Fire Shark by Toaplan, original arcade release in 1989 and ported to the Sega Genesis the following year.
And so, being the custodian of a retro gaming website, there comes a time when I will dig deep to plunder something that is otherwise, sadly, utterly forgotten in the modern age. A game which even I haven't ever given a second look since it's release, owing to it lacking any real appeal compared to the Revenge of Shinobis and F-Zeros that were released in the same era. This is what eventually has led me to pick apart a game called Fire Shark.
I'll be honest, this game shares a neuron in my brain with the also-obscurish Fire Mustang, for a few reasons which should not be too difficult to discern. However, the two games share little. This game was developed by the dedicated shooter monsters at Toaplan, a crew which has put together many of the memorable shmups of yesterday which fans of the genre still reflect back warmly on.
Once again we have strayed from the typical "futuristic space warfare" concept and are placed in a much more modern day setting, taking down zeppelins and tanks rather than alien cruisers. Fine! The subject matter seemed quite bland to me upon release (the name didn't help, and the title screen looked dull at best). Peeling back the layers, I've finally put the game through some paces and found a wonderfully worthy vertical shooter.
Read this fellow's homage to Fire Shark if you'd like to hear more about the intricacies that define why this is such a wonderful game - for me, it's another solid shooter, well-balanced and fairly designed, with a rockin' soundtrack and a wonderful pace. I look forward to plowing forward through this game in the future and giving it what for!