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Air Buster: Trouble Specialty Raid Unit
Air Buster: Trouble Specialty Raid Unit (Or Air Buster for short) is an arcade shoot 'em up game developed by Kaneko and was originally released for the arcades in 1990. It was later ported to the Turbografx-16 under the title Aero Blasters and the Mega Drive in which the US version is the same name as the arcade game a year later. The arcade game was licensed to Namco in Japan and Sharp Image Electronics in US and Mexico.
Why It Rocks
- The graphics are absolutely vivid and colorful, even for a shoot 'em up. The PC-Engine version on the other hand has fairly water downed graphics compared to the Mega Drive and arcade version due to the limitations of the hardware, though nearly every stage has a ton of parallax scrolling.
- Instead of restarting at the beginning of a level or having checkpoints, you always respawn where you left of. This makes it more forgiving than other shooters, though you lose everything that you have.
- You can play with a friend at the same time, the console versions even retains this feature.
- While it may not as catchy as other shoot'em ups, the soundtrack is still awesome and rocking. With tunes such as Seaside Front, Scramble!, Zero Gravity, and many others. The Mega Drive and PC-Engine versions aren't shabby either, with the PC-Engine version sound similar to the arcade except with wavetable synthesis.
- In fact, there's an arrange of Seaside Front which sounds even more awesome!
- Intimidating and huge boss battles that can nearly take up a third of the screen, City Stalker is a good example of this where it destroys nearly the City in the first stage and it's gigantic compared to the other enemies in the game. They provide enough challenge and thought to the player without being too easy or hard.
- There's some creativity in the stages that stands out to other shoot 'em ups. The notable example is the Zero gravity stages where if the player is moving, the planes don't stop in midair. Another example is the maze section in the final stage as yellow blocks are moving in different ways and items to freely collect. The variety in the stages is what makes it so exciting and prevents it from being boring.
- The controls are pretty snappy and are easy to get use to, just like with nearly every over shoot 'em ups.
- The Buster Flash is extremely beneficial as it destroys bullets and popcorn enemies (enemies that take only one hit). In order to optimize the player's power, it has a cooldown meter for a few seconds and when ready it'll blink with a message "Stand-By". This prevents the player from exploiting it, creating a emphasis on balancing the game entirely. It can be triggered by holding the attack button for a few seconds, and then let go of the button.
- Speaking of the ports, the Turbografx-16 and Mega Drive are great ports of the arcade original.
- The Turbografx-16 port has extended content than the Arcade and Mega Drive, as well as doubling the speed of the buster flash cooldown. This version also has an extended ending in which the Blaster Fighter's escape the collapsing stronghold and slowly head towards Earth.
- The Mega Drive version is nearly close to the arcade graphically, and far more balanced in comparison to the PC-Engine Port (minus the funky hitboxes of the Blaster Fighters).
- There's some nice references and shout-outs here and there. There's two large buildings in the first stage that looks like it's mimicking the Sharp X68000 and the FM Towns! Another one is a reference to a quote that's at the bottom of the Attract Mode screen with it saying "How High Can You Get?"
- Aero Blasters on the PC-Engine is by far the most difficult out of all the versions. The enemies and boss attacks are far more aggressive and faster than any of the other versions. To compensate the harsh difficulty, the buster flash's cooldown speed has been doubled.
- Due to Kaneko implementing a decompression code in the Mega Drive version, the loading times are insane. It can take up about ten seconds to enter a stage, compared to the PC-Engine which is basically loading free!
- Speaking of the Mega Drive version, the wonky hitboxes of the Blaster Fighters may definitely irritate many players because it makes certain sections impossible not to get hit.
- Despite being imaginative, first time players won't be having fun with the zero gravity sections. As said before, the player can't stop in midair which will make it annoying as some parts require you to dodge destroyed debris or a formation of bullets in certain areas. The PC-Engine version averts this, however as the player will stop in a few seconds in midair.
Electronic Gaming Monthly (Tubrografx-16): 7 / 9 / 9 / 9
Air Buster has received very positive reviews in all of the versions, with critics and general audiences praising it's wonderful graphics, addicting gameplay, and delightful sound.
- A Sharp X68000 version was under development before 1994. It was listed in the Oh!X Magazine's upcoming software selection alongside with Kaneko's ports of Tatsujin and Same! Same! Same!. Sadly, all three ports never saw the light of day. However, there's gameplay footage in YouTube showing that a prototype may exist somewhere.
Cyvern: The Dragon Weapons
Great 1000 Miles Rally
Kaneko Seisakusho (or Kaneko Co. LTD) is a Japanese company that was founded in June 25th, 1980 by Hiroshi Kaneko. Their notably known for their obscure video games (might have retired developing from) from mostly the arcades and home consoles. In 1985, they established Inter State Co., a subsidiary of Kaneko to produce home consumer games but suddenly stopped developing after 1994. Kaneko also established two subsidiary's outside of their home country, including the US in 1990, and Europe in 1993. But Kaneko USA closed in 1994, leaving some completed games unpublished such as Socks The Cat and Fido Dido.
List of Games
|Game Name||Genre||Release Date||Platforms|
|Red Clash||Vertically Scrolling Shooter||1981||Arcade
Emerson Arcadia 2001
|Jump Coaster||Single Screen Platformer||1983||Arcade
Tenku Restuden Musashi
Heavy Unit: MD Special (Mega Drive)
|Horizontally Scrolling Shooter||1988||Arcade
|Air Buster: Trouble Specialty Raid Unit (US Mega Drive / Arcade)
Aero Blasters (JP Mega Drive / Turbografx-16)
|Horizontally Scrolling Shooter||January 1990th (Initial Release Date)
January 31st (Mega Drive)
Sharp X68000 (Unreleased)
|Gals Panic||Grid Capture "Qix" Style||1990||Arcade
Mega CD (Unreleased)
|Jackie Chan: The Kung Fu Master
Jackie Chan: In Fists Of Fire (Update)
|Gals Panic 3||Grid Capture "Qix" Style||1995||Arcade|
Jackie Chan: The Kung Fu Master
The Lion King (1994 Video Game)
Mickey Mania: The Timeless Adventures Of Mickey Mouse
The Sharp X68000 is a 16 to 32 bit computer made by Sharp. It was introduced in 1987 with the launch title, Gradius from the arcade version.
Why It Rocks
- The main point of this computer is that it can provide arcade perfect ports! (Most of the time). In fact, the hardware is similar to that of Capcom's CPS games (Ghoul's n Ghosts and Strider are examples).
- Speaking of the games, original titles for the system are pretty solid as well. Notables are Mad Stalker, Nemesis '90 Kai (A remake from the original Nemesis 2 for MSX), Overtake, Geograph Seal, and the best known one, Akumajou Dracula! (Or Castlevania overseas).
- It was a pretty powerful system at the time. Much more powerful than the NES or the PC-Engine (which were still being continued at the time). It can display an impressive 512 colors displayed on screen (The Turbografx-16 has the same thing however), rotation and scaling (though this mostly applies to backgrounds), and backgrounds can have 8bpp (Or 256 colors displayed in an image).
- At the time of it's lifespan, it had over 700 games.
- The computer has great sounding music and like before, it can imitate the music from the arcades.
- You can attach most third-party controllers so that it'll make it easier to play games on the system. (Capcom made their own for Street Fighter II)
- Despite most people claiming it's literally arcade perfect, most games aren't 100% ported from the arcade.
- It does have poor titles, like Heavy Nova for instance.
- Extremely high price. At the time, it costed about 369,000 Yen! (Or $3,000 in the U.S.)
- It was never released outside of Japan, just like the FM Towns. Though it did shipped to various countries.