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Konami Shoot-em-ups

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1979-1983 Arcade Shooters

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1983-1985 Arcade Shooters

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1987-1988 Arcade Shooters

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1990-1997 Arcade Shooters

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MSX Shooters

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Famicom/SNES Shooters

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Miscellaneous

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Sky Jaguar (スカイジャガー) - MSX, PlayStation, Saturn (1984)

Japanese MSX Cover

An incredibly basic early shooter. Not much to say about it, except that it's not terribly bad for a game from the pre-Famicom era, even if the scrolling is quite jerky.

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Sky Jaguar (MSX)



Pippols (ピポルス) - MSX, PlayStation, Saturn (1985)

Japanese MSX Cover

Another early shooter, although this one's a bit of an oddball. The screen is divided into six paths, which you can jump between whenever there's an opening. While it starts off easy, with bad guys mindlessly walking up and down, and slowly hopping between lanes, it eventually gets tougher as they begin to fly over the landscape uninhibited and shoot projectiles. You attack by shooting hearts, but the limited movement range makes it quite stiff. It has branching paths at the end of stage, which is fairly advanced for 1985.

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Pippols (MSX)



Knightmare: Majou Densetsu (魔城伝説) - MSX, DOS, PlayStation, Saturn, Mobile phone, Wii Virtual Console, Wii U Virtual Console (1987)

Japanese MSX Cover

Majou Densetsu (literally: "Demon Castle Legend", no relation to "Akumajou Dracula" or "Dracula Densetsu", which are Castlevania games) departs from the usual shooter norm - instead of piloting a ship through space, you control a little knight named Popolon, as he fights various mythical creatures. Although only armed with a bow and arrows, you can eventually get three way shots, boomerangs, and throwing swords, amongst others. There are also sub power-ups, which can freeze time, grant temporarily invulnerability or invincibility, or grant a shield to protect against frontal attacks. It's a fun shooter, mostly let down by technical limitations, since the MSX is awful at scrolling. This was notably apparent in every other shooter for the system, but the screen scrolls up roughly half a tile every second. That means shuffling up a whole screen takes something like thirty seconds! The checkpoints are generously placed, but retreading old ground upon death feels like it takes forever. Still, though with patience will find an enjoyable game, with some nice music and cool boss fights.

There are actually two other games in the Majou Densetsu series. The second game, Maze of Galious, is a side-scrolling action-adventure released for the MSX and Famicom. The third game, Shalom, is a first person adventure-RPG released only for the MSX.

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Knightmare (MSX)

Knightmare (MSX)


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Hi no Tori Hououhen (火の鳥 鳳凰編) - MSX2 (1987)

Japanese MSX2 Cover

Literally translated as "Firebird", but more officially known as "Phoenix", Hi no Tori is based off the fifth chapter of Osamu Tezuka's world famous manga. Konami released two games based on this - the Famicom game is a fairly mediocre sidescroller, while the MSX2 game is an overhead shooter similar to Knightmare. Both were released around the same time as an anime movie, which was based on the same chapter.

You play as a one-armed man named Gao, traversing through Nara era Japan. Your only weapons are throwing daggers, although you can power them up so they fire faster and reach farther. Each stage consists of several screens that run parallel to each other. You can switch between the paths by exiting the screen on the left or right sides of the screen. In order to progress, you need to find certain keys to open specific doors, before happening onto the boss. It's an interesting way to structure a shooter, even though having to play the same segment over and over until you find the correct path. In keeping with the manga's theme of rebirth, you pick up automatically where you left off when you die, and when you run out of lives, so death is more of an aggravation than a true setback. It's still a tough game, though, especially in the boss fights.

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Hi no Tori Hououhen (MSX2)

Hi no Tori Hououhen (MSX2)


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Space Manbow (スペースマンボウ) - MSX2, Mobile phone, Wii Virtual Console, Wii U Virtual Console (1989)

Japanese MSX2 Cover

The title of this one is a bit odd - "Manbow" is actually supposed to "Mambo", as in the mambo fish. Your ship is shaped like one of these distinctive fish, and some of the enemies have a mechanical aquatic theme going for it, although it's not nearly as overt as Darius. Actual mambo fishes became playable characters in Gokujou Parodius.

Space Manbow

Semantics aside, Space Manbow is particularly impressive because it's the only sidescrolling shooter that Konami made for the MSX2. It's a fair sight better than any of the previous Gradius titles on the MSX - the scrolling is much smoother, complete with multi-plane backgrounds, and the sprites are much more colorful and detailed. The action, too, is much faster paced. It's more graphically impressive than a standard NES game, though it's not quite up to the level of an arcade game. Still, given the hardware, it's mighty impressive. The music also utilizes Konami's SCC sound chip, so it sounds excellent although the composition quality doesn't quite match up to the excellent Gradius soundtracks on the system.

There are only two main weapons - a laser shot and a spread wave - although you also have stationary options which fire regular bullets. There's also a bit of an odd power-up system at work. You start the game with an empty energy bar, which is increased by picking up orange orbs. Once it reaches a certain threshold, your weapons become more powerful. However, the energy bar depletes over time, so you need to keep grabbing them, lest you find yourself with wimpier weapons. The upside to this is that the energy bar doesn't reset when you die, so you have some fighting chance to get back in the game. Your options, which always shoot standard bullets regardless of the main weapon, can be oriented to fire horizontally forwards or backwards, or vertically. Overall, it's an excellent game, and although it's technically not overwhelmingly difficult, it is made quite a bit more frustrating due to completely unforgiving checkpoints.

Ganbare Goemon (NDS)

In keeping with tradition, Ganbare Goemon for the DS has an unlockable Space Manbow minigame, featuring the entire first level. Unfortunately to unlock it, you need to put in both the DS game, and the Kessakusen! Ganbare Goemon 1 & 2 Gameboy Advance cart. Quite a pain! The graphics are identical, though the music is upgraded. It appears to be natively programmed and not emulated - some of the choppy scrolling is replicated but other animation is a bit too smooth. It's a great bonus, but it just makes one salivate for a full port, which will most likely never materialize.

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Space Manbow (MSX2)

Space Manbow (MSX2)

Space Manbow (MSX2)

Space Manbow (MSX2)

Space Manbow (MSX2)


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Next Page >>>

Page 1:
1979-1983 Arcade Shooters

Page 2:
1983-1985 Arcade Shooters

Page 3:
1987-1988 Arcade Shooters

Page 4:
1990-1997 Arcade Shooters

Page 5:
MSX Shooters

Page 6:
Famicom/SNES Shooters

Page 7:
Miscellaneous

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