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“.
Known in North America as “Rambo: First Blood Part II” (complete with movie licensed characters), and “Ashura” in Japan. Also known as: “Not-So-Secret Commando“, since this is an unsubtle clone of Capcom‘s classic 1985 arcade game, Commando (and SNK‘s 1986 game, Ikari Warriors – since it has a simultaneous two-player mode and level designs that echo that game). Joking aside: it’s a pretty good clone of Commando, although it does play rather slowly.
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).
Developed by Compile and originally released for the MSX in 1987 Golvellius was converted to the Master System by Sega in 1988. It is an action RPG with overhead, flick-screen exploration, Zelda-like sword-based combat and scrolling sections through caves.