Stahlfeder: Tekkou Hikuudan

I'm really not sure why this game garners the hate it does (when it gets any acknowledgement, anyway). I know it's far from the peak of the genre and it's certainly not without things that would dissatisfy diehard STG players, but when you boil it down, it's… really not doing anything particularly wrong or different from what you'd typically expect. It's slower than the likes of, say, Ikaruga, and much easier than it too, but I think it's really nice to have something that's both an entry point and something you can just suck down in 30 minutes and have a good time, even if said time isn't an exceptional one.


Override might not be the most exceptional shoot ‘em up ever, but it’s one that does nearly everything well, and the things it doesn’t do as well were corrected for its remake, which is a privilege most games don’t get to experience. Between the PC Engine version’s approachability and the Sharp X68000 version’s added bells and whistles, there’s something here for everyone who has even a passing interest in shoot ‘em ups. Override can be safely recommended for those unfamiliar with the genre as something that’s reasonable for them to finish (I beat it on my first attempt and I’m not good at the genre!), whereas veteran players can try to go for Last Battalion's elusive second ending to get the thrills they seek.


While it doesn't do anything surprising or exceptional, Imperium is a good time. It plays well, takes a lot of notes from other beloved shoot 'em ups (Compile ones in particular), and is bolstered by a solid soundtrack by the underappreciated Tenpei Sato of Disgaea fame.


Armalyte isn’t insurmountable, but it does require patience, memorization, and preparation to complete it, let alone get past its first level. For that reason, this game is one that you really want to have save states for if possible so you can practice its toughest bits. If you’re willing to persevere or do whatever it takes to survive (if you catch my drift), you’ll be rewarded with a shoot ‘em up experience that’s genuinely atmospheric and intriguing the whole way through. The world of Armalyte, even with its lack of text, tells a story that makes you want to see it through to the end just to see what the developers came up with. I could have easily turned it off during that fireball sequence for something else, but it immediately drew me in enough to make me want to get past that part and see what else it had lying in wait for me.


It doesn’t have much “meat” on its bones and it still finds a way to overstay its welcome, but Pippols is an overall enjoyable romp that feels pretty fresh even in a genre as crowded as shoot ‘em ups. The lane changing mechanic adds a lot of strategy to what would otherwise be a simple game, and the aesthetics and premise give the game a unique identity that still stands out for its procurement-based mission compared to the majority of its contemporaries that purported eradication as the only solution to their conflicts. Konami was at their absolute peak during the 8 and 16-bit eras of gaming, and this game serves as but one of many examples of why they were one of the big names to look for on the MSX. With fun gameplay and impressive technical flourishes for its platform, Pippols is one of those games that you could bring out and show off to get people interested in the ol’ computer that could.

Twinkle Tale

In Twinkle Tale, the run and gun action is exciting and impeccable, the visuals are best in class, and the soundtrack is right up my alley. Usually, the rarest and most expensive games for a system tend to be overrated or just plain bad, but this one almost (almost!) feels like it's worth the hefty price of admission. I'm honestly having a hard time thinking of any significant flaws! If you want something that contains all of the Mega Drive's best qualities in one lovely package, this is the game for you.