on MAME until 2015, more than 17 years later, when it and Raiden DX were finally emulated when the encryption was figured out.
- III got a perfect port for the PC, especially since the arcade version ran on the PC-based Taito Type X hardware. The PS2 port is also fairly accurate.
- IV's Xbox 360 port is perfect since the 360 runs on similar hardware to that of a PC, and IV originally was on the aforementioned Taito Type X hardware. The Playstation 3 version, Raiden IV Overkill, is an Updated Re-release instead of a basic Arcade Perfect Port.
- The three Raiden Fighters games within the compilation Raiden Fighters Aces are also perfect, especially with the sound quality.note
- Fantasy Zone II: The Tears of Opa-Opa for the Master System, although this was largely due to the original game running on slightly modified Master System hardware to begin with. The only thing the port is missing is the scrolling background on the title screen.
- Curious example: F-Zero GX is not a port. However it includes all the drivers and courses from the arcade version of the game, F-Zero AX, which ran on the GameCube based Triforce hardware. But hidden deep inside the code is, in fact, the actual arcade game, complete with attract mode, instructions on how to play, and the arcade system rules (cheat devices like the Action Replay are able to tease this out and make it playable on GameCube hardware). So it seems like Amusement Vision (the developers) developed a single game then split the code by using a launcher to detect what hardware it was running on and only making accessible the features that are specific to each version of the game.
- The Sega Saturn had a cartridge slot mainly used for the Backup Memory device. While it didn't get much use in the overseas market (outside the NetLink modem adapter), Sega released a couple of RAM expansion cartridges exclusively in Japan that turned it into a complete 2D powerhouse capable of rendering ports of Neo-Geo and CP System II titles to near perfection. Namely a 1 Megabit cartridge designed for SNK ports (such as the The King of Fighters series and Metal Slug) and a 4 Megabit model designed for Capcom ports (such as X-Men vs. Street Fighter and Vampire Savior). Contrast with the versions of those same games released for the original PlayStation (and the Neo-Geo CD for that matter), which were constrained by their platforms' lack of upgradability and suffered from long loading times and — in the case of X-Men vs. Street Fighter — gimped gameplay features.
- Western Saturn consoles can only play these games by either, adding a region switching mod, or using an Action Replay Plus cartridge, which functioned as a region converter, memory backup, RAM expansion, and a cheating device all in one. The Action Replay Plus is actually more convenient than getting the individual RAM cartridges, since it's compatible with both, 1MB and 4MB games.
- The Saturn port of King of Fighters '95 didn't required either of the RAM expansions, but instead utilized a proprietary ROM cartridge meant to be played in conjunction with the CD-ROM, which had all the graphical data programmed into it. This renders the game incompatible with the Action Replay Plus, making the game playable on American consoles only through region modding. Thankfully KOF95 did have a release in the PAL region.
- Dariusburst Another Chronicle is an interesting case, especially the PC version, as that particular version supports dual monitors just like the original (while the PlayStation 4 and PS Vita versions are sadly stuck with letterboxed display). However, since Chronicle Mode in the arcade version relies on the participation of multiple players (due to having about 3,000 missions, which would be infeasible for a single player unless they are extremely dedicated), the consumer ports instead assign players to online "virtual cabinets", with players on a given cabinet all sharing the same Chronicle Mode progress.
- The port of Tetris for the Sega Mega Drive Mini is an arcade-perfect port of the 1988 Sega arcade version, made specifically for the device (the unreleased Mega Drive version from 1989 being rather lackluster in comparison).
- Puyo Puyo:
- The Mega Drive versions of the first two arcade games almost qualify. The gameplay, graphics, music, and sound effects are perfect, but the arcade hardware for both games has an extra chip that makes the voice acting possible; as a result, the first game gets rid of all but three of the voice clips while Tsu plays them at a noticeably lower quality.
- The (second) Wii Virtual Console ports of both games are straight examples.
- Double Dragon 1 was ported to the Sega Genesis in 1992 as an unlicensed port developed by Software Creations and published by Accolade via their Ballistics Software label. It was the closest port to the arcade game available at the time, compared to the heavily reworked 8-bit console ports that were released a few years prior and the home computer conversions by Binary Design that came out around the same period. However, it was still not exactly accurate. The backgrounds are completely different and while the sprites for the male characters are the same as the arcade (except for the head swapped bosses, who were turned into plain palette swaps), the female characters were redesigned a bit, with Marian (Billy's girlfriend) in particular getting an ugly redesign in the Genesis port. The backgrounds were completely changed and while the level designs are the same, the stage transitions after clearing a boss were cut. Mechanically, the controls are the same as the arcade version (thanks to the fact that the Genesis has three buttons as standard), but there is a bit of an input lag if the attack buttons are pressed too rapidly and Jeff (the Lee brothers palette swap enemy) has a tedency to abuse his hair grabs, something his arcade counterpart doesn't do as often, leading to cheap deaths.
- The Sega CD port of Final Fight was the only console version that most closely matched the arcade game in terms of content at the time of its release. It has all the features that was cut from the earlier SNES port by Capcom, meaning that it has all six stages (including the Industrial Area stage with Rolento), 2-players co-op support and most importantly, it has all three characters without the need to buy a second version for Guy. Its flaws are much more apparent nowadays, particularly when it comes to the punching speed of Cody and Guy being much more slower than they were on the arcade, where it was possible to do infinite combos with either character by turning away during the third blow and then facing forward again to reset the animation pattern. The slower attack speed in this version makes it impossible to pull off this maneuver. Moreover, there's also a bug that causes a punching mark to appear when Haggar performs a backdrop on Roxy or Poison, cancelling the effect of the knockdown, allowing Roxy/Poison to quickly recover, which is quite problematic for Haggar players who rely on his backdrop for crowd control.
- The PC Engine version of R-Type demonstrated the hardware capabilities of the platform with a pretty close conversion of the arcade original at a time when players were used to reworked ports of arcade games on the NES and Master System, although the game had to be split into two HuCards during its initial release in Japan due to the limited ROM sizes available at the time. This was no longer an issue when the port was released in North America, as the TurboGrafx-16 version contains the entire game in one card.
- Many a Compilation Re-release says that their games are arcade perfect, due to the fact that they are emulated, and thus have all the nuances of the original. However, while some games are indeed perfect, some of them have a couple of emulation flaws that prevent them from being true examples of this trope. Sometimes, they are purely aesthetic with no impact on gameplay (such as a sprite being the wrong color, or the sound effects not being exactly the same). Other times, the problem affects gameplay, making the game either flawed yet still playable (for example, if a game has a bit more slowdown than it normally does) or a full on Porting Disaster if the developers didn't give a darn.
- According to Steven Levy's book Hackers, legendary game developer John Harris created an Arcade Perfect Port of Pac-Man for the Atari 800 while working for On-Line Systems in 1981. Sierra's boss, the equally legendary Ken Williams, took one look at the results and nixed the project on the grounds that it would invite a lawsuit, and demanded that Harris change the game enough to make it viably different from the original. Harris' initial reaction? Put sunglasses and Groucho Marx moustaches on the ghosts. Despite this, the eventual game that came from this, Jawbreaker, was On-Line Systems major hit for that platform over the next year. Unfortunately, the port to the Apple II was less than successful.
- Altered Beast claimed to be this when the Sega Genesis was still trying to market itself as the Nintendo-killer. Setting aside the fact that the Genesis graphics and sound chip don't hold a candle to the arcade, several level layouts have been changed, there's no sprite scaling, and the gameplay was barely close enough to fool you until you went back and actually tried to play the arcade and got schooled. Golden Axe was the same way, seeming highly accurate until you went back and tried to beat the arcade.