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version: jp - year: 1990 - developer: ncs - publisher: masaya - format: mega drive, 4 mbit cartridge - condition: fair - rarity: common

Port of the original arcade board


The name says it all...


Get ready for some frustration time


The forest level is definitely attractive, but also fairly challenging


To get rid of this boss quickly, use the huge laser beam 2 or 3 times if you have it or else, shoot and hide repeatedly!


To dodge these missiles, move vertically then stop for a second, then move again then stop. Repeat a few times until the wave is gone.


Unleash all your laser beams on his head then try to hit him using the 4-ways weapon aiming over his shield.Watch out for his extendable sword and the bullet showers.


The ending sequence is not as dramatic as the PCE one and it actually consists of this single shot...


The music in this version of Hellfire sounds even more inspired than on PCE CD although it doesn't sound as crystal clear...


Onto the second loop (Round 2, Stage 1). Here, it's hard to see but there is a small girl dancing on the left bottom pillar. I tried to give her a lift but apparently she didn't like my ride!

Old Review - Horizontal shooter with a peculiar weapons system. You will start right away with a 4 weapons set up, and you will have to pick the right one in order to proceed further in the levels. Very strategic and technical in that sense, but hard, hard, hard. I could never master this bastard... :(

New Review - After buying and finishing the admittedly easy PCE version of Hellfire, I was so galvanized by the experience that I decided to go back at the Mega Drive port.

I remember that in 1990, I had never been able to get passed level 3! It's December 2006 and after breaking a new record amidst countless cursing while going through extremely tough gameplay, I did reach the boss of level 4 when I ran out of continues. The prospect of trying to go again through this nightmare just in the hope of getting to see the last levels seemed to be such an impossible task as I thought I just reached my limit and I was getting ready to put the game back on the shelves, maybe for another 15 years!

But something happened, and the Hellfire cartridge remained inserted in my Wondermega, as if it refused to be stored back and forgotten. Day after day, I would just come back maybe from a late night in a disco, or maybe half drunk, and my eyes would simply lay down on the cartridge, as the game seemed to call me back and tell me: “come on man, I think you could beat me if you tried hard enough!”

So I ended up turning on my Wondermega a few other times, as I realized that every new game took me closer to the last encounter. Eventually, I became so intimate with Hellfire that I was able to go through the first 5 levels without ever losing a ship…but when I reached the last level, I finally understood why the game is called Hellfire: that last level seems to be simply impossible to finish. Sparse power ups, fierce large enemy ships, annoying and slightly unpredictable alien waves, huge missiles covering the screen and my underpowered arsenal…check points that take me so far back in the level enough as to almost undermine my enthusiasm and my hope to get to see the ending and the last few large ships before the last boss which test not only my reflexes but me as a human being!!

Practice makes perfect I guess. I learned the patterns, I learned to use the weapons appropriately, I discovered the laser beam can be life saving, and slaloming my way through nebulae of projectiles simply became second nature.

The extenuating path to the last boss threatened to crush me, but somehow it didn't sink me. I didn't give up as every time I got killed, I tried to learn the lesson. Replacing old strategies with new ones, bettering my playing skills and an inextinguishable perseverance proved to be the winning formula as I got to the final boss and unleashed 3 mega lasers on his head before starting to dodge his sword and his multiple attacks while trying to figure out a way to hit his head with the 4-ways shot.

The battle seemed to last forever, and surviving every additional second seemed to be a victory in itself. Eventually, he had to bow down. A nightmare from my childhood was finally defeated never to resurface again. Mission completed.

Bottom line: An extremely tough shooter with an original weapons set up, slick audio-visuals, tight controls and brutally hard gameplay. For the pros...8/10











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