Air Buster

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Air Buster / Aero Blasters
Air Buster / Aero Blasters
Japanese arcade flyer
Developer(s) Kaneko
Publisher(s) Kaneko
Designer(s) Hiroshi Kaneko and team
Platform(s) Arcade, PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16, Sega Mega Drive/Genesis
Release date(s) Arcade PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16
  • JP November 2, 1990
  • NA 1990
Mega Drive/Sega Genesis
  • JP January 31, 1991
  • NA 1991
Genre(s) Scrolling shooter
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer
CPU Zilog Z80
Sound Yamaha YM2203, OKI6295
Display Raster, 256 x 224 pixels, 768 colors, horizontal orientation

Air Buster: Trouble Specialty Raid Unit a.k.a. Aero Blasters: Trouble Specialty Raid Unit is a 1990 horizontally scrolling shoot 'em up video game developed and published by Kaneko and licensed to Namco. The game was originally released in the arcades in 1990 and was subsequently released for the PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16 (as Aero Blasters) and Sega Mega Drive/Genesis (as Air Buster in North America) in 1990 and 1991 respectively.

In Air Buster, the player controls a fighter jet also designed for space travel and shoots enemies, collects power-ups, and defeats bosses to advance levels. As a console game, Air Buster had the distinction of being two player simultaneous, which was rare among side scrolling shooters on home consoles at the time; all games in the Thunder Force, Gradius, and R-Type series were only 1 player on the home consoles.


Gameplay in the original arcade version of Air Buster.

Players choose between one of the two Blaster fighters through scrolling six stages. The Blaster fighters can equip one of seven weapons. The weapons include the Striker weapon which adds additional firepower through vertically aligned Options, the Reverse shot which fires two diagonal shots from the rear of the ship, the Six Way Shot which fires semi-automatic shots in six directions and the Homing Shot which tracks enemies all around the screen.

The other three weapons are Missile based which vary from Red straight-firing Rockets and Green Homing Missiles. There is also the Border item which surrounds the front of the ship, keeping it from crashing into foreground objects. The only other Items include Power-Ups which increase the ship's standard shot power and Bonus Points that appear in the sign of Dollar signs.


In the year 2021 a mysterious orbital space weapon appears and assaults the nations of the Earth. The players control the pilots Mike or Holly who are a part of the Trouble Speciality Raid Unit whose mission is to stop the invasion.

Development and release[edit]

The Mega Drive version featured more detailed and larger sprites and backgrounds than PC Engine version.


MegaTech magazine gave the game 78%, commenting on the "excellent graphics, sound and playability", but criticising the low challenge factor.[1] Mega placed the game at #13 in their Top Mega Drive Games of All Time.[2] Mean Machines gave the game 80%, but said that it could not compete with Hellfire.[3]


  1. ^ MegaTech rating, EMAP, issue 5, page 78, May 1992
  2. ^ Mega magazine issue 1, page 76, Future Publishing, Oct 1992
  3. ^

External links[edit]