<div class=header> <div class=headerrow> <div class=headercell> <div class=headerlogo> <p class=image><a href="http://www.hardcoregaming101.net" target="_parent"><img src="http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/logo/hg101logo.png" alt="Logo by MP83"></a></p> </div> <div class=headerad> <script type="text/javascript"><!-- google_ad_client = "pub-5230184257141993"; /* HG101 */ google_ad_slot = "4961941287"; google_ad_width = 728; google_ad_height = 90; //--> </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/show_ads.js"> </script> </div> </div> </div> <div class=headerrow> <div class=headercell> <div class=headermenu> <a href="http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/alpha.htm" target="_parent">Articles</a> | <a href="http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/features.htm" target="_parent">Features</a> | <a href="http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/books.htm" target="_parent">Books</a> | <a href="http://blog.hardcoregaming101.net" target="_parent">Blog</a> | <a href="http://hg101.proboards.com/" target="_parent">Forums</a> | <a href="http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/about.htm" target="_parent">About</a>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Hardcore-Gaming-101/109837535712670" target="_blank"><img alt=" " src="http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/facebook.png"></a>&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/HG_101" target="_blank"><img alt=" " src="http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/twitter.png"></a>&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href="http://ask.fm/hg_101" target="_blank"><img alt=" " src="http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/askfm.png"></a>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href="http://www.patreon.com/hg101" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/supportsmalla.png"></a> </div> <div class=searchbox> <form action="http://www.google.com/cse" id="cse-search-box" target="_parent"> <div> <input type="hidden" name="cx" value="partner-pub-5230184257141993:xfg3mydy24k"> <input type="hidden" name="ie" value="ISO-8859-1"> <input type="text" name="q" size="30"> <input type="submit" name="sa" value="Search"> </div> </form> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://www.google.com/coop/cse/brand?form=cse-search-box&amp;lang=en"></script> </div> </div> </div> </div>

<<< Prior Page

Next Page >>>

Page 1:
Performan
Tiger Heli
Slap Fight / ALCON

Page 2:
Flying Shark / Hishouzame
Twin Cobra / Kyuukyoku Tiger
Truxton / Tatsujin

Page 3:
Hellfire
Twin Hawk / Daisenpuu
Zero Wing

Page 4:
Fire Shark
Out Zone
Vimana

Page 5:
Dogyuun
Truxton 2 / Tatsujin Ou
Fixeight

Page 6:
V-Five / Grind Stormer
Batsugun
Twin Cobra 2

Back to the Index


Flying Shark / Sky Shark / Hishouzame (飛翔鮫) - Arcade, Amiga, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, IBM PC, FM Towns (1987)

Japanese Arcade Flyer

FM Towns Cover

European Amstrad CPC Cover

Flying Shark is the first game of Toaplan's two Shark games. Here, you play as a biplane flying over various battlefields and collecting upgrades that do not actually improve your firepower enough to matter. Enemies move quickly, many them tend to take many hits to take down, and when you die, you are sent back to a checkpoint. Flying Shark's overall look and feel is pretty generic nowadays. Your weapons are pretty standard for shooting games. The only real enemies are tanks, planes, and boats with the occasional armored tank or battleship.

The game is actually very short, with only five stages in total. After this is completed, it loops back to the second level, skipping the first, a feature inspired by Xevious. Even though there are not very many levels, they are quite long. Shooting down waves of similarly colored enemies will grant points, weapon power-ups, or on rare occasions, extra lives. Your primary weapon is extremely underpowered, and while eventually you can strengthen it to a high-powered spread gun, it takes too long to get to that stage. Since you're sent back to square one when you die, you're usually stuck with the pea shooter unless you're quite good. You can also pick up bombs, but they have a delayed time before going off and do not wipe the whole screen. The bosses strangely are not very tough and rely on sending in their goons to be challenging. The only really tough fight is against two gigantic tanks, Raiden style.

Interestingly, Flying Shark's main character, Schnieder, is cryogenically frozen at the end of Flying Shark and thawed out later on in Toaplan's final shooter, Batsugun. This never actually comes up in the game, but it is a fun little piece of lore.

Flying Shark was ported to various home formats under the name Sky Shark. The NES port was done by Software Creations in the UK and was never released in Japan. The sprites are really tiny compared to the arcade game, so the whole experience feels rather stripped down. The Atari ST and Amiga versions are the best looking of the bunch. The Amstrad version is unfortunately just a quickie port of the Spectrum version.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Publisher:

Genre:

Themes:


Flying Shark (Arcade)



Screenshot Comparisons


Twin Cobra / Kyuukyoku Tiger (究極タイガー) - Arcade, NES, Genesis, PC Engine, X68000, FM Towns, PlayStation (1987)

Arcade Flyer

Japanese Mega Drive Cover

American Genesis Cover

FM Towns Cover

X68000 Cover

American NES Cover

Famicom Cover

PC Engine Cover

Twin Cobra is the second game in the Tiger-Heli series. The name may not suggest it, but in Japan, Twin Cobra is called Kyuukyoku Tiger. Fortunately, Twin Cobra surpasses its predecessor in every possible way.

Most of the annoyances from Tiger-Heli are gone. Bombs are no longer displayed on your helicopter for enemies to destroy, with a more traditional bomb stock icon in the lower corner of the screen. Your helicopter now darts around quickly and does not suffer from Tiger-Heli's choppy movements. There are also several new weapons - every so often, a large, armored helicopter will enter the screen, which drop power-ups, bombs, or color-changing circles that change your helicopter's weapons to the according color. Red is the standard weapon that shoots straight and does lots of damage. Blue grants a spread shot, while Yellow fires to the sides of your ship and at its highest level, fires in a cross shape. Green shoots narrow bullets that fire in a thin stream, but do more damage than the Red weapon. All of the weapons in Twin Cobra are powerful when leveled up, making it sufficiently more manageable.

While Twin Cobra is a great step up from Tiger-Heli, it's still just kind of average. One glaring issue that will drive some people mad is that when you continue, your score does not reset. Since Twin Cobra loops indefinitely, you can theoretically get the best score in the world by pumping enough credits into it, completely ruining the ability to play it for score.

There are actually some slight differences between the North American port (distributed by Romstar) and the Japanese version. The North America version offers two player simultaneous play and instant resurrections, instead of checkpoints in the Japanese version. Your helicopter is also a bit faster in the American version, but you can only have three shots on the screen at once, compared to four in the Japanese original.

Twin Cobra sold very well and was ported to three home consoles: PC Engine, Genesis and NES. The PC Engine version runs the fastest and plays the most like the arcade version. The Genesis/Mega Drive version runs slower than its 8-bit counterparts for some reason, but looks better. The NES version takes a huge hit in graphics and sound, but otherwise plays about the same. All three versions add in checkpoints that you get kicked back to when you die, similar to the Japanese version of the game. The X68000 and FM Towns versions are very close to the original arcade version, with their own different soundtracks. Both Kyuukyoku Tiger and Twin Cobra are featured on the Toaplan Shooting Battle Volume 1 for the PlayStation, and like Tiger-Heli, also features an arranged soundtrack. Sadly, there was no Volume 2.

One interesting note is that the armored helicopter enemy that is important to gameplay reappears in Air Gallet, a game by Gazelle, one of the companies that formed after Toaplan fell. Even though Air Gallet is in no way related to the Tiger-Heli series, it is a pretty cool homage.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Publisher:

Genre:

Themes:


Twin Cobra (Arcade)

Twin Cobra (Arcade)



Screenshot Comparisons


Truxton / Tatsujin (達人) - Arcade, Genesis, PC Engine (1989)

Japanese Arcade Flyer

Japanese Mega Drive Cover

European Mega Drive Cover

Japanese PC Engine Cover

Truxton or Tatsujin (Japanese for "Expert") is a nearly legendary game. Back before the days of danmaku, tiny hitboxes, and secret final bosses, Truxton was thought to be one of the hardest games ever made. In Truxton, enemies are fast and abundant, checkpoints are scarce, and bosses are huge. The music is also amazing, composed by Masahiro Yuge, one of Toaplans' most prolific composers. The story involves a galactic overlord getting five asteroids and sending them all straight toward Earth. One tiny, poorly equipped space ship is sent going against all odds to defeat these insurmountable forces.

Truxton fixes most of the issues of Toaplan's earlier games. Even in its weakest state, your ship always has a trusty three-way spread gun that. Like Twin Cobra, the weapons pickups are colored. Red is the default weapon, while Green shots are powerful piercing lasers and Blue is a impressive lighning attacks which auto-aims at enemies. The most impressive weapon is easily the skull bomb. Functionally, it is a normal bomb that does heavy damage with a large radius and erases all enemy attacks upon use. Truxton goes the extra mile by making its bomb a large, awesome looking, screaming skull. In some versions, the skull bomb is accompanied with a star that goes around it that does noticeably less damage than the skull itself. No matter which version, Truxton's skull bomb is always its defining weapon, so much that it is prominently featured on every title screen of every version.

One notable feature in Truxton are levels full of minibosses, usually more than one on screen at once. The main bosses are usually much larger than these sub-bosses and have special music to accompany them. Generally, the sub-bosses are harder to defeat than the main bosses, mostly because they attack in numbers. The checkpoint system is brutal, of course, especially since not all of them offer power-ups.

There are five levels in Truxton, each separated into two areas - the approach, which takes place in outer space, and the actual asteroid. It's somewhat cinematic, but graphically the outer space segments are a bit on the dull side. Sometimes once the ship actually enters the asteroid, level design can get creative, and the graphics here are indeed quite impressive. There is one high-speed section in the third area where, if you're fully powered-up, you can get tons of bonus points and numerous bomb power-ups, which you can fire off rapidly. There are also colored levers throughout the game, which will grant you an extra life if you destroy them with the same colored weapon. If you've managed to stay alive without dying at all, some of the power up containers grant two extra lives. Along with the checkpoint system, bonuses like this stress how important it is to simply not die, which is naturally why the game is called "Expert".

Truxton received two ports to home consoles, one for the Genesis and the other for the PC Engine. The PC Engine port has its graphics are inferior, slower gameplay, and muddled audio. The Genesis port is not perfect either, as the visuals only inhabit about 3/4 of the screen, with the rest being taken up by a black status bar, in an attempt to mimic the vertically oriented resolution of the arcade game. On the upside, all home ports have adjustable difficulties that can be a little bit easier than the arcade version. There are five different endings in the Genesis version, one for each of the five loops.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Publisher:

Genre:

Themes:


Truxton (Arcade)

Truxton (Arcade)

Truxton (Arcade)


Screenshot Comparisons


<<< Prior Page

Next Page >>>

Page 1:
Performan
Tiger Heli
Slap Fight / ALCON

Page 2:
Flying Shark / Hishouzame
Twin Cobra / Kyuukyoku Tiger
Truxton / Tatsujin

Page 3:
Hellfire
Twin Hawk / Daisenpuu
Zero Wing

Page 4:
Fire Shark
Out Zone
Vimana

Page 5:
Dogyuun
Truxton 2 / Tatsujin Ou
Fixeight

Page 6:
V-Five / Grind Stormer
Batsugun
Twin Cobra 2

Back to the Index