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Review: Toaplan Arcade Shoot ‘Em Up Collection Vol.1

If you ever visited an arcade in the early to mid 90s there are certain things to will be burned into your mind into the end of time. Those of course being neon space carpet, the sounds of elephants in Street Fighter II, and seeing missiles narrowing spaceships to mere millimeters on all the shoot ’em up titles. Of course shoot ’em up titles have been a staple of the arcades for decades and the folks over at Bitwave Games somehow managed to sweet talk the folks over at Tatsujin to bring four titles over the PC for the very first time. This collection is known as Toaplan Arcade Shoot ‘Em Up Collection Volume 1.

The collection contains some recognizable titles as well as some cult classics that have gone underappreciated for years. The most recognizable titles is Truxton as the game did receive a console release back in 1989 on the Sega Genesis and is often mentioned by Classic Game Room as the thing that makes something in a league of its own compared to its rivals. The most surprising entry has to be the run and gun title Out Zone as the game remained exclusive to the arcades since its launch back in 1990.

One thing we do want to point out is that my internet security recognized Out Zone, Twin Cobra and Zero Wing as suspicious enough where it had to run an auto scan of the file. Of course it didn’t find anything wrong with it, but it’s still possible that some will run into the issue at first startup. Also I’m weird and decided to play these games using a keyboard and not a controller or arcade stick. This caused some problems at first due to the key layout. For example, we all know the WASD keys are used to move your character, but if you need to use your Shoot button you press the left Control button. While this was very weird at first, you can go in and change the controls to anything you want. I personally didn’t change anything and got use to the layout fairly easily after the first minute. With that said, I do highly recommend you use an Arcade Stick for the most authentic use.

With that said, all of these games work very well and have everything under the sun that you would want in a collection like this. While it does contain enhanced graphics, each title does allow you go add CRT and pixel filters for that true classic feel. My biggest positive has to be the Very Easy Mode. It’s always very intimidating watching the Press State/Insert Coin screen and seeing just how crazy these titles can get at times, but this mode along with quick saves and reloads can help you ease into it. It’s also great as an introduction to these kinds of games for children. Definitely a great way to heighten those reflexes and wake yourself up in the mornings.

Response time feels very fluent and don’t notice any form of lag from the computer or keyboard controls. This not only makes the experience great for veteran games and fans of the genre, but also makes the difficulty that which every video game should be. That of course being that when I would die not once did I feel it was the game itself, but my own mistakes that led to to the dreaded restart.

There are some negatives, but I wouldn’t necessarily call them game breakers. Obviously as noted above the control layout using a keyboard is not pick up and go regarding the layout, but still doesn’t require a learning curb in that sense. My biggest complain is actually how the games are displayed. Despite being advertised as a collection, there is no way to purchase them all as a package deal via Steam. Instead, you are required to purchase these games individually for $7.99. While these games are different enough where someone who purchases Out Zone might not enjoy Zero Wing, it still would have been great to see them being sold as a collection together for $29.99.

(Update: The collection is now available as a bundle via Steam for $19.80)

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Overall this is definitely something you need for your collection if you are a fan of arcade shoot ’em up titles and a must have if you own an arcade stick and/or Steam Machine.

These titles were provided to us via Freemode PR.


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