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Top 10 Shmups We Want To Come To The Virtual Console

Posted by Corbie Dillard

Since I've been fortunate enough to witness all of the shooter love in the comments lately, I thought I'd take a moment to share the love with a new top ten list chock full of shoot 'em ups. Although there have already been quite a few outstanding shooters released on the Virtual Console, there are still a lot of great titles left between the various consoles. Today we'll take a look at ten of the best. No need to thank me, just enjoy the list.

10. Star Soldier: Vanishing Earth (Nintendo 64) - Here's the forgotten member of the Star Soldier series and one that didn't get a lot of attention when it was first released on the shooter-starved Nintendo 64 console. This game took the visuals in a more 3-D direction, but the same 2-D shooter action that had already made the series a hit among gamers was left intact. Anyone that's played any of the other Star Soldier titles should feel right at home with Vanishing Earth. The difficulty was toned down quite a bit, so those who find the other titles a bit steep in challenge will definitely appreciate the smoother ride found in this great shooter title.

9. Coryoon (TurboGrafx-16) - Coryoon never saw a release outside of Japan, which is a real shame considering how much fun the game is. In Coryoon, you take control of a flying dragon and you'll have to shoot your way through level after level taking out enemies and grabbing up the fruit these defeated enemies drop. Although the game is more of a cute 'em up, it still features a solid challenge and some really creative bosses as well. The game makes great use of the TurboGrafx-16's visual horsepower with some gorgeous and colorful visuals, not to mention some of the smoothest parallax scrolling ever seen on the console. Coryoon is easily one of the most underrated shooters ever released and a game that really deserves a chance with gamers outside of Japan on the Virtual Console.

8. Jikkyou Oshaberi Parodius (SNES) - Many shooter fans will better know this game by its more English-friendly title "Chatting Parodius." This Parodius title features some of the most bizarre and unique visuals ever seen in a Parodius release. Another unique trait of this particular title, and the main reason for its strange title, is the voice announcer that constantly shouts out at you throughout each level. While the words are in Japanese, you can easily tell that this announcer is basically insulting you as you play through the game. In fact, he shouts at you for pretty much the entire duration of the game, give or take a few moments of silence here and there. Once again the gorgeous and vivid visuals return and as over-the-top as the bosses found in past Parodius releases were, they can't hold a candle to the insane bosses found in this title. While many Parodius fans consider Sexy Parodius to be the pinnacle of the series, it would be hard not to lump this amazing title right there beside it.

7. Gaiares (Mega Drive) - To say that Gaiares is high in difficulty would be like saying pouring alcohol on an open wound 'stings a little bit'. But with that high level of difficulty comes a great shooter challenge worthy of even the most seasoned shoot 'em up veterans out there. Gaiares looks and sounds very traditional as far as shooters go, but it does offer up enough twists to help it stand out from the crowd. The bosses in the game are fantastic, and extremely tricky in their attack patterns. The visuals aren't anything to write home about, but once you get into the game, you'll be far too busy to worry about what the surroundings look like. If you can appreciate an old-school shooter challenge that will test your skills to their utter limits, Gaiares should prove to be right up your alley.

6. Panorama Cotton (Mega Drive) - Panorama Cotton for the Mega Drive has two basic distinctions that make it unique in the Cotton line-up of shooter titles. The first one is that the game is by far and away the most sought-after and expensive Cotton game money can buy. The second distinction is that the game strays from the side-scrolling nature of the other Cotton releases and takes on a first-person Space Harrier-style perspective that takes the familiar look of the Cotton world and completely overhauls the game play in the process. It will take Cotton fans a little time to get used to the change in game play design, but once you get a handle on the new style of control, you'll find Panorama Cotton to be quite a challenging shooter that has enough unique elements to make it stand out from other titles in the Cotton series. Plus the Virtual Console release won't cost you the insane prices the actual game cartridge goes for on eBay.

5. Blazing Star (Neo Geo) - As good as Pulstar was on the Neo Geo systems, Blazing Star took everything that was good about it and built a much more well-rounded shooter experience around it. The visuals are stunning, even by Neo Geo standards, and there's never a lull in the eye candy that shines throughout each of the game's levels. As if the great classic shooter game play wasn't enough, the game also throws some absolutely enormous bosses at you that will test every inch of your shooter skills as you take them down. The music in the game is nothing to sneeze at either, as there are some absolutely fantastic musical tracks found in the game to carry the action-packed intensity. The Neo Geo system might not have featured a large number of shooter titles, but Blazing Star proves that it can stand up with some of the best the genre has to offer.

4. Pop'n Twinbee (SNES) - Konami's Parodius series of cute 'em ups has always greatly overshadowed the Twin Bee series of shooters, but for those who have taken the time over the years to give any of these great little titles a try, you obviously know how solid they are. Pop'n Twinbee takes the vertical shooter to new heights with its varied game play and responsive play control. The sugary sweet visuals and upbeat musical tracks also give the game a very light-hearted feel to it that carries the whimsical theme of the game perfectly. All of the Twin Bee titles are solid shooters in their own right, but Pop'n Twinbee is easily one of the best titles in the series. Great level designs, a solid cute 'em up challenge, and some of the best bosses you'll likely see in a game like this all come together to form one of the best cute shooters ever released. It's a shame that the Parodius and Twin Bee titles have long been ignored when it comes to a release outside of Japan, but this makes for the perfect opportunity to give these amazing titles a new life on the Virtual Console.

3. Cotton (TurboGrafx-16) - This is where the Cotton series began and the shooting world was introduced to the cute little broom-riding witch Willow. While Cotton is considered a cute 'em up, this game has a much darker tone than most other cute shooter releases. The game's difficulty is also fairly steep, even by normal shooter standards, which will obviously turn some gamers off that are expecting the game to play like it looks. Brilliant level designs abound throughout the game and there are some absolutely incredible bosses in this game, some of which are fairly spooky for a cute 'em up release. As if the great game play and visuals weren't enough, the game also features some outstanding music to go along with them. About the only aspect of the game that might be considered a negative is the game's high difficulty. If you can deal with it, you'll be treated to a wonderful and charming shooting experience.

2. Space Megaforce (SNES) - Blazing Lazers fans will immediately notice the similarities between this title and Blazing Lazers. In fact, if you didn't know any better, you'd probably swear that Space Megaforce was actually the sequel to Blazing Lazers. They're that similar in not only look, but also in the musical style and game play as well. The same great level designs and fast shooter action can be found in Space Megaforce and in some cases is even better in this title. The bosses aren't quite as impressive or large as those in Blazing Lazers, but that's not to take anything away from the excellent way they're all executed. The challenge level is pretty much on par with Blazing Lazers, but can be a bit tougher in the last couple of levels. Space Megaforce is one of the most overlooked and underrated shooters available for the SNES console and would be a great addition to the Virtual Console. Blazing Lazers fans should definitely check this one out.

1. Sapphire (TurboGrafx-16) - If you ask most shooter fans to describe Sapphire in one word, they'd likely say "expensive." Sapphire was released in extremely limited quantities near the end of the PC Engine's run and has become one of the most sought-after games in history. The game generally sells for in excess of $350 and that's the few times it actually shows up on eBay. But once you take this amazing shooter for a spin, you'll understand why it's such a coveted shooter title. Gorgeous 16-bit visuals, some really great polygon effects, especially for this time period, and one of the best shooter soundtracks ever created all meld together to form a shooter package that any fan of the genre will absolutely drool over. The game is a tad on the easy side, but you can always crank the difficulty up a notch or two if you find yourself blowing through the game too effortlessly. Sapphire is one of the greatest shooters ever made and definitely deserves a chance to shine with a much larger gaming audience on the Virtual Console.

Well there you have it - the top ten shooters we'd like to see hit the Wii Virtual console. Can't you just feel all that shooter love in the air? We had to leave off some great shooter titles, but with only ten spots, it was inevitable. Hopefully we'll see all of these amazing shooter titles released on the Virtual Console before it's all said and done. Don't forgot to check out Dazza's Top 10 Shmups list from a year ago as well.

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User Comments (71)



CanisWolfred said:

Wow, except for #10, I havent heard of any of these, but now I want 'em, especially that Cotton. I don't think I'd be interested in that Chatting Parodius though, since it's already hard enough without having someone shouting at you while you're playing.

Minus that one I mentioned, all these games seem awesome! Good job Corbie!

Edit: Wow, my first "First".



Dazza said:

Ha Corbie's list does indeed differ from mine quite a lot. If Neo Geo was on VC when we did the last list Blazing Star would have been in the top 5 also.

Excellent choices however, well at least the ones I have actually heard of!



Corbs said:

Check them out. These are among some of my own personal favorites. Plus I tried to throw in some that many readers would likely not have played.

11. Viewpoint (Neo Geo)
12. Phelios (Mega Drive)
13. Space Fantasy Zone (TurboGrafx-16)
14. Twinkle Star Sprites (Neo Geo)
15. Mr. Heli (TurboGrafx-16)
16. Gokujo Parodius (Super NES)
17. Thunder Force III (Mega Drive)
18. Darius Gaiden (Super NES)
19. Spriggan (TurboGrafx-16)
20. Phalanx (Super NES)



Shiryu said:

Top list, Corbie. I really miss Aleste for the SNES (still have the cart!) or Space Megaforce as it was named in the states. Mind you we, still don't have Axelay in PAL VC... what are you thinking, Nintendo?

Star Soldier: Vanishing Earth is amazing, and since Hudson is so active in supporting the VC, I was expecting it to have arrived already. But fingers crossed for a proper, full fledged Star Soldier title for the Wii. I got seriously hooked on Star Soldier R and that one only has 2 levels!



Corbs said:

Thanks. I've always liked the Aleste games myself. And I can't believe they haven't released Axelay in the PAL region. That's insane. I just wish Star Soldier R wasn't one of the worst-selling WiiWare titles. Leaves little hope of Hudson making a full campaign version of the game.



Drake said:

Good list, I think I would've thrown in one of the Lightning Force games and U.N. Squadron as well. And I would've picked Gokujou Parodius instead of Jikkyou



antster1983 said:

Axelay is available in a PAL region... just it ain't us in Europe. I think we got Probotector II that week and Australia got Axelay



deadly_by_design said:

Nice list, heh.
I hope Blazing Star has better hit detection than Plustar did. Sure, you die in one hit, but I always felt like enemy shots were tiny & fit into the background on Pulstar. Kind of annoyed me.



Lugia2 said:

Hey, there are some shmups I like, but it looks like the VC has a long way to go before it has every shmup on the planet.

And by long I mean we should have em all by 2009 XD. At least Parodius is great!



truercki said:

I would like to see Xenon 2 Megablast for the Amiga on the VC ! Hey, I hope I am still allowed to have some dreams



whalleywhat said:

I wonder how much translation it would take to get an import of Bangai-O for 64 on VC. That would be as megaton as Sin & Punishment.
Also, Thunderforce IV, M.U.S.H.A. and Eliminate Down.
Nice list.



Kelvin said:

truercki, Xenon 2 also made it to the Master System and, I think, to the Mega Drive too, so it could happen.

I'm a bit disappointed not to see Katakis (C64) on the list though.



Link79 said:

@ Corbie. Hey I think you forgot one. Or maybe it's not quite good enough but I always liked Life force on good old NES. It's the game that got me into shooters in the first place and strangely it's not on VC yet. That Awesome music and those freaky looking bosses. Surely you've played it? I really hope the Japanese version of Gradius 2 will be coming to VC in the states soon. That one with the weird subtitle Gofer no yabou or whatever. Was Life force just the U.S. version of gradius 2?



Aloth said:

Nice lists, both of them. I have good memories of some of these games. We all kinda know which games that were released are excellent but I think it would be nice to have a top ten list of the games that were released so far. I´m still playing gate of thunder.



dk_xcalibur said:

Aero Fighters 2 for the Neo-Geo please!

Flying a plane piloted by a talking dolphin = awesome



Tides_of_Chaos said:

That Chatting Parodius game sounds like something I'd enjoy. I love Japanese announcers, they always provide a good laugh in how they always point out how horrible someone is.



sashaboo said:

All i want is super Aleste, Starwing, Pop,n,twinbee and for Axelay to come out on PAL VC. cant think of anymore that i want



Objection said:

Great article. Even I want to try some of them, but the chances of us getting the N64 one are even lower than some of the more obscure ones, sadly.



Kultist said:

Would Spy Hunter be considered a shooter? I liked the "car on highway" twist, makes a nice change from the usual top or side scrolling spaceship shooter.



Jon2 said:

I want to see Hellfire for the MegaDrive. Blazing Star looks interesting, can't wait to try that one out.



PHANTOM93 said:

What about Fireshark for the Genesis? I know that it isn't the BEST SHMUP but I thought that it was very good. And that's not Nostalgia talking because I just played it a few weeks ago



Rexy said:

I've heard of Twinbee at least through a friend, but didn't get involved in the shmup genre too much. Given the visuals, is it a candidate for a proper induction into the genre?



Cooldued59 said:

How about Darius ®™ ? The series and the games I think is pretty good. In the arcade, you needed three screens to play which to me was pretty sweet. I own two of the games; one for the SNES ®™ and PSX ®™ . To me, both were pretty darn good. This may be the only side scroller I would acutally play it a lot (due to the fact shumps aren't my favorite genre). The co-op feature (I am not sure if it is in the SNES ®™ one) made the game shine cause then two people can play a game to accomplish something (like Metal Slug ®™) in order to beat it.



Shiryu said:


Same here, I have no clue why its ranked so low in the Wiiware top... I hope Hudson doens't loose interest in a full, proper release of a all new, full Star Soldier. Id buy it!

Tood bad we don't get Commodore Amiga on the Wii VC... id have to throw in that list Battle Squadron:

Good times!



Corbs said:

@Rexy - Yes, Twinbee is a very light-hearted vertical shooter series and Pop'n Twinbee is a good place to start. It's got a very balanced difficulty and some fantastic bosses.

@Shiryu - I have played Battle Squardron and it's a great game. It's been a long time since I've played it, however.

@axelkothe - Sylphia is one I dig out from time to time and pop in my PC Engine just for kicks. It's a strange vertical shooter but it does have some really interesting level designs.



Golgo1327 said:

Im with Dazza, Thunder Force IV is #1 for me. Spent countless hours on that back in the day and never got past stage 5 if I remember correctly



That_Guy_from_Faxana said:

Jikkyou Oshaberi Parodius is the game I like the least in the series. Gajoukin Parodius (Ultimate Parodius) is much more fun overall, and it has crazier boss and leveldesign. The first Parodius for SNES is more entertaining as well.

I remember Star Soldier Vanishing Earth got pretty bad reviews when it surfaced... I´m not so curious about it.

But I can absolutely second to Blasing Star, it looks gorgeous! Never heard of Sapphire, but it sure looks awesome. No Star Wing/Fox on the list? Well, I own it so I don´t mind...

Some of my picks would be
Space Manbow, MSX
Aleste: MSX
Androgynus: MSX
Power Strike II: Master System
Abadox: NES
Crisis Force: NES
Aero Fighters 2/3: Neo Geo



deggs said:

i second the abadox, all of the aleste/space megaforce stuff, and of course (though not freakin likely) any or all thunder force. all i have at the moment (as i stupidly sold my genesis) is thunder spirits for snes and somehow, there's a total graphics hit that happened between the port from genesis to snes (is that even posssible?)



Chipmunk777 said:

Yeah I haven't heard of any of those on the list... Blazing Star and Cotton sound awesome though!



Link79 said:

Yeah no kidding. All the other Gradius games are on the shop so why not Life force? Oh and the turbo grafx Gradius 2 should be added in the states as well. It was already released in Japan.




I OWN SAPPHIRE!! but it would be a great deed to put that great game on the vc for others to enjoy especially the hardcore shmup fans like myself!! if the game ever does make it on the vc i highly recommend you give it a try.




Gradius 2 was released on msx,famicom (jap nes) turbo duo,sharp x68000,and arcade!! and it did finally see a us release along with gradius gaiden on the gradius portable disc which i have for the horrible psp!!!! but it is slated for us release on vc just be patient,long live gradius and remember to.......SHOOT THE CORE!!



marktheshark said:

I have a feeling that all 10 of these games will make it to the VC. After all, why wouldn't they?



Iggy said:

good list i hope we get a few of them
im starting to really like shmups
after buying Soldier Blade



Ricardo91 said:

I thought Cotton was simply a cancelled NEO-GEO pocket color game, but apparently it's a series that's been around for much longer. Both games sound great, and so does Blazing Star, Pop n' Twinbee, and SS:VE!

Only Corbie could do such an obscurity -filled list like this. The only games I even heard of were #10, #7, and #4 (heard about Gaiares on IGN retro, and P'nT somewhere on this site.), but like I said before, I'm now looking forward to 'em! Though I am surprised that there was no Life Force on there, given how good that game is supposed to be.

btw wasn't there another Star Soldier released for the N64, simply called Star Soldier 64, that was really bad?



DEMON212 said:

Just bought Twinbee and Parodius 1 & 2. Would love to see Jikky (P3) hit as no one on e-Bay has it



Ricardo91 said:

I want a Parodius game too, but not "chatty Parodius" in paricular. Having some announcer insult me in Japanese every second may be amusing at first, but I'd start to grate it pretty quickly.

We need M.U.S.H.A. too. D'oh! How could you have forgotten that one, Corbie!?

At first, I thought that dragon in the Coryoon screenshot was a fire-breathing parrot. lol.



Corbs said:

@ Wariofan63 - It was never "officially" released. I bought a run that was made up by a collector a while back. Great little game.

@Mr. Cheez - Star Soldier 64 is basically Star Soldier: Vanishing Earth. I like the game, but it didn't receive very good marks in the media when it was released. I haven't played M.U.S.H.A. in years. Maybe it's time to take it for a spin again. And the little dragon in Coryoon is odd looking.

And I love LifeForce, but it just didn't make the list. Sorry.




To That Guy from Faxanadu,Crisis force was on famicom! jap nintendo but i got ya.The best shooter on famicom/nes is without doubt RECCA!! i think that game was excellent for it's era and it would be a shame not to have it on vc,but dl the rom and try it.



WarioFan63 said:

Aw man, so you get to be one of the lucky few to ever experience the game? Now the rest of us will never know what life would be like to place a Fantasy Zone/Space Harrier crossover.



JiggyGF said:

It's pretty deliciously rare to find a top ten list that I can actually agree with, but here we go. I wanted all of those games except Parodius (not really a fan of the Gradius-style gameplay here), Panorama Cotton (not a fan of that style either), and Pop'n Twinbee (which only missed out on my interest list because I didn't know it existed; I did want Detana!! Twinbee, but this looks even better). Great stuff here.



Ricardo91 said:

@Corbie. Yes, that dragon is very odd-looking. I had to look up close to see that it was actually supposed to be a dragon.
And as for SS 64, though critics panned it, I guess that doesn't mean you shouldn't like it. I don't let critics tell me what can and can't like either. No offense, cuz you know, you technically are one.



Terra said:

Star Soldier: Vanishing Earth is a future must for me if it's released on VC. As for Sapphire, that game rocks, my friend owns a copy.



Corbs said:

Sapphire was actually the game that prompted this top ten list in the first place. I had popped it in my PC Engine yesterday afternoon and it put me in the shooter mood. It's an outstanding shooter and it pushed the PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16 hardware about as far as it could possibly go.



RoninDennis said:

Blazing Star looks rockin'! Played a Cotton game on my SNES years ago, but it didin't do that much for me...

One of my other picks would be Area88/UN Squadron, and also Super Smash TV and Pocky & Rocky 1/2, if they count as shmups.




Sapphire always has a home in my turbo dou R!!!! i drop big money to only have the best in gaming.



blackknight77 said:

I like UN squadron, 1942, 1943, and Life Force. ALso I would like to see Trouble shooter for the Genesis made by Vic Tokai

I do have one question are Cotton and Sapphire Hucard or CD games?



Corbs said:

Cotton is a Super CD and Sapphire is an Arcade CD which requires the Arcade Card Duo or Pro to play on the actual system. It provided extra memory for the game which made for better visuals.



Corbs said:

I love the PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16 systems. Along with the Super NES, it's my favorite console.



slangman said:

Um no Thunderforce IV? Isn't that one of the the best Shmups you could get on the Mega Drive? Still great list can't wait for all those games to arrive.



Corbs said:

For those who own a Sony PSP and want to try out Sapphire, the game is coming on a collection that comes out on July 31st in Japan. It's called Ginga Ojousama Densetsu Collection and Play-Asia has it for $29.90. Small price to pay for such an amazing shooter. Just for anyone interested.



CanisWolfred said:

Gah! Now I got to figure out how to remove the region lock on my PSP. I should also remember to get a PSN card so I can get Einhander, which is available on the japanese PS store.



Corbs said:

The PSP is region free with games. Only the UMD movies are region locked.



blackknight77 said:

I know this game would not make the top 10 list, but I would like to see Sky Shark for the NES. It was published by Taito, so it has a chance. Being a fan of the 1942 seires, Sky shark is much faster and frantic than 1942. Since the VC loves its shooters, I think this game is a no-brainer for the VC.



DDR_Paladin356 said:

There is a lack of Thunder Force 3 on this list, and it makes me pretty upset. I cant think of any other games that I Would put on the list currently...



outrun2sp said:

Good list Corbie. I stumbled upon this.

Sapphire is a fantastic game and I still hold hope that it will come out. M2 just need to emulate the arcade card.

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