Title : Air Buster : Trouble Specialty Raid Unit
Publisher : Kaneko
Genre : Side-Scrolling Shoot 'em up
Players : 1 / 2 Player
Release Date : 1991
Estimated Value (as of today's date) : $25-35
I was never that big of a fan for shmups (I hate that phrase by the way) during the 8-bit generation, but something sparked in my little pre-teenage mind by the time 16-bit systems came around. I was becoming obsessed by them, mainly due to the fact that I was feeding a lot of arcade machines quarters during those years, and most of those arcades were side-scrolling shmups.
There was something mindless and yet strangely satisfying about blasting your way through levels as an obnoxious number of laser beams and missiles flew by your ship. One such game that I remember playing when I was younger at a friends house was AIR BUSTERS.
And yes, he owned the glove. God, how I want to own that glove!
This was one of those epic Japanese styled side-scrolling shmups with traditional anime themed characters and ginormous sized ships standing in your way. Make way for complete and utter destruction! I give you, AIR BUSTERS : TROUBLE SPECIALTY RAID UNIT
First of all, I really need to figure out where my friend got a hold of this game when he was younger. I remember looking for it after I played it and it was nowhere to be found. Even now the game is semi-expensive for a genesis game, and I must get my hands on it. If there is ever a game that puts satisfaction of explosions in your head, it's this one.
It's the year 2021, and a mysterious alien ship has appeared in Earth's orbit and begins to attack the planet. It's now up to famed military pilots, Mike and Holly, (some names, huh) to destroy the alien threat in their AIR BUSTER units! How epic is that?
There's no need to explain much with the game. If you played one shmup, you've played em all. You blast your way through the levels, collecting one of seven available weapon upgrades which include anything from firing your main gun behind you, above and below you, scatter shots, homing, etc. Then you got your missiles which are your more powerful based weapon and brings about quite the wallop.
Besides weapon collections, you've also got a forward shield that prevents you from crashing into terrain in the foreground. Just do what I do and avoid it lol. Regardless of the terrain danger, you've also got an endless amount of enemies swarming your location. Which leaves you with one thing to do. SPAM THAT FIRE BUTTON.
I think what makes this game stands apart from the some of the other shmups that came out from 1990-1995, is the fact that this one still has one of the best graphics around. The extreme amount of detail put into the enemies was just really well done, and it wasn't just about the bosses. Even the regular enemies looked cool. (But the bosses were where it was at. Those things were insane).
Music was also incredible. You've got catchy chip tunes blasting in the back ground, and the constant sound of explosions was so rewarding.
Difficulty, the game does get hard in some levels but for the most part you shouldn't have a problem with it. If you've beaten other shmups, the same strategy applies. Don't get greedy with grabbing power ups, watch your six, and spam that fire button.
Prepare for your fingers to bleed, and don't use that turbo. This one is a true shmup masterpiece.
BTW - do you like how many many times I said SHMUP?! I really hate that term....