Japanese arcade flyer
|Mode(s)||Single player, Multiplayer|
|Display||Raster, 240 x 320 pixels (Vertical), 2048 colors|
Originally developed for the arcade, Batsugun was first released in 1993. A second edition named Batsugun Special Version was shown at the AOU (Arcade Operators Union) show in Japan but was never released as Toaplan slid into bankruptcy. After Toaplan's bankruptcy, the Special Version appeared on the secondhand market. The two revisions were released on the Sega Saturn in 1996 as a single package coded by Toaplan offshoot Gazelle.
Heralded by some as the first "manic shooter", Batsugun's development involved employees who would go on to form and work at Cave and continue to work in this subgenre. This includes the game's chief programmer Tsuneki Ikeda. Batsugun saw an evolution in the use of complex enemy wave and bullet patterns, and player firepower and hit-box.
The Special Edition featured a number of changes including a smaller hitbox, a shield protecting the player from one hit, more powerful bombs, new scoring items, and the addition of multiple game rounds or loops of increasing difficulty.
The Saturn releases are nearly the same but differ from the arcade versions in subtle ways, including rearranged music and lack of slowdown in some cases which can make the game more difficult.
On a distant planet similar to Earth, a global takeover codenamed Epsilon Plan is set into motion. Lead by the imperious king Gladebaran VII, the Imperial Army stages multiple coups upon the planet's countries and are successful in less than two weeks. The only forces capable of stopping Gladebaran VII and his army from world domination are the Skull Hornets: a small squadron of fighter pilots lead by the king's son who utilize the strongest submersible jets the people's science had ever devised.
As is the standard with most arcade shooters, the player controls their ship with a joystick and two buttons. One button (Fire) shoots the main guns, and the other button (Bomb) releases a smart bomb that spreads huge energy balls all around the player's ship.
As enemies are destroyed, the player gains experience points that are separate from the score. For every 288 experience points gained, the main gun will 'level up', becoming much stronger. This is analogous to experience points and levelling up in role playing games. The weapon can only level up twice, so after it has achieved its maximum level, 288 experience points will grant the player an extra bomb.
The player can also grab "P" icons to increase the power of the current level gun. A maximum of five "P"s can be collected per experience level; getting more after this gives extra points instead.
Collecting "B" icons increases the number of bombs, to a maximum of 7.
Skull Hornet Pilots & Ships
There are three ship-types and six player-characters to select from.
- Ship Type A: has a simple array of rapid-fire energy-beams that spread evenly. As it levels up, the beams become wider and more powerful; the ship fires missiles as well.
- Pilots: Jeeno & Schneider
Jeeno is an attractive teenage soldier with cybernetic enhancements (courtesy of one Doctor Gabriel) and a tragic past; it is hinted that he's also the presumed-dead brother of Beltiana. Schneider is an old man who has been awakened from cryogenic sleep.
- Jeeno's quotations:
"Here I come, come, coooooooooooooooooome!"
"You would never be ready to challenge me!!"
"The fun is getting better."
"It's getting interesting."
ENDING: Having made a legend for himself as a space warrior, Jeeno recaps with Schneider and Alteeno and Olisis. They discuss rebuilding their country, with they (ironically) had to destroy in order to protect; they also discuss Olisis's upcoming role as head of the new government.
- Schneider's quotations:
(to Beltiana) "I'm second to no young child."
(to Beltiana) "Speak in English."
"The number of mysterious enemies is just the number of adventures I'll enjoy. Yes!!"
"The number of invaluable enemies is the number of dreams I'll enjoy. Yes!" (to Beltiana) "Are we going home alive?"
ENDING: Schneider flies off into the sunset. "It sure was another thrilling adventure that I'll never forget. Let's turn on some funky music."
- Ship Type B: shoots a straight beam of lightning for as long as the Fire button is held. Tapping the Fire button causes sparks to appear and travel along the beam; this may or may not do more damage. As it levels up, the lightning becomes wider and multi-colored; and secondary projectiles are launched as Fire is tapped.
- Pilots: Beltiana & Alteeno
Alteeno and Beltiana are both attractive young women with long, flowing hair (Alteeno hides hers under a cap). Beltiana seeks to avenge the death of her brother (possibly Jeeno). Alteeno is a tomboy's tomboy, besides being a child prodigy; she doubles as the Skull Hornets' mechanic.
- Beltiana's quotations:
"You'll never get anywhere with me at this level." (to Alteeno) "I have no enemy! No one is good enough for me!"
"You're not going to fly in front of me that easily." (to Alteeno) "I got him at 50% of my energy output."
"I won't go anywhere until I get vengeance for my brother." (to Alteeno) "I got him at 20% of my energy output." (to Olisis) "I'll teach you what battling with us is all about."
"Finally, the last base. But we can't afford to lose." (to Alteeno) "Next comes the last base."
(to Gladebaran VII) "I've finally caught you. I have come to avenge the death of my brother."
ENDING: Beltiana emerges victorious from a hard-earned showdown with her brother's killer; she then recaps with Schneider, Alteeno, and Olisis.
- Alteeno's quotations:
"I'll scrap you if you try to challenge me!" (to Beltiana) "That's because I was there! Yeah, me!"
"What a junky ship! Let me maintenance it!" (to Beltiana) "It only took 30% of my energy output."
"Ha, ha, ha..." (to Beltiana) "It only took 10% of my energy output."
(to Beltiana) "I'm going to get serious this time."
ENDING: Returning in triumph, Alteeno loses her cap; red hair spills down around her shoulders. Then her commanding officer chews her out for going AWOL. (Nobody said being a serviceman was easy.)
- Ship Type C: this ship is fairly adaptable; holding Fire will shoot energy waves straight forward, whilst tapping Fire will fire a spread of projectiles. As it levels up, it will fire homing missiles, and acquire small "drone" ships with their own firepower.
- Pilots: Iceman & Olisis
Olisis and Iceman are both attractive young men. Iceman is a "cool" mercenary with girl-length hair and a mysterious past. Olisis VIII, besides being the Skull Hornets' founder and director, is the prince of his planet; he fights to stop his father, the cruel and ambitious Gladebaran VII.
- Iceman's quotations:
"I'm as cool as ice."
"I'm cool, nihilistic, and great. This is what being masculine and dandy is all about."
"They call me the 'Sky Hunter' because I always get my prey."
"The next is the last. This gives me 5 million credits. Piece of cake."
"Wow, that was really close. It seems that this country will enjoy peace again. There's so many countries around the world waiting for me. So...It's about time that I move on."
ENDING: After saying goodbye to Schneider and Alteeno, Ice is rehired by Olisis - this time for 5 billion credits. Yes, it's on a permanent basis.
- Olisis's quotations:
"Father is wrong. I must stop his evil deeds."
"You're saying you are challenging me!?"
(to Beltiana) "That's like a monkey challenging the Almighty."
ENDING: As his country's new overlord, Olisis VIII vows that it will flourish and enjoy peace under him, safe from the evil Gladebaran VII.
The enemy "bosses," in order of appearance, are:
- Code Name: Deep Purple
- Code Name: Madzella
- Code Name: Mad Steel Darkness
- Code Name: Jupiter
- Code Name: Ground of the Garaxy ("Galaxy" misspelled)
Apart from destroying enemies, points can be gained from collecting golden V-shaped medals. After the level is finished, 3000 points are awarded for every small one, and 5000 points for every large one.
If the player's ship is destroyed during a level, all medals collected are lost.
An extra life is awarded at 1,000,000 points.
- "Batsugun". Play Asia.