Arcade Mode: PCE Shoot-em-ups…
ASIDE: Here is a Complete List of TG-16/PCE Shmups in a table (sortable by year, developer, media format, sub-genres—cute-em-up, vertical vs. horizontal vs. rail, etc.)...
Fifteen vertical shoot-em-ups ("shmups") on the PCE/TG-16 offer (A) "standard resolution" as well as a special (C) High-Resolution "Arcade Mode" that attempts to re-create the look and feel of (B) arcade cabinets with dedicated vertical monitors. This was the era before TATE, comrades. Discussion continues below…
- Alzadick: Summer Carnival '92 (1992, CD)
- 1943 Kai (1991, SGX)
- Burning Angels (1990, HuCard)
- Cyber Core (1990, HuCard)
- Daisenpuu (1990, HuCard)
- Dragon Saber (1991, HuCard)
- Dragon Spirit (1988, HuCard)
- Final Soldier (1991, HuCard)
- Image Fight (1990, HuCard)
- Nexzr (1992, SCD)
- Soldier Blade (1992, HuCard)
- Steam Hearts (1996, SCD)
- Super Raiden (1992, SCD)
- Super Star Soldier (1990, HuCard)
- Tatsujin (1992, HuCard)
- Toilet Kids (1992, HuCard)
- Travel Epuru (Travel Epule) (1992, HuCard)
- Twinbee (DETANA!! TWIN BEE) (1992, HuCard)
NOTE: In some games, "Arcade Mode" is an option readily available from a menu. For other games, however, you will need to enter a code (and, depending upon the title, this code is a feat of endurance—see Tatsujin, Final Soldier, Dragon Spirit and Super Star Soldier as prime examples).
LEGEND: A = Normal Mode (PCE), B = Arcade, C = "Arcade Mode" (PCE). The game pictured is Image Fight by IREM.
Further Discussion: The PC-Engine (and to a lesser extent, the TurboGrafx-16) was graced with a healthy stable of approximately 111 shooters (shoot-em-ups, or shmups), some of which were truly outstanding. Fans of the shoot-em-up genre have long been attracted to the PCE/TG-16 for its exclusive titles (Nexzr, Soldier Blade, GunHed/Blazing Lazers, Spriggan, etc.) as well as competent (for the era) ports of arcade titles (Gradius II, Raiden, Dragon Spirit, Dragon Saber, etc.).
THESIS: However gimmicky the PCE high-resolution arcade mode may appear to contemporary audiences, it should be seen as a pre-cursor to the TATE mode that appeared in later consoles.
Fifteen vertical shoot-em-ups ("shmups") on the PCE/TG-16 offer a special High-Resolution Arcade Mode, which changes the output resolution of the PCE/TG-16 console to a higher resolution. The result? Vertical bars fill the sides of a standard 4:3 televsion screen, with gameplay confined to a slender vertical rectangle (an attempt to re-create arcade shoot-em-ups with dedicated vertical screens).
Of course, there are some folks who view this so-called "Arcade Mode" as little more than a superficial gimmick. They view this psuedo-arcade mode as a clumsy, distorted version of the original game, with no real benefits. According to these critics, the graphics are "squeezed", not unlike those of a Fun House mirror, in a misguided attempt to mimic vertical monitors found in arcade cabinets.
From a purely historical perspective, this "Arcade Mode" reveals the shoot-em-up fan's desire to have an arcade experience on a home console. Likewise, developers recognized their audience's desires and attempted to satiate it (regardless of the technical merits/flaws of their solutions). It was much later, with the introduction of TATE mode, that shoot-em-up fans would be able to simulate the arcade experience at home (assuming, of course, they were able to turn their television set on its side). However gimmicky the PCE high-resolution arcade mode may appear to contemporary audiences, it should be seen as a pre-cursor to the TATE mode that appeared in later consoles.
So, is PCE's "Arcade Mode" worth your time? Many people appreciate the option to play in "Arcade Mode", since it breathes new life into old, familiar games. You will have to decide for yourself.
THANKS: A great big Thank You! goes out to SuperPlay for contributing all of the screenshots below and clarifying the codes. Professor Professorson kindly took the photographs of Image Fight on his APEX monitor (see above!). Of course, this page would not exist if it weren't for the fine folks who participated in the "What shmups have an option for a high resolution mode (Arcade Mode)?" thread at pcenginefx.com forums.
1943 KAI (1991, HuCard) ▲
ARCADE MODE available in "Options" menu.
Alzadick: Summer Carnival '92 (1992, CD) ▲
HELP! Actually, Alzadick might not offer this mode. We need confirmation and screenshots!
Burning Angels (1990, HuCard) ▲
ARCADE MODE available in menu.
Cyber Core (1990, HuCard) ▲
- Press LEFT then SELECT on the title page to show the "Enter Password" option.
- Enter the password "MAKIRIN".
Daisenpuu (1990, HuCard) ▲
HELP! What about Daisenpuu Custom (CD-ROM)? Does that version also support this mode?
ARCADE MODE: Hold "I" button, then turn console's power on.
Dragon Saber (1991, HuCard) ▲
ARCADE MODE: Reset the game 30 times for hi-res arcade mode. Note: Hold down RUN, then hit SELECT for a soft reset.
Dragon Spirit (1988, HuCard) ▲
ARCADE MODE: Reset the game 57 times for hi-res arcade mode. Note: Hold down RUN, then hit SELECT for a soft reset.
Final Soldier (1991, HuCard) ▲
- At the title screen, as "Normal Game" is displayed, press—Left, Left, I, Right, Right, II, Up, Down, Up, Down
- A sound effect will ring as it enables the "Stage Select" trick (and a purple number will appear near the bottom of the screen).
- Repeat the previous code—Left, Left, I, Right, Right, II, Up, Down, Up, Down
- If input correctly, you will hear the sound effect again.
- Finally, RESET (hold RUN, then press SELECT) and the game will be running in the higher resolution mode.
Image Fight (1990, HuCard) ▲
ARCADE MODE: Hold the "I" button when the "Irem" logo is displayed.
Nexzr (1992, SCD) ▲
ARCADE MODE available in "Options" menu.
Soldier Blade (1992, HuCard) ▲
ARCADE MODE available in "Options" menu.
Steam Hearts (1996, SCD) ▲
ARCADE MODE: Actually, Steam Hearts is in high resolution by default; the right-hand margin is used to display status and the score.
Super Raiden (1992, CD) ▲
HELP! We need screenshots!
NOTE: This mode was not available in the commercial release of Super Raiden. It is a hack that changes the resolution mode from 256x224 to 352x224 (increasing the horizontal resolution mode has the effect of "squeezing" the game content and introducing vertical bars).
Super Star Soldier (1990, HuCard) ▲
- Hold down RUN+SELECT, then power on the console.
- Release RUN+SELECT.
- Enter L, II, U, II, R, II, D, II, L, I, U, I, R, I, D, I, (I+II)x8, (I+SELECT)x8.
Tatsujin (1992, HuCard) ▲
ARCADE MODE ("Slim Screen") available in "DEBUG MODE":
- Activating DEBUG MODE (pictured above) is a chore…
- Play a game to 7,100 points (kill all enemies up to the first large characters).
- While the game is still playing, reset the system (RUN + SELECT), then…
- At the title screen press and hold SELECT, then press RUN.
- Under the "SCREEN" option, you can toggle between NORMAL and SLIM ("Arcade Mode")…
- Sadly, "Arcade Mode" is not available from the STANDARD Options Menu (pictured above).
- To access the STANDARD Options Menu, HOLD SELECT and press RUN on the title screen.
- Interestingly if you use the STANDARD "Options Cheat" on the Prototype ROM (pictured above) you get a slightly different options menu (an "Area Select" option is added).
Toilet Kids (1992, HuCard) ▲
ARCADE MODE: Press and Hold Select whilst you turn on console (at the title screen).
Travel Epuru/Epule (1992, HuCard) ▲
ARCADE MODE: Pause game. Push up/down to toggle between "normal" and "vertical" displays.
Twinbee (Detana!! Twin Bee) (1992, HuCard) ▲
- HARDWARE: You need a multitap with three (or more) connections.
- On the TITLE SCREEN, using the THIRD CONTROLLER—Press I, II, Right, Left, Right, Left, Down, Down, Up, Up
- Finally, select "Vmode" (Vertical Mode) in option menu.
- NOTE: Twinbee does not change the TITLE SCREEN ratio when in Vmode / Arcade mode, only gameplay is altered (see image below).
This page is a WORK IN PROGRESS… ▲
For the most up-to-date list of games, please consult the "What shmups have an option for a high resolution mode (Arcade Mode)?" thread at the pcenginefx.com forums. Thank you for visiting!