|Genre(s)||Vertically scrolling shooter|
Twin Cobra[a] is a 1987 vertically scrolling shooter arcade video game originally developed by Toaplan and published by Taito in Japan and Europe, then in North America by Romstar. It is a sequel to Tiger-Heli, which was released earlier on arcades in 1985 and later ported to other platforms. Controlling the titular attack helicopter, the players must fight endless waves of military vehicles while avoiding collision with their projectiles and other obstacles. It was the fourth shoot 'em up game from Toaplan, and their tenth video game overall. Although first launched in arcades, it was later ported across multiple platforms, each one being created by different third-party developers and featuring several changes or additions compared with the original version.
Twin Cobra proved to be a success for Toaplan among players, garnering positive reception from western critics and earning several awards from Gamest, however the game was met with mixed response from magazines, specifically the home conversions. In 1995, a sequel titled Twin Cobra II was released. The rights to the title are owned by Tatsujin, a Japanese company formed by Masahiro Yuge.
Twin Cobra is a military-themed vertically scrolling shoot 'em up game, in which players take control of the titular attack helicopter through ten increasingly difficult levels, each with a boss at the end that must be fought before progressing any further, in order to defeat an assortment of military enemy forces like tanks, battleships, and artillery as the main objective. The title initially appears to be very standard, as players control their craft over a constantly scrolling background and the scenery never stops moving until a helipad is reached. Players have only two weapons at their disposal: the standard shot that travels a max distance of the screen's height and three bombs.
The bombs are powerful weapons capable of obliterating any enemy caught within its blast radius and collecting "B" icons adds an extra bomb stock. A new gameplay addition compared to its predecessor are power-up items that appear via enemy carriers; There are four types of weapons in the game that can be switched between after destroying incoming carriers by picking up color-changing icons ranging from red, blue, green and yellow, while "S" icons increases the helicopter's firepower. Other items scattered throughout the levels such as 1UPs and star-shaped gold medals, which grants a 3000 point bonus by collecting them, can also be picked up along the way. Players are given two lives initially and bonus lives are awarded at certain point thresholds and every point threshold thereafter.
Depending on the region, the title uses either a checkpoint system in which a downed single player will start off at the beginning of the checkpoint they managed to reach before dying, or a respawn system where their ship immediately starts at the location they died at. Getting hit by enemy fire or colliding against enemies will result in losing a live, as well as a penalty of decreasing the helicopter's firepower to his original state and once all lives are lost, the game is over unless the players insert more credits into the arcade machine to continue playing. After completing the last stage as with previous titles from Toaplan, the game begins again with the second loop increasing in difficulty and enemies fire denser bullet patterns.
Twin Cobra's creation process and history was recounted through various Japanese publications by composers Masahiro Yuge and Tatsuya Uemura, both of which collaborated with the soundtrack using guitar and marked the second time Toaplan made use of FM synthesis. Yuge stated that the basic structure for the game was already decided during development of Slap Fight by pursuing the excitement of shooting and dodging, settling on the bomb and shot system, claiming that firing a bomb relieved stress from players, as they wanted to make a game that was fun by looking at and get passionate about it. Yuge also claimed that the word "Kyūkyoku" for its Japanese title derived from a translation of Going for the One, the eight studio album by English progressive rock band Yes, as it was not a popular word at the time and although the Japanese title was initially rejected by then-president of Toaplan, he was determined to implement it. The concept of using a bomb came up during development of Tiger-Heli, where the team questioned how to make a shoot 'em up game more engaging for players but it was never intended for defensive purposes according to them, as the mechanic was instead implemented to provide a aggressive feeling against enemies on difficult situations, however enemies were made tougher to keep gameplay balance.
Twin Cobra was also, alongside Slap Fight, one of the earliest projects Toaplan made use of game design documents, with both Uemura and Yuge stating that ideas by the team were first written in text using A4 paper before reading it during meetings. Several features were integrated into the project by diverse factors such as items swirling around the screen, which was inspired by a donburi bowl , while the slow speed of the helicopter was due to make the title akin to puzzle games and require a level of strategy. Yuge stated that cooperative gameplay was originally not developed but were requested in doing so after completing the single-player version due to simultaneous two-player titles being "a big trend" in overseas regions and being conscious of the American market, as the game had a realistic war setting. Around five members collaborated with the project on a six month development period including Uemura and Yuge acting as programmers, as well as three designers. Artist Kōetsu Iwabuchi, who previously worked on Guardian, was responsible for the artwork. Despite being published by Taito, Uemura stated that the publisher allowed them to reveal the project was made by Toaplan. Uemura also claimed the project was influenced by Halley's Comet, as he wanted to portray the feeling of aiming and shooting.
Twin Cobra was first released across arcades worldwide on October 1987 by Taito in Japan and Europe, as well as Romstar in North America. On 21 November 1988, an album containing music from the title and its predecessor was co-published exclusively in Japan by Scitron and Pony Canyon.
Twin Cobra was converted to multiple platforms by various third-party developers including the PC Engine (1989), Nintendo Entertainment System (1989), Sega Genesis (1991), X68000 (1993) and the FM Towns (1994). The PC Engine port, developed by A.I Company, was released exclusively in Japan by Taito. The NES port, developed by Micronics, was first released in Japan CBS/Sony and later in North America by Sammy. The Genesis port, developed by GRC, was first published in Japan by Treco, then in North America by Sega and later in Brazil by Tectoy. On 30 August 1996, Banpresto released a compilation for the PlayStation exclusively in Japan titled Toaplan Shooting Battle 1, which included both arcade versions of Twin Cobra and its prequel, an arranged soundtrack by Uemura and other additions. In November 2019, Twin Cobra was re-released for iOS and Android mobile devices only in Japan by MOBIRIX Corporation under the name Kyukyoku Tiger Classic. A port for Samsung Smart TV platform is also available through a Samsung TV's games panel.
|Marukatsu PC Engine||N/A||35/40||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Mega Drive Fan||N/A||N/A||N/A||17.26/30||N/A||N/A|
|PC Engine Fan||N/A||24.37/30||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Gamest (1991)||The Best Game #42|
|Gamest Mook (1998)||Best Shooting Award 4th|
Annual Hit Game 9th
Pure Shooting Award
According to Masahiro Yuge and Tatsuya Uemura, Twin Cobra proved to be a popular hit for Toaplan, though Flying Shark was "the biggest" hit for them. In Japan, Game Machine listed it on their 1 January 1988 issue as being the fourth most-successful table arcade unit of the year, outperforming titles such as Thundercade and Rainbow Islands: The Story of Bubble Bobble 2. Computer and Video Games's Clare Edgeley gave an overall positive outlook to the arcade original.
A sequel, Twin Cobra II was originally under development by Toaplan but the studio closed down in 1994 until Taito allowed Toaplan offshoot Takumi Corporation to finish work on the project as their first release in 1995, before being ported to Sega Saturn in 1997 under the name Kyukyoku Tiger II Plus. Former Seibu Kaihatsu artist Toshinobu Komazawa claimed that the company borrowed ideas from Twin Cobra when developing Raiden. In more recent years, the rights to Twin Cobra and many other IPs from Toaplan are now owned by Tatsujin, a company named after Truxton's Japanese title that was founded in 2017 by former Toaplan employee Masahiro Yuge, who are now affiliated with arcade manufacturer exA-Arcadia.
- Akagi, Masumi (13 October 2006). タイトー (Taito); 東亜プラン (Toa Plan); Romstar; Taito America; T. アーケードTVゲームリスト 国内•海外編 (1971-2005) (in Japanese) (1st ed.). Amusement News Agency. pp. 43, 50, 130, 137, 169. ISBN 978-4990251215.
- Lambie, Ryan (21 June 2018). "Toaplan: the rise and fall of Japan's greatest shooting game company". Den of Geek. Dennis Publishing. Archived from the original on 21 June 2018. Retrieved 16 May 2020.
- Twin Cobra Installation Manual (Arcade, US)
- Twin Cobra Instructions (Nintendo Entertainment System, US)
- Twin Cobra instruction manual (Sega Genesis, US)
- Zverloff, Nick (9 July 2012). "Twin Cobra". Hardcore Gaming 101. Retrieved 16 May 2020.
- "究極TIGER" (in Japanese). Shooting Star. Retrieved 16 May 2020.
- "D28B-0008 | KYUKYOKU TIGER -G.S.M.TAITO 2-". vgmdb.net. VGMdb. Archived from the original on 3 August 2017. Retrieved 16 May 2020. (Translation by Shmuplations. Archived 2019-10-22 at the Wayback Machine).
- Abeto, Kobatsu (September 1989). "東亜プランインタビュー". PSG (in Japanese). Vol. 10. FSG. (Translation by Shmuplations. Archived 2017-05-31 at the Wayback Machine).
- "東亜プラン". Gamest (in Japanese). No. 49. Shinseisha. September 1990. pp. 68–69. (Translation by Shmuplations. Archived 2019-11-07 at the Wayback Machine).
- Iona; VHS; K-HEX (June 2009). "東亜プラン FOREVER (2/5)". Floor 25 (in Japanese). Vol. 9. (Translation by Gamengai. Archived 2013-02-24 at the Wayback Machine).
- "東亜プラン シューティングクロニクル". SweepRecord (in Japanese). SuperSweep. 14 November 2011. Archived from the original on 21 October 2019. Retrieved 16 May 2020. (Translation by Shmuplations. Archived 2018-07-11 at the Wayback Machine).
- "東亜プラン シューティングクロニクル 特設ページ". SweepRecord (in Japanese). SuperSweep. 27 October 2011. Archived from the original on 15 February 2020. Retrieved 16 May 2020. (Translation by Shmuplations. Archived 2019-10-02 at the Wayback Machine).
- Kiyoshi, Tane; hally (VORC); Yūsaku, Yamamoto (3 February 2012). "東亜プラン特集 - 元・東亜プラン 開発者インタビュー: 上村建也". Shooting Gameside (in Japanese). Vol. 4. Micro Magazine. pp. 33–40. ISBN 978-4896373844. (Translation by Shmuplations. Archived 2019-09-06 at the Wayback Machine).
- Kiyoshi, Tane; hally (VORC); Yūsaku, Yamamoto (3 February 2012). "東亜プラン特集 - 元・東亜プラン 開発者インタビュー: 弓削雅稔". Shooting Gameside (in Japanese). Vol. 4. Micro Magazine. pp. 41–48. ISBN 978-4896373844. (Translation by Shmuplations. Archived 2019-09-06 at the Wayback Machine).
- CRV (31 October 2007). "A.I". gdri.smspower.org. Archived from the original on 16 July 2019. Retrieved 16 May 2020.
- "NES Games" (PDF). Nintendo. Archived (PDF) from the original on 11 June 2014. Retrieved 16 May 2020.
- Harris, Steve; Semrad, Ed; Alessi, Martin; Williams, Ken (June 1991). "Review Crew (Genesis - Sega): Twin Cobra". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 23. Sendai Publishing. p. 22.
- CRV (27 August 2006). "Graphic Research". gdri.smspower.org. Archived from the original on 16 July 2019. Retrieved 16 May 2020.
- "ソフトウェア一覧（ソフトライセンシー発売）| メガドライブ". SEGA HARD Encyclopedia (in Japanese). Sega. 2020. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
- "東亜プラン シューティングバトル1". PlayStation Official Site Software Catalog (in Japanese). Sony Interactive Entertainment. 2020. Retrieved 16 May 2020.
- "TATSUJINに続き『究極TIGER 』がモバイルゲームとなって帰って来ました !『究極TIGER CLASSIC 』の登場です！" (in Japanese). TATSUJIN Co., Ltd. 13 November 2019. Archived from the original on 16 May 2020. Retrieved 16 May 2020.
- Romano, Sal (18 April 2020). "Toaplan shoot 'em ups Twin Cobra, Truxton II, Flying Shark, and Out Zone coming to consoles - M2 porting the late 80s and early 90s titles". Gematsu. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
- McFerran, Damien (18 April 2020). "M2 Is Making A Stupidly Expensive Shooter More Affordable On Home Consoles - Along with some other amazing Toaplan titles". Nintendo Life. Nlife Media. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
- Wong, Alistair (19 April 2020). "Toaplan's Flying Shark, Twin Cobra, Truxton II, and Out Zone Coming to Modern Platforms". Siliconera. Curse LLC. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
- Moyse, Chris (20 April 2020). "Out Zone, Twin Cobra, and other classic Toaplan shmups coming soon from M2 - Save your quarters". Destructoid. Enthusiast Gaming. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
- "Switchにくる! 東亜プランの4タイトル". Nintendo Dream (in Japanese). No. 315. Tokuma Shoten. July–August 2020.
- Oppermann, Torsten (December 1989). "Helikopter-Action Ohne Ende! - Tiger Heli (PC-Engine)". Aktueller Software Markt (in German). No. 37. Tronic Verlag. p. 62.
- Oppermann, Torsten (May 1991). "Konsolen: Tiger Heli (Sega Mega Drive)". Aktueller Software Markt (in German). No. 41. Tronic Verlag. p. 126.
- Weiss, Brett Alan (1998). "Twin Cobra (Sega Genesis) - Review". AllGame. All Media Network. Archived from the original on 15 November 2014. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
- "BEメガ•ドッグレース – 究極タイガー". Beep! MegaDrive (in Japanese). No. 18. SoftBank Creative. March 1991. p. 32.
- Kelly, Nick (April 1988). "Arcades: Twin Cobra - Taito (2x10p)". Commodore User. No. 55. EMAP. p. 113.
- Leadbetter, Richard (May 1991). "Bytesize - Megadrive: Ultimate Tiger (Treco)". Computer and Video Games. No. 114. EMAP. p. 76.
- Rignall, Julian (November 1990). "Complete Guide to Consoles – The Complete Games Guide: PC Engine – Tiger Heli". Computer and Video Games Mean Machines. No. 4. EMAP. pp. 40–57.
- "Testscreen - Ultimate Tiger (FM Towns Marty)". Edge. No. 8. Future plc. May 1994. p. 74.
- Harris, Steve; Semrad, Ed; White, David; Allee, Jim (December 1989). "Fact-File: Twin Cobra (NES)". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 5. Sendai Publishing. p. 34.
- "Famicom ROM Cassette All Catalog '91 全787本 5月10日号特別付録 - 究極タイガー". Famimaga (in Japanese). Vol. 7 no. 9. Tokuma Shoten. 10 May 1991. p. 222.
- "NEW GAMES CROSS REVIEW: 究極タイガー". Famitsu (in Japanese). ASCII Corporation. 1989. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
- "NEW GAMES CROSS REVIEW: 究極タイガー". Famitsu (in Japanese). ASCII Corporation. 1989. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
- "NEW GAMES CROSS REVIEW: 究極タイガー". Famitsu (in Japanese). No. 124. ASCII Corporation. 8 March 1991. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
- Harrison, Phil (June 1989). "Consoles - PC Engine: Tiger". The Games Machine. No. 19. Newsfield Publications. p. 22.
- "究極タイガー". Hippon Super! (in Japanese). No. 3. Takarajimasha. March 1991. p. 42.
- Demoly, Jean-Marc (April 1991). "Console News: Tiger Heli (Megadrive)". Joystick (in French). No. 15. Sipress. p. 127.
- "究極タイガー". Marukatsu PC Engine (in Japanese). Kadokawa Shoten. 1989.
- "The Incredibly Complete Mega File: Tiger Heli (Import); Twin Cobra (Import); Ultimate Tiger (Import)" (PDF). Mega Drive Advanced Gaming. No. 5. Maverick Magazines. January 1993. p. 95.
- "Mega Drive & Game Gear All Catalog '93 7月号特別付録 - 究極タイガー". Mega Drive Fan (in Japanese). No. 42. Tokuma Shoten. 15 July 1993. p. 54.
- "Game Index - Ultimate Tiger". MegaTech. No. 1. EMAP. December 1991. p. 81.
- Nachi, Yaegaki (March 1993). "The Softouch — Game Review: 究極タイガー". Oh!X (in Japanese). No. 131. SoftBank Creative. pp. 22–25.
- "PC Engine All Catalog '93 10月号特別付録 - 究極タイガー". PC Engine Fan (in Japanese). Vol. 6 no. 10. Tokuma Shoten. 1 October 1993. p. 73.
- Fisch, Henrik (September 1989). "Power Videospiele-Tests: Tiger Heli (PC Engine)". Power Play (in German). No. 18. Future Verlag. p. 52.
- Fisch, Henrik (January 1989). "Die 100 Besten Spiele: Tiger Heli (PC-Engine)". Power Play (in German). No. 1 Sonderhefte. Future Verlag. p. 104.
- Gaksch, Martin (May 1991). "Videospiele / Tests - Tiger Heli (Mega Drive)". Power Play (in German). No. 38. Future Verlag. p. 139.
- Mellerick, Paul; Knight, Chris (August 1992). "Reviewed! (Mega Drive): Twin Cobra". Sega Force. No. 8. Europress Impact. pp. 90–91.
- Jarratt, Steve (October 1991). "The Hard Line - Twin Cobra (Import)". Sega Power. No. 23. Future plc. p. 55.
- "The A-Z of Sega Games – Ultimate Tiger (Mega Drive)". Sega Pro. No. 6. Paragon Publishing. April 1992. p. 31.
- Huyghues-Lacour, Alain (April 1990). "Hits: Tiger Heli - PC Engine NEC". Tilt (in French). No. 77. Editions Mondiales S.A. pp. 58–59.
- Harbonn, Jacques (June 1991). "Rolling Softs: Tiger Heli - Megadrive, cartouche Treco". Tilt (in French). No. 91. Editions Mondiales S.A. p. 75.
- "Sistema Nintendo - Twin Cobra". VideoGame (in Portuguese). No. 4. Editora Sigla. June 1991. p. 40.
- Lenhardt, Heinrich (February 1991). "Test: Guten Flug - Tiger Heli (Mega Drive)". Video Games (in German). No. 2. Future-Verlag. p. 91.
- "ザ・ベストゲーム: 最も愛されたゲームたち!! - 読者が選んだベスト30". Gamest (in Japanese). No. 60. Shinseisha. July 1991. p. 63.
- ザ・ベストゲーム2 - アーケードビデオゲーム26年の歴史: ゲーメスト大賞11年史. Gamest Mook (in Japanese). 5 (4th ed.). Shinseisha. 17 January 1998. pp. 22–23. ISBN 9784881994290.
- "Game Machine's Best Hit Games 25 - テーブル型TVゲーム機 (Table Videos)". Game Machine (in Japanese). No. 323. Amusement Press, Inc. 1 January 1988. p. 37.
- Edgeley, Clare (March 1988). "Arcade Action - Twin Cobra". Computer and Video Games. No. 77. EMAP. pp. 90–91.
- Edgeley, Clare (April 1988). "Arcade Action - Twin Cobra". Computer and Video Games. No. 78. EMAP. p. 119.
- "Overseas Readers Column - Toaplan Goes Bust". Game Machine (in Japanese). No. 472. Amusement Press, Inc. 15 May 1994. p. 26.
- Neal, David (10 December 2008). "A History of Toaplan - Post-Toaplan". Insomnia.
- Iona; VHS; K-HEX (June 2009). "東亜プラン FOREVER (3/5)". Floor 25 (in Japanese). Vol. 9. (Translation by Gamengai. Archived 2019-11-22 at the Wayback Machine).
- Zverloff, Nick (5 February 2011). "Twin Cobra II". Hardcore Gaming 101. Retrieved 16 May 2020.
- "セガサターン対応ソフトウェア（ライセンシー発売）- 1997年発売". SEGA HARD Encyclopedia (in Japanese). Sega. 2020. Archived from the original on 20 March 2020. Retrieved 16 May 2020.
- "THE FLASH DESIRE 雷電III". inhgroup.com (in Japanese). 2007. Archived from the original on 7 April 2019. Retrieved 2 June 2020. (Translation by Shmuplations. Archived 2019-12-17 at the Wayback Machine).
- "ライセンス事業" (in Japanese). TATSUJIN Co., Ltd. 2019. Archived from the original on 25 December 2018. Retrieved 16 May 2020.
- Bravo, Roberto (12 September 2018). "Nueva compañía «Tatsujin» asegura tener gran parte de las IPs de la extinta Toaplan" (in Spanish). Gamercafe. Archived from the original on 21 October 2019. Retrieved 16 May 2020.
- "Tatsujin". exA-Arcadia. 2019. Archived from the original on 21 October 2019. Retrieved 16 May 2020.
- Bravo, Roberto (25 January 2019). "Tatsujin, los dueños de Toaplan, anuncian que están trabajando para exA-Arcadia" (in Spanish). Gamercafe. Archived from the original on 21 October 2019. Retrieved 16 May 2020.
- "［JAEPO2019］TATSUJINやナツメアタリの参入が発表されたexA-Arcadia。出展コーナーの模様を紹介". 4Gamer.net (in Japanese). Aetas Inc. 26 January 2019. Archived from the original on 21 October 2019. Retrieved 16 May 2020.