Legendary programmer Uemura Tatsuya reveals his top 5 Toaplan games, updated PC ports confirmed

Boss battle scene from Truxton II made by Toaplan.
Toaplan created some insanely cool boss battles back in the day, like this one from Truxton II (Tatsujin Oh). Pic credit: TOAPLAN Co., Ltd./TATSUJIN

Recently, Uemura Tatsuya revealed his best five Toaplan shoot-’em-ups via his U-Brand YouTube channel. This video is a follow-up on a personal ranking that appeared in a video by Shmup Junkie — a YouTuber that predominantly covers arcade and shoot-’em-up games.

Uemura further elaborates on why he picked these five titles. He states that these aren’t only his preferences as a player but what he likes as a creator remembering these games. While at Toaplan, Uemura worked as a programmer and a music composer.

So, what are Uemura’s favorite Toaplan games? They are as follows in descending order:

  1. Dogyuun (Arcade / Initial release date: November 1992)
  2. Kyukyoku Tiger / Twin Cobra (Arcade, Android, iOS, FM Towns, Nintendo Entertainment System, PC Engine, PlayStation, Sega Mega Drive, Sharp X68000 / Initial release date: October 1987)
  3. Slap Fight (Arcade, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, Sega Mega Drive, Thomson MO5, Thomson TO8, ZX Spectrum / Initial release date: July 1986)
  4. Flying Shark (Arcade, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore Amiga, Commodore 64, FM Towns, MS-DOS, Nintendo Entertainment System, X68000, ZX Spectrum / Initial release date: March 1987)
  5. Out Zone (Arcade / Initial release date: August 1990)

If you want to take a closer look at these titles and many others, check out Shmup Junkie’s video below:

Toaplan games coming to PC

Toaplan opened its doors in 1979 and sadly closed them in 1994. But during its existence, it played a leading role in establishing the shoot-’em-up genre. Moreover, it pioneered the danmaku (bullet hell) sub-genre with Batsugun in 1993. And nowadays, we find bullet hell patterns and play mechanics in many modern games, such as NieR: Automata.

Iceman, Beltiana Divine, Jeeno Limrustedt, Alteeno Trudy, Romu Schneider, and Olisis R. Gladebaran as they appear in the Batsugun key art visual.
Iceman, Beltiana Divine, Jeeno Limrustedt, Alteeno Trudy, Romu Schneider, and Olisis R. Gladebaran are the key characters in Batsugun. Pic credit: TOAPLAN Co., Ltd./TATSUJIN

However, Toaplan’s games still hold a special place among shoot-’em-up and retro game fans. So the recent announcement by Swedish indie developer Bitwave Games was well-received.

They’re currently working on updated PC ports of the following titles: Truxton, Twin Cobra, Out Zone, and Zero Wing — later made famous by the “All Your Base Are Belong to Us” meme. While they haven’t yet confirmed any release dates, these titles will make their way to Steam and GOG.

Furthermore, Bitwave Games are closely collaborating with Masahiro Yuge, the former co-founder of Toaplan. Today, Yuge heads Tatsujin, which owns the original Toaplan intellectual properties (IPs). Bitwave Games also aims to cut down on input lag and make available a very easy mode.

Out Zone is the ultimate run-and-gun shooter that few got to play

There’s a good reason Out Zone is Uemura’s top pick — it’s bloody awesome! It’s an intense top-down run-and-gun shooter, boasting stunning graphics and a killer soundtrack. Also, its steep difficulty curve will test the twitch gaming skills of even the most seasoned players.

Japanese arcade flyer of Out Zone made by Toaplan.
The official Japanese arcade flyer of Out Zone features the main playable character, which is actually Jeeno Limrustedt from Batsugun. Pic credit: TOAPLAN Co., Ltd./TATSUJIN

So, we’re excited that Bitwave Games announced this title. And about f*****g time, as Out Zone never received a home port in over three decades. Given its overall quality, it holds up well and should even appeal to newcomers that don’t mind a challenge. Here’s hoping we receive news about potential Batsugun and Grind Stormer ports. Stay tuned!

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