Canyon Warrior is a vertically-scrolling shoot ’em up written by Ste Cork and published by Mastertronic in 1989. The game came out very late in the ZX Spectrum‘s life, which is probably why it’s technically quite impressive (for the Spectrum).
The 1987 MSX2 version of the classic coin-op, Ikari Warriors, is arguably the best 8-bit conversion of this scrolling shooter around. It was converted by SNK themselves, so is about as authentic as an MSX fan could hope for. In fact: the producer of this port was Koji Obada, who designed the original arcade game.
Also known as Gunlock and Galactic Attack in some territories, and Layer Section in Japan, RayForce is a vertical screen bullet hell shooter released into arcades by Taito in 1994. And it is quite impressive, as arcade shooters go.
Light Force is one of the best vertically-scrolling shoot ’em ups on the ZX Spectrum and it was published by Faster Than Light in 1986. It was written by Greg Follis and Roy Carter – the same guys who wrote the classic Spectrum games Tir Na Nog, Dun Darach and Marsport for Gargoyle Games.
The game is a fairly straightforward – if very playable – shooter, with smooth-scrolling backgrounds that have destructible elements, but it is so well presented that it’s hard not to be impressed.
Power Strike II is a re-titling of the second Aleste game on the Game Gear. It was again developed by Compile and published by Sega in Europe and Brazil in 1993. The original Japanese title was “GG Aleste II: Lance Bird“.
Santron is a Christmas-themed vertically-scrolling shoot ’em up created by Sarah Jane Avory and first released for the Commodore 64 in 2019.
Sarah programmed the game and created all the graphics and sound herself, and it is very good. Santron is actually a variation of Sarah‘s previous game, Neutron.
Neutron is a vertically-scrolling shoot ’em up created by Sarah Jane Avory and first released for the Commodore 64 in 2019.
It was created for the 2019 RGCD C64 16KB cartridge game development competition, and is actually a re-coding of a game Sarah created in the 1980s but that went unreleased (because the publisher she was tied to at the time went out of business, before the game’s release), and was eventually lost (she regrettably threw away the disks with the source code after moving house years later).
Created by Nostalgia in 2015, Commando Arcade is a reworking of the original C64 Commando port by Elite, but with completely new graphics, sound, and levels. So, rather than it being written from scratch, the game was built around the framework of an existing game.
Programmed by Chris Butler, with graphics by Rory Green and Chris Harvey, and music by Rob Hubbard, the Commodore 64 conversion of Capcom‘s arcade game Commando is considered to be a classic 8-bit game, even though it was put together very quickly (ie. rushed-out) by publisher Elite Systems.
After acquiring the official license they wanted it out in time for Christmas 1985, which gave the coders around four months to make the game. As a result Commando on home computer systems was a cut-down version of the arcade game, with fewer levels than the original and somewhat bare-bones graphics.