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Tatsujin aka Truxton
MD version: jp - year: 1989 - original developer: toaplan - publisher: sega - format: mega drive, cartridge - condition: mint - rarity: not very
PCE version: jp - year: 1992 - original developer: toaplan - publisher: taito - format: pc engine, cdrom - condition: mint - rarity: hard to find

Released in the West as Truxton

 

The version to own is the PC Engine one

 

MD - The smart bomb looks cooler on Mega Drive, although that's really about it...

 

PCE - the smart bomb looks definitely less detailed but everything else is better

 

PCE - The laser looks much better on PCE as it is more detailed

 

PCE - here try not to shoot the light bulbs on the side and kill the boss while powered up to avoid your onslaught

 

PCE - This boss shoots lightning fast bullets. Keep on moving left to right while decimating incoming alien waves.

 

PCE - The last boss looks basically identical to the MD version

 

MD - The last boss isn't very difficult. Die and it's back to the last checkpoint though...

 

Two different Endings: MD Ending here..

 

and PCE Ending.

Review - Tatsujin (better known in the west as Truxton) is a vertical shooter developed by Toaplan and published by Taito, which originally came out in the arcades in 1988 and was then ported in 1989 to the Mega Drive and in 1992 to the PC Engine.

If you like your shooters tough, with enemy bullets which are lightning fast then you'll feel right at home here. I must say that Tatsujin is one of the most challenging shooters out there, although a distinction should be made here between the two home versions.

The Mega Drive port is undeniably easier than the PCE version, but this doesn't mean that it's a better game! Actually, it's the other way around…

Being an early game in the Mega Drive library, Tatsujin is only an approximate port of the original arcade board. For one thing, there is a big black border to the right side of the screen with your status bars which takes a huge portion of the playing field. This isn't exactly great as you can imagine, plus the graphics are well done but the PCE port has a better use of color and a higher resolution while it is also full screen.

Same goes for the music and sound-effects which are generally better on Nec's console.

What to say about Tatsujin? Apparently, it means Expert in Japanese and this game is exactly that: a traditional 2D shooter for top shmuppers. Tatsujin is hard. It is so hard as to make you curse in exotic languages and the PCE port is even harder considering that you are limited to 5 continues only. But everything is done with such care and balance that you'll be wanting to try to see the game from start to finish.

The MD version has Easy Mode accessible right away while on PCE, you can access Easy Mode (which is not easy at all) by pressing Select and Run. There are various available tricks to make life easier. For example in the MD port, if you pause as soon as you drop a smart bomb on Bosses, you should be able to take them out instantly if you time things right. This is a very cheap trick, but it works if you're desperate to see the ending and think you will never make it without cheating. On PCE, you can access an additional option menu by beginning a game and playing until you accumulate 7100 points. (kill all enemies until you reach the first wave of large ones). Press Run + Select while playing the game to reset the system. Then, hold Select and press Run at the title screen. You'll be able to increase your ships stocks and bombs count making things much easier.

I finished the PCE version first by using the trick to see what was ahead of me. I then finished the game a second time without using any cheats (but still on easy mode), and I must say I found the challenge way more reasonable because I was already familiar with the incoming threats at that point.

Anyways, Tatsujin doesn't introduce anything new in the genre, but it was programmed with such care and attention to detail that it deserves a place in any serious shooters collection. It really has all of the ingredients which make a shmup a masterpiece. It has nice audio-visuals. It has very challenging gameplay but with exquisite balance, and it is never unfair. In a word, it is a timeless classic, best played on PCE. A real keeper!

Bottom line: a classic you want to have in your gaming library, better if in the form of the coin op or the pc engine port! 7/10 (MD), 9/10 (PCE)

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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