SHOOT THEM UP THROUGH AGES
A MAJOR STEP FOR THE SHOOT - CONTINUATION
The rest of the story is actually quite unexpected. Ideas and originality are not a matter of money, and some small unknown companies will make some noise in 1987. It's an editor with a few creative geniuses in its teams who will outdo its competitors. Irem will have everyone agree when they release the most legendary, most innovative and most iconic Shoot them Up of all times. R-Type was certainly inspired by Gradius, but it brings so much new things and its realization is so brilliant that it quickly becomes a reference. The game will be copied hundreds of times, but rarely equaled! Adapted to all medias on earth and beyond, the Mega-Hit of Irem satisfy all shooting games lovers in their every need. For the first time, the player can add a strategic module to the vessel, in addition to Power Up and Speed Up, as well as various weapons (lasers, plasma, missiles...). It can be placed anywhere around the ship, allowing many strategies; it's up to the player to adapt it according to the zones he gets through. The game is long, difficult, taking, beautiful and varied, and its gameplay is simply revolutionary. A monument of gaming.
Sega re-uses the Space Harrier engine with After Burner and After Burner II the same year! This time, you control an F-14 Tomcat and the action is much faster and the game more "realistic" since we have to shoot enemy planes without being shot down. Reflexes are put to the test: only downside, collision tests - like Afterburner - are still quite rough, raising considerably the difficulty of the game. Arcade cabinets are extraordinary and the games are addictive , Sega still knows how to make money and gradually conquers the arcades.
Building on the success of 1942, Capcom, who likes to take risks, launches 1943: The Battle of Midway. And the editor is not alone to fall in love with the sequels as Gradius II, Galaga 88', Fantasy Zone 2, and Zaxxon 3D (it changes dramatically, becoming a tube shooter), are the result of a past episode that met success. These doesn't offer much more innovations since the first, as you can imagine; a few new little things are enough to take some money, and most of the time it doesn't bring nothing new to the genre.
NEC PC Engine made its merry way and already have some good stuff. The console released this year will gradually receive the greatest arcade hits adaptations: Gradius, Salamander, R-Type, Xevious, 1943, Space Invaders... and these simply to be the best arcade ports available on a home system, plus a few exclusive titles that will arrive later. But we'll get back to it! For now, Namco's Dragon Spirit arrives and the small system also hosts it a few months later: it's a vertical scrolling game where you control a dragon. Power ups, natural backgrounds, original Bosses, good controls... an instant classic, with very large hitboxes (only for the player, of course) and unhuman difficulty!
Still in 87, Nichibutsu is still in the race with Terra Force, a beautiful vertical and horizontal shooter, inspired by Salamander. The realization of the soft is remarkable, with differential scrollings, beautiful backgrounds and a fast and taking action. Here's a cocktail already known but magnified by the firm's talented programmers. Taito releases Twin Cobra which is simply a result of Tiger Heli, still developed by Toaplan.
Terra Force - Nichibutsu - 1987
The Golden Era (1988-1993)
In 1988, Sega Genesis made its appearance, with a few hits in its wake adapted from the arcade world, as the excellent Thunder Force II radically better than the first album, as well as the new Phelios or Atomic Robo-Kid. Titles such as Space Harrier II or Super Thunder Blade are launched with the machine, whereas in the arcades Sega releases the very impressive Galaxy Force & Galaxy Force II the same year, featuring dedicated cabinets mounted on hydraulic jacks absolutely spectacular, like Space Harrier II before. Rail Shooter is on the front scene with the editor... to book for amateurs!
New episodes from Konami's and Capcom's hits arrive in dark rooms, respectively Gradius II: Gofer no Yabo and 1943 Kai (god it's original, but nevermind): games are successful and quickly became very popular with aficionados of the series who are delighted. Capcom also releases the excellent Forgotten Worlds, taking the idea of Section-Z or Legendary Wings, and this time putting two players in command of armed flying humanoids! As for Konami, the publisher launches a very original game, Parodius, on the MSX: it's an horizontal scrolling shooter in which humor and parody are honored: you can control the editor's other games heroes (including Vic Viper from Gradius , and Pengo from Twin Bee!) and find there a lot of winks. The game will experience sequels on the Super Famicom and successful episodes in arcade. Jaleco is trying the Shoot them Up adventure, 'World War II' sauce, in the wake of who you know (...) with P-47 The Freedom Fighter, but this time in a horizontal scrolling game. First, somehow! Image Fight is a vertical speedy shooter from Irem, very different from R-Type, which will then be ported on the PC Engine. The editor, prolific, also ports the vast majority of its shooting games on this system! Godsend for fans, especially the for ports are often very successful. It will be the same for Taito's Truxton, also known under the soft surname 'Tatsujin': it proposes a vertical scrolling taking action using tate screen (vertical screen) and a fairly good realization. On MSX-2, the little Compile develops a title that will make some noise: It is Aleste. The game is is fastest and the most rich with power-ups at the time!
In 1989 a new milestone was reached. The Shoot them Up has evolved considerably, thanks of course to the rapid development of technology, but also ideas and talent of some editors.