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Toaplan Arcade Shoot 'Em Up Collection Vol.2 definitely delivers

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If you're a fan of retro games and you love your shoot 'em ups, you should check out Toaplan Arcade Shoot 'Em Up Collection Vol.2.

As the name suggests, it's the second in a set of revivals from classic Toaplan games as they work with Bitwave Games to get them on Steam. They all come with various enhancements thanks to emulation along with Linux and Steam Deck support. If you played Volume 1, you will know what to expect as it's more of the same goodness here.

The games included are:

  • Hellfire: Toaplan's first side-scrolling shooter, known for its blazing graphics and strategic gameplay. Save the galaxy by burning aliens to ashes with the ultimate firepower!
  • Slap Fight (AKA Alcon): A brain-melting vertical shooter with gauge-based power-ups that'll get your blood pumping!
  • Fire Shark: Set the skies ablaze and endure white-knuckle shmup action in this no-nonsense aerial trial! Fly solo or play in co-op.
  • Flying Shark (AKA Sky Shark): A military shmup adventure with destructive power-ups, stunning graphics, and evil enemy forces to destroy!

What makes these great, is that they haven't just slapped on a nice menu with an emulated game. They went the full mile to ensure they work well on modern systems with all sorts of enhancements including:

  • Minimal Input Lag: Emulation, input processing, and rendering all complete on the same frame.
  • Online leaderboards for Single Credit, No Assist, and Assisted plays.
  • Instrument panels with extra gameplay information and artwork.
  • Rewind the game between 10-18 minutes, depending on the action.
  • Experience the game in Mirror Mode.
  • Assist Features such as auto-fire at multiple rates.
  • Very Easy Mode: Lower the difficulty to breeze through the adventure.
  • Rotate the gameplay in 90-degree increments.
  • Choose between Raw Input on Windows or Steam Input.
  • Hone your skills in the ultra-customizable practice mode.

Thanks to a key to each being sent over by Embracer Freemode, I've been attempting to play them through. Key word here is attempting, because wow — they're certainly difficult. I don't know if my reaction time has just gotten slower, or if game design has just changed a lot but I really struggled with these. They can be quite fast, and the limited space really adds to the challenge. Thankfully, the ability to slow down time at any point (or speed it up) at the touch of a button is a really useful feature.

Pictured - Fire Shark on Steam Deck

Being able to rewind whenever you want is also my absolute favourite feature, and something I made great use of. Every time you think you're doing well, and you're having a good run, there's just that one stray bullet that comes along to annihilate you. However, they do include various accessibility assist options too that you can enable whenever you feel like it including auto fire that you can tweak in "button presses per second", the ability to auto dodge fire and enemies, give yourself health so it's not instant death, make your hitbox smaller and showing your hitbox on-screen.

I've not encountered any issues, they all work beautifully and they feel perfectly at home on Steam Deck too. Performance is perfect, and the controls feel great too. I've no doubt they will get Steam Deck Verified sometime soon because of how great they run. 

Pictured - Hellfire on Steam Deck

While I didn't get quite the nostalgia hit as I did from Volume 1, which included my favourite Zero Wing, these are all still great shoot 'em ups to pick up. The detail in the artwork in these games is still often unmatched by newer generation shoot 'em ups, they just don't often have the same kind of charm.

The attention to detail to not only bring these games back to life, but to make them more playable and accessible than ever is to be truly commended here. This is how you do it! I hope to see a lot more developers go back through their older games like this, as too many end up getting lost with no easy way to get them so Toaplan and Bitwave are doing some truly great work here for game preservation.

If you think you have what it takes to beat these classics the store links are below:

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly. Find me on Mastodon.
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6 comments

scaine Sep 11, 2023
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Good god! Hardly anyone knows about Slap Fight, what a game! I could make 20p last an hour in the 80's on this. But the cabinet was right next to 720° so there was always that temptation. And Twin Eagle at the back with it's rendered-looking graphics and metal sound track. Good times.
Pengling Sep 11, 2023
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It's great to see more of this, and I do hope that they branch out and cover some of Toaplan's non-shooter content as well - I'm still hoping for Snow Bros. to show up (either the original, or the recent remake Snow Bros. Special), especially now that a remake of Snow Bros. 2 has been confirmed for Steam, with more info due at the Tokyo Game Show later this month.

Also, that CRT filter looks quite good! I'm not usually a fan of those (though I'm forced to use them for some games in the Capcom Arcade Stadium titles, since those don't allow a 1:1 display for CPS1/2 games, and they therefore look awful without adding a filter), but this one looks pretty authentic. (I owned a JAMMA cabinet at one point, so wrong-looking arcade CRT filters bother me a bit. Not an experience I would recommend, by the way - they're noisy things and they take up SO much space.)

Quoting: scaineHardly anyone knows about Slap Fight
I've never played it (I still need to pick up these Toaplan collections ), but we must be some of the few who do know it!


Last edited by Pengling on 11 September 2023 at 4:41 pm UTC
kokoko3k Sep 11, 2023
Quoting: PenglingIt's great to see more of this, and I do hope that they branch out and cover some of Toaplan's non-shooter content as well - I'm still hoping for Snow Bros. to show up (either the original, or the recent remake Snow Bros. Special), especially now that a remake of Snow Bros. 2 has been confirmed for Steam, with more info due at the Tokyo Game Show later this month.

Also, that CRT filter looks quite good! I'm not usually a fan of those (though I'm forced to use them for some games in the Capcom Arcade Stadium titles, since those don't allow a 1:1 display for CPS1/2 games, and they therefore look awful without adding a filter), but this one looks pretty authentic. (I owned a JAMMA cabinet at one point, so wrong-looking arcade CRT filters bother me a bit. Not an experience I would recommend, by the way - they're noisy things and they take up SO much space.)

Quoting: scaineHardly anyone knows about Slap Fight
I've never played it (I still need to pick up these Toaplan collections ), but we must be some of the few who do know it!
I own a real cab, with a real crt with a real chewing-gum stuck on it since decades, and you can put money in it, it works!
AdvMame over an old amd athon takes care of everthing.

By the way, shaders these days really shines; the one in this article is just "meh" and the deck screen resolution is just not enough, but if you try retroarch ones, even on 1080p with a good black level and a decent gamut, you will understand why i'm not powering the real thing anymore.
https://forums.libretro.com/t/please-show-off-what-crt-shaders-can-do/19193
I've made my part too :)
https://forums.libretro.com/t/koko-aio-shader-discussions-and-updates/38455
Pengling Sep 11, 2023
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Quoting: kokoko3kI own a real cab, with a real crt with a real chewing-gum stuck on it since decades, and you can put money in it, it works!
AdvMame over an old amd athon takes care of everthing.
I was using real boards rather than a PC - still have a few of them.

Quoting: kokoko3kBy the way, shaders these days really shines; the one in this article is just "meh" and the deck screen resolution is just not enough, but if you try retroarch ones, even on 1080p with a good black level and a decent gamut, you will understand why i'm not powering the real thing anymore.
Oh, I know. But by the standards of a lot of retro collections, especially when played on handhelds (portables are my thing), the one in this article is one of the better ones I've seen.
M@GOid Sep 11, 2023
I bought Truxton off the Volume 1 collection, and I can vouch for the quality of the emulation. Way more convenient than efforts from Capcom and Sega.
Retrogamer Sep 13, 2023
Who doesn't love a good shoot 'em up?
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