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Toaplan Shooting Battle

Alberto 'Kazuya'
Tiger Heli, Kyukyoku Tiger and Twin Cobra, all of them "pixel perfect". The trembling roar of the tiger.
Toaplan Shooting Battle

The dead of Toaplan

The first generations of video games lovers have had to see how the sword of Damocles fell irreversibly on one of the most illustrious companies of the Japanese scene. Toaplan closed its doors in a fateful year 1994. Luckily, his legacy or a part of it (there are still titles that have not been ported to domestic systems such as the wonderful Dogyuun !!, Out Zone or its continuation FixEight) remains in the catalogs of various platforms. We had to wait for the 32-bit systems to finally have "pixel perfect" conversions of some of their best work, especially in FM Towns Marty, Saturn and Playstation.

Equivalent on the console catalogue

The users of the Sega Saturn have in the Japanese catalog of this system an authentic masterpiece from Toaplan, the last title produced under their seal: Batsugun, considered to be one of the first games in initiating the path in the subgenre known as Bullet Hell. Against a title of such caliber the Playstation sector can be proud to have at its disposal one of the most wonderful and special compilations of the last 15 years for the titles and the way in which they appear. As the name suggests, Toaplan Shooting Battle Vol 1 is an exclusive compilation for the Japanese market, released on August 30 (1996), which includes one of the most veteran and forgotten franchises until the present day of shoot'em up. With all of you: Tiger Heli, Kyukyoku Tiger and its Western namesake Twin Cobra.

Bullets, bombs and explosions!!!

Twin Cobra II not included

Some purists of the series might wonder about the absence of Kyukyoku Tiger II Plus / Twin Cobra II Plus within the compilation. The explanation is a bit intrinsic: Toaplan closes its doors in 1994, leaving its licenses widely distributed. Some of them, like the one we are dealing with, have always been Taito's. They commissioned the development of Kyukyoku Tiger II to the newly created Takumi studio, composed largely by members of the extinct Toaplan. The game in arcade version was released at the end of 1995 and the only adaptation for a domestic system that exists is for the Saturn, adapted by Naxat Soft, and again as an exclusive of the Japanese market and launched at the end of 1997, specifically on December 18.

Tiger Heli: Graphics and Gameplay

Tiger Heli: The origin of the saga comes from a distant 1985 where it sees the light in arcade format using the Taito Tiger Heli plaque. Apart from the arcade version, it has only been ported to two domestic systems. First it was ported in 1987 to Famicom by Pony Inc. The corresponding NES version was in charge of Micronics and distributed by Acclaim. Second, the other platform where it can be found is Playstation, therefore the only "pixel perfect" version is that of the Sony machine, adding the benefits of the adaptation in the General Option mode. There is no main weapon selection, it is always the same. The secondary weapon is a bomb that devastates a good part of the screen and as power-up we have small helicopters that will accompany us next to our ship as a second point of firing towards the enemy.

The difficulty is moderate to high, alert newbies.

Twin Cobra: Graphics and Gameplay

Kyukyoku Tiger / Twin Cobra: Both titles are the same game with the exception that Twin Cobra is the adopted name of the series for the West (both United States and Europe) apart from some significant differences that will be mentioned later. This is the continuation of Tiger Heli and its technical evolution is remarkable, considering that the difference of two years in full development of the graphic treatment by sprites is a long time. The mechanics remains the same, vertical shooter featuring our favorite helicopter, including three types of weapons with their corresponding power-ups, which increase the cadence and firing power (novelty in the saga). We also have at our disposition the powerful bombs that destroy everything on screen, a peculiarity not only of the game but emblem of a majority of the titles of Toaplan that serve as forerunners of what we would find on Tatsujin.

Conclusion

If you are a fan of the good shoot'em up, of a company as legendary as Toaplan, or you are just interested in investigating one of the pillars of the genre for the cult to the history of videogames you can not miss this compilation under any circumstances because it contains a part of the history of the shoot'em up genre. The original game "Tiger Heli" and its continuation "Kyukyoku Tiger / Twin Cobra" all on the same disc for a platform that identically reproduces the product intended for the arcade.

9 | SUPERB