We may have reported this week that the publisher of Kokuga sees "difficult crossroads" for the shoot-em-'up genre in Japan, but that hasn't deterred others from flying into the market. One upcoming release is promising to bring back a side-scrolling shooter from the 16-bit era, as Japanese developers Starfish are preparing Steel Empire for the 3DS eShop.

Originally released on the SEGA Mega Drive / Genesis in Japan and Europe in 1992 — it also had a port on the Game Boy Advance — this shmup has a steampunk style and was critically acclaimed when originally released. The new version of the shooter will reportedly have enhanced visuals, autostereoscopic 3D and some tweaks to the difficulty levels; it's set for a release in Japan in December.

We certainly hope this title will come to the West, especially as Starfish has previously worked with UFO Interactive, a company that's been prolific on the 3DS eShop. Check out the screens and let us know whether this catches your eye.

[via siliconera.com]