Dive into the action-packed Toaplan Arcade 1 collection for Evercade systems, featuring a treasure trove of classic shooters and more for arcade enthusiasts.

Toaplan Arcade 1 Review: Retro Gaming Refined

The allure of classic arcade gaming is undeniable, and it is with a sense of nostalgia and excitement that many gaming enthusiasts have greeted the release of Toaplan Arcade 1, a collection designed for the Evercade family of systems. Toaplan, while no longer a household name, carved a niche for itself in the 1980s and early 1990s as a master of the shoot 'em up (shmup) genre, producing several titles hailed for their challenging gameplay and innovative features. This compilation is a love letter to those times, with a heavy focus on shmups but with a dash of diversity to round out the lineup.

At the heart of this collection are the space-shredding shooters that have become synonymous with Toaplan's legacy. Fans of the genre will undoubtedly revel in the inclusion of Tiger Heli, Slap Fight (also known as Alcon), Flying Shark, Zero Wing, and Truxton (Tatsujin in some regions). Each title offers a different flavor of shmup gameplay, from the ground-breaking power-up system in Slap Fight to the relentless enemy AI exhibited in Tiger Heli. These games not only demand quick reflexes but also strategies to conquer the ever-escalating challenges they throw at players.

Flying Shark and Truxton stand tall as towering monuments within the vertical scrolling shmup landscape. Their timeless gameplay shines especially bright on modern displays, particularly when utilizing the Evercade EXP's TATE mode feature, which allows players to flip their screen for an authentic arcade orientation. And then there's Zero Wing, which, beyond its solid gameplay, has cemented its place in internet culture as the progenitor of the "All Your Base Are Belong To Us" meme, even though the memorable and meme-ified intro is sadly not part of this arcade version.

The collection isn't just a one-trick pony with its shmups, as it ventures into other territories with offerings like Snow Bros., a game that draws delightful comparisons to Taito's Bubble Bobble. This single-screen platformer entices with its catchy hooks and endearing gameplay, making it just as compelling and enjoyable as its more famous arcade cousin. It's a bright spot in the lineup that adds variety and an alternative to the non-stop barrage of bullets presented by its shmupy siblings.

For puzzle aficionados or those looking for a brain-teasing change of pace, Teki Paki serves as an engaging 'falling block' puzzle game. Its relative obscurity in the gaming pantheon is undeserved, and players who give it a chance will likely find it a surprisingly absorbing diversion that competes for their time with the more well-known titles in the collection.

Rounding out the octet is Guardian, also known as Get Star. Released in 1986, this side-scrolling action adventure provides bursts of fun in a decidedly more simplistic package compared to others on the cartridge. Though Guardian might not boast the depth or sophistication of its peers, it nevertheless adds a worthwhile experience that complements the overall variety of the collection.

While Toaplan Arcade 1 certainly caters to the tastes of shmup enthusiasts, with its assemblage dominated by that genre, the compilation does run the risk of alienating players whose interests lie outside the realm of relentless high-flying action. Nevertheless, for those who revere Toaplan and the golden age of arcade games, this offering is as close to paradise as one can get on the Evercade.

Toaplan's mastery of the arcade era comes through in every pixel and gameplay mechanic of Toaplan Arcade 1. The love and craftsmanship poured into this collection make it a shining example in an ever-growing library of retro-inspired compilations. With games that continue to challenge and entertain, it's a testament to the enduring appeal of the titles that once consumed countless quarters and hours in dimly lit arcades. Whether for harking back to the halcyon days of shooting down pixelated foes or discovering these gems for the first time, Toaplan Arcade 1 delivers an experience that is both deeply nostalgic and refreshingly enjoyable.

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Darryl Polo

Hey there! I'm Darryl Polo, and I've been deep in the web design and blogging game for over 20 years. It's been a wild journey, evolving with the digital age, crafting websites, and sharing stories online. But hey, when I'm not behind the screen, you'll likely spot me rocking my all-time favorite kicks, the Air Jordan 4s. And after a day of design? Nothing beats unwinding with some Call of Duty action or diving into platformer games. It's all about balance, right? Pixels by day, platforms by night!

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