Toaplan is a name synonymous with classic arcade gaming, 90s gamer kid? Chances are you’ve played a Toaplan game, heck if you’ve been watching retro video game reviews on YouTube long enough I’m sure the word Truxton will induce some Classic Game Room feelings.
In an era where Arcade games are back on the rise the team at Bitwave Games have decided to release volume one of a collection compiling some of the greatest Toaplan titles, is this going to stand up with some of the other Shmup compilations or just a total waste of coins.
Toaplan Arcade Shoot ‘Em Up Collection Vol. 1 presents the following titles.
- Zero Wing
- Out Zone
- Twin Cobra
All of these should be familiar to anyone who’s a fan of the Shmup genre or had a healthy collection of Sega Mega Drive/Genesis games, aside from Out Zone which is seeing its first release outside of the arcades with this very collection!.
With this collection you can opt to buy the games separately retailing at £6.69 each or buy the total package at £16.60 which clocks in at quite a fair discount if you want the whole shebang but credit is given for offering the option to just buy the titles you want.
What I did really find curious with this title and I would presume the fact it’s a Steam exclusive helped this, is that the games are totally separate instals, nothing ties them together, no overarching menu with an extras tab or gallery mode, nope you just launch each game separately which gives the feeling that they were maybe intended once to just be staggered releases and instead BitWave changed it to be a more consumer friendly model, purely guess work on my behalf.
The versions of the games that are being used here are the Arcade versions of the titles, as previously mentioned Twin Cobra, Truxton and Zero Wing had Mega Drive/Genesis versions, I would have loved those to be part of the package, especially for the iconic cutscenes of Zero Wing “I Set Us Up The Bomb” IFKYK and while they aren’t available, BitWave have said Zero Wing will be getting the cutscenes in some capacity though how has yet to be detailed.
The games are emulated beautifully with zero noticeable lag and from what I experienced no input lag either. On the visual side of the spectrum the games are arcade perfect and the developers have made sure to add enough graphical tweak options to suit your needs, Tate mode, Scan Lines, true aspect ratio or stretched? All are catered for meaning you can make your time with these titles visually pleasing for yourself.
So emulating the titles is one thing but what have BitWave done to make their versions of the games definintive, aside from releasing Out Zone that is! Well modern QoL features of course! In this day and age no re-release is worthy of looking at without at least a save state feature and the Toaplan Arcade Shoot ‘Em Up Collection Vol. 1 goes that one step further.
The games all come with options of Save States, Autofire, Health and lives tweaks, different regions of the games, the ability to change your hit box or keep it visible and that oh so handy Rewind feature means that everyone regardless of skill level will be able to see everything these titles have to offer, great to see considering the Arcade version of Truxton is even harder than the infamous Mega Drive and TurboGrafx 16 versions.
While trying the games out I have come across a few audio issues and the lack of a main menu for the complete package did disappoint me, the only other negative is that reportedly the Out Zone ROM that’s being used here is an older version and missing some content which is a darn shame considering how good the game is.
As a package Toaplan Arcade Shoot ‘Em Up Collection Vol. 1 is great value for 3 Shmups and a run and good shooter in terms of monetary value and the extras are fantastic but as a total package, it lacks the menus and additional gallery content for it to feel like a complete package/celebration and feels more like just enhanced solo re-releases.
Fantastic re-releases but doesn’t feel quite like a cohesive package.
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Straight from the streets of SouthTown, all Dunks Powah'd and ready to Bust A Wolf. Catch me on Twitch/YouTube.