MUSHA is a well-liked Megadrive shooter, made by famed Japanese developer Compile. It is part of the Aleste series, but features a ‘mecha’-suited protagonist fighting against a super computer that has taken over the Earth, rather than a spaceship.
A relatively obscure Taito arcade game from 1989*, Fighting Hawk is a vertically-scrolling bullet hell shooter where you fly an A-10 ‘Tankbuster’ up the screen, fighting its way through waves of enemies and bosses.
Fantasy Zone is a colourful scrolling shooter from 1986. It was created by Sega and it looks simple and cartoony, but is in fact very challenging.
The main character, Opa-Opa, is sometimes referred to as “Sega‘s first mascot” and is very similar to the one seen in the earlier TwinBee. Both TwinBee and this game have been credited with the creation of the “cute ’em up” genre, and that is probably not too far from the truth.
Thunder Blade is a single-player helicopter combat game that debuted in arcades in 1987, courtesy of Sega. It combines overhead shooting sections with third-person, ‘over-the-shoulder’ shooting sections and it features lots of impressive graphical scaling effects on the buildings and enemies.
Mercs is a classic arcade shooter from 1990. It was jointly developed by Sega and Capcom and features simultaneous three-player cooperative gameplay.
This obscure 1987 arcade game from Data East was a big influence on many games that came after it, in particular Manfred Trenz‘s Turrican series. It is obviously itself influenced by Nintendo‘s 1986 game, Metroid.
It also displays some similarities to Karnov, another Data East arcade game released the same year.
And, while you may have never heard of this game, it’s safe to say that it’s a bit of a ‘hidden gem’ in terms of old arcade games still worth playing today.
Developed by Apex Computer Productions, in association with Transmission Software, and published by Thalamus in 1989, Retrograde is a side-scrolling, progressive weapons shooter written by the same guys who made Creatures.
Retrograde came before Creatures, though.
Aero Fighters 2 (also known as Sonic Wings 2) is a superb vertically-scrolling bullet hell shooter from 1994, developed by Video System and published by SNK on the Neo Geo.
It can be played single, or simultaneous two-player, and you can choose between eight different aircraft to fly. Well, not really ‘fly’, but you know what I mean…