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Toaplan Arcade Shoot ‘Em Up Bundle Vol. 1 Review

Toaplan Arcade Shoot 'Em Up Bundle Vol 1 Zero Wing Review (1)

Despite being over 30 years old, all of the games included in Toaplan Arcade Shoot ‘Em Up Bundle Vol. 1 remain tantalisingly enjoyable to play.

That’s the magic of the shoot ’em up up genre though – while their visuals age, their gameplay remains top notch. It’s a genre that’s ageless, tireless, and so we can’t help but dip into it time and time again. Before it went bankrupt in 1994, Toaplan released many quality shoot ’em ups, and whether you’re familiar with them or not, what’s on offer here is well worth digging into.

Four titles make up Toaplan Arcade Shoot ‘Em Up Bundle Vol. 1: Twin Cobra, Truxton, Out Zone, and Zero Wing. Between them, they offer up a varied slice of what the shoot ’em up genre offers. Twin Cobra and Truxton are your standard shoot ’em ups of the vertically scrolling nature, putting you in charge of airborne craft. As the screen scrolls ever upwards, it’s up to you to shoot down your attackers while avoiding their bullets. And as you’d expect, it’s easier said than done.

Out Zone and Zero Wing each offer something a little bit different, but don’t expect them to be any easier. In Out Zone you’re in control of a soldier, and along with being able to shoot in any direction, you’re also in control of the pace. Zero Wing, on the other hand, again puts you in control of a craft but has you scrolling horizontally rather than vertically. Overall, you’ve got a nice selection of what the shoot ’em up genre has to offer.

Toaplan Arcade Shoot 'Em Up Bundle Vol 1 Out Zone Review (1)

No matter what title you play, there are pick ups galore, offering new fire types and upgrades. All of the titles have bombs that you can make use of, too, causing massive damage to bosses and other powerful foes, while clearing the screen of small fry. While we enjoy all titles in the collection, we have grown particularly fond of Out Zone and Truxton – there’s just something about them that elevates them above the rest. But rest assured, there are no duffs here.

Outside of the actual games, what makes this bundle impressive is the work that’s been done to make them more accessible and playable by modern audiences. You can make use of save states, for example, and there are option menus for each game allowing you to change things like difficulty, number of starting lives and more. Assists are also available, allowing you to turn on things like autofire.

Toaplan Arcade Shoot 'Em Up Bundle Vol 1 Truxton Review (1)

Other things added here include screen filter options, input customisation, and even online leaderboards. The latter are particularly appreciated, adding yet another reason to return time after time to master these titles and climb up the ranks. And for those with displays up for the task, the screen can even be rotated to facilitate TATE mode.

Each of the games included in Toaplan Arcade Shoot ‘Em Up Bundle Vol. 1 is available separately, so if you’re only interested in one or two of them you can save yourself a bit of money. For most, though, the bundle as a whole is well worth investing in, as all of the titles here offer hours of intense shoot ’em up fun. None of the games here are particularly unique, but they’ve all been brought back so wonderfully that any fan of the genre shouldn’t pass them up.

Toaplan Arcade Shoot ‘Em Up Bundle Vol. 1 Review – GameSpew’s Score

This review of Toaplan Arcade Shoot ‘Em Up Bundle Vol. 1 was facilitated by a code provide by the game’s publisher. It’s available on PC.
Editor in Chief // An avid gamer since discovering the wonders of the Acorn Electron in the '80s, Rich has nearly played more games than he's had hot dinners. Not one to put all his eggs in one basket, Rich is happy to play games of all genres, but he particularly enjoys racing games and anything that's full of non-stop action, especially if it includes a good dose of humour, horror or crudeness!