Gyruss (NES) – I had a lot of fun playing this one. I could see how this would have been better with the paddle controller in the arcade, but it’s still a lot of fun anyway. It kind of reminds me of a cross between Galaga and Tempest, the circular maneuvering with waves of enemies that pass near you then come back to dive at you. That and they whole concept of each level bringing you closer to a planet is pretty cool too. I guess I will need to dig out my Atari 5200 version again and give it a try too.
Guardian Legend (NES) – This is an interesting one in that it changes speeds, but I felt slightly disoriented after the rush of a beginning.(Note to Self: Don’t play Guardian Legend when you have a headache.) But, I will admit for an NES SHMUP it’s pretty intense and fast paced. Aces in my book, I just have to make it past the first level. Of course there is a password system, hmm!
Galaga: Demons of Death (NES) – Who doesn’t love Galaga? Ok, this isn’t my only version of this game, I have it on Wii U Virtual Console as well as Atari 7800, and perhaps elsewhere. Personally, I would like to have this on an arcade machine as well but probably as a multi-system rather than a stand alone. As long as I’m mentioning Galaga I will also mention…
Galaxian (Atari 5200)- Did you like that segway? Galaxian is actual Galaga’s predecessor or should I say that Galaga is a sequel to Galaxian. Playing both you can see some similarities such as the general design of the ship, even though in Galaxian it’s not as clear, and the whole black space backdrop with no bunkers thing. Galaxian does look a little more like Space Invaders though, in respects to the fact that you start the game with a pre-established phalanx of enemy’s, as to where with Galaga they fly past you from the bottom and into formation giving you the chance to pick them off before they do. Both games are great examples of early SHMUPS, but Galaga is just unique enough to make it a classic and shining example of the genre.
Alpha Mission (NES) – Supposedly Alpha Mission is and SNK classic, and received a visually stunning sequel on the NeoGeo AES and MVS. I can’t say much about that, since I’ve never run across it. Alpha Mission on the NES on the other hand, is good as far as a SHMUP goes, but also somewhat generic both visually and in gameplay and reminds me of a lot of other titles on the NES like Star Force. Overall it’s not too hard to play, just shooting and dropping bombs on ground targets for power ups, its entertaining enough.
Xenophobe (NES) – My first non-SHMUP of this session and it’s an odd cartooney version of Alien. It’s fun and true 8-bit looking, but man it controls strangely. Too many hit points on the enemy’s, no way to shot over head without jumping, getting knocked on your butt (literally in this game), and the jumping is weird if useless. That and I guess it’s best if played in two player.
Image Fight (NES) – Yes, I know most of my plays this weekend have been SHMUPS. If you ask me though Image Fight is a pretty strange name for a SHMUP, but it’s a pretty good, and tough game. On list of top SHMUPS on the NES Image Fight is usually on the top 10 list, usually among the top 3 often only preceded by the hyper paced bullet hell Recca. Image Fight deserves it’s spot with the NES’s top SHMUPS, as it starts out slow but places pressure on the player immediately, and with smart enemies from the get go. Graphically the game doesn’t look to bad either for the NES, which is probably thanks to the game being made by irem, the makers of R-Type and Raiden. Overall, the game is a must own for SHMUP lovers, and the NES collector.
The Adventures of Rad Gravity (NES) – I mentioned this one long ago in an 8-bit Friday entry as a buy of the week, and as one of those missed deals at Midwest Gaming Classics. Sadly, it’s taken me this long to play it though. This is actually a really entertaining little gem, and precisely the kind of obscure NES title I have taken great enjoyment in seeking out over the last year. Basically the game is a platformer with a cartoon look, set in sci-fi environment. It’s fun to look at as well as play.
Star War (NES) – Ok is there anything better than seeing and hearing Star Wars in 8-bit? As with most Star Wars games based on the movie there is a lot of non-canonical license taken but at least the cut scenes are pretty awesome. Like the SNES’s Super Star Wars, it can be pretty tough, but I think this version can be gotten through. It also reminds me a bit of the a fore mentioned Rad Gravity. I have to say the Star Wars Theme, and the Cantana music in 8-bit sound really make it worth it.
Star Soldier (NES) – Star Soldier is another game that seems to grace the list of top ten NES SHMUPS fairly often, and much like the earlier mentioned Image Fight with good reason. It’s both challenging and unique, and often takes advantage of your own perception. Definitely not another generic SHMUP on the NES. This one actually earned a squeal on the N64 named Star Soldier: Vanishing Earth, and was one of the first NES Virtual Console titles to appear on the Wii U.
Abadox (NES) – Kind of a play on R-Type’s “gross out SHMUP” uniqueness. What can I say it’s a side scrolling SHMUP with a guy on a space suit battling his way through blood and guts, flying eyeballs, and all that gross stuff. It’s a challenging game none the less, and no one can deny that it’s different.
Pin Bot (NES) – I mentioned this one as a Friday night buy some weeks ago as well, of course this is the first play through of it. It’s actually really good, and not a bad pinball emulation for the NES, even if the pink and blue are a little too dominate. The music is great, as is the actual Pin Bot voice that chimes in from time to time. Another good suggestion inspired by Classic Game Room.
Pinball Quest (NES) – Last but not least for my NES backlog. The skull on the front of the box has been looking at me rather sadly for making this game last. It’s like I can hear him saying “Here I’ve been at the top of the boxed game pile reminding you to play us NES games and you make me last, and not in the same session as all the other games? Isn’t it bad enough I’m going to be a skull in a pinball for all eternity, but you have to make me last?”. What too much? Well look at that skull guy doesn’t he look sad and forlorn? Anyway, Pinball Quest is a rather unique game that separates itself from many of the other pinball games available at the time. Of course it’s also a Jeleco game, which says a lot too since Jeleco tended to publish games that were a little different and more imaginative. Pinball Quest can actually be played a few different ways, one as just a simple pinball game with three different tables to choose from, or in “RPG” mode. Each of the three tables is pretty entertaining on its own and it was unique for an NES pinball game to even feature more than one table, but the RPG mode is what really sells it and makes it totally different this is after all the “Pinball Quest” the game is named after. Basically the RPG game has you set out to “rescue the princess” by playing a pinball play field in which you break through barriers, kill enemies, and receive your sub-quests all with your ball which obviously you have to get to its destination with your paddles. It’s actually tougher than it sounds and you’d be surprised how easily that ball finds its way between your paddles. My chief complaint about this game is that the paddles are too small, and my second complaint is that if you push up on the d-pad your paddles float away. It’s a good and cool concept for a game otherwise, and worth having if you enjoy the pinball emulators on consoles, or just want to play a whole different type of pinball all together.