Game 9: Aero Fighters (Video system co.,ltd, 1993)

Playing rules: Difficulty: Normal. Start: 3 lives. Bonus: Extended play at 200,000; Continues: Not allowed
Player options: Scores accepted for single player only
Special Rules: You may freely select your fighter pilot
Dip Switch Bank #1: 1-8 = OFF
Dip Switch Bank #2: 1 = OFF; 2 = ON; 3-8 = OFF.

Current Record holders:
*1st: 237,600 - Hector T. Rodriguez - 2010
*2nd: 226,600 - John P. McCann - 2009
3rd: 224,500 - Mr Kelly R. Flewin - 2006
that's it!

Ok. Have you read my previous post? The one just down there about shoot ’em ups and Twin Galaxies? Marvelous.

You see, Aero Fighters (or Sonic Wings in Japan) is a great example of the issue described in that last post. Firstly there is only one score recorded (from last year no less) and secondly the record holder is one of the main Twin Galaxies referees and organisers – suggesting that it may just be some sort of a “placeholder”. Also, the score itself doesn’t look right.  I know my crazy Japanese shooters reasonably well and even before playing this game I can see that 224,500 points will not be a massive score. Just take a look at some of the Japanese scores for this sort of game and you will see that they usually LOVE a big number – it’s not unusual for a modern Japanese shooter to have score counters into the trillions. A bit of investigation later reveals that the high score is actually only in the millions, so not as bad as I thought but still I fancy my chances of beating it. So, it’s a shitty score, so why bother when there is so much more out there? Well, you have to start somewhere right? Rather than see the score as an insult to the game, surely it’s better to beat the bugger and get it a decent score to boast instead?

As you can see, there have been two scores added since. One in 2010, the other in 2009. If their small scores aren’t embarassing enough, they were both “video verified” which means that they actually spent the time recording their games and sending them in. See, now that crossed the line for even me – that *IS* an insult to the game as both scores are as shit as the original “placeholder”. It is now my mission to find one of these machines in the flesh and make a proper record out of it. This game should have a score of at least 500,000 if not a million and to have three scores as laughable as that is rubbish. Come on people, I want to hear that one of us has given the game a proper score!

Anyway, enough of all that business, let’s concentrate on the game. It’s a pretty straightforward vertically scrolling shooter, in the same vein as 1943, where the aim is to fly upwards and shoot *everything* you see. Absolutely everything. If it looks like it can be shot, shoot it. If it doesn’t look like it can be shot, shoot it anyway. It’s by no means easy either – if you haven’t really played a Japanese shooting game before you may find yourself a little overwhelmed. Although admitedly this is a rather early and tame example – welcome to “bullet hell”.

As soon as you start the game you get to choose from 4 different ships, each with their own nationality; you have US, Japan, Sweden(!?) and the UK as your options. Each of these ships have slightly different firing modes, although they are all roughly the same at first glance. Regardless of which ship you choose the controls and stuff are the same. You have 2 buttons, one for shooting and one for the smart bomb. (Incidentally the shoot button does not allow autofiring if held down, so get those tappy fingers warmed up). Along the way, as well as thousands of baddies you will see “P’s” and “B’s” flying about, the P powers up your weapon while the B gives you an extra bomb. That’s it. Nice and simple.

First go then. Seeing as there are four different ships I think I’ll actually have four goes of this one, once with each type. That logic dictates I choose the American chap first. Yup, he looks American alright – with a haircut you could land a helicoper on. A small cutscene later and I’m off to the world map to commence the duffing, of which it doesn’t waste any time at all let me tell you. Before you get your bearings there are things exploding all over the place. Looks like the first level is some sort of city and believe me when I say you can blow up everything, the buildings, the cars on the floor, everything takes a pounding. What does immediately strike as harsh is that you actually get points for shooting the cars on the floor when they are clearly not involved in the fuss – it’s only 100 points each, is that all a innocent life is worth these days? Nevermind they explode nicely and don’t shoot back so fair game! Most of them were probably parked illegally anyway.

In what seems like literally 2 minutes of frantic blasting we look like we’re up against our first guardian. It’s some sort of large glowing building by the looks of it. Oh, that’s me dead then. Naturally I was sitting in the middle of the screen waiting for the end of level boss to start, not really paying attention to the small glow inside the building directly in front of me. Nothing gets your attention like a big fuck-off laserbeam and this one was particularly attention seeking as it burst out from the building and engulfed me. As is the norm with this type of game, there is no ceremony, straight back in – just in time to greet the Green ship thing that emerged from the hole. Being reasonable at these games he wasn’t much trouble even despite the fact that he killed me again with his surprise laser attack, which by it’s very nature shouldn’t have actually been a surprise anymore. Bastard.

Back off to the map and we go to another country. This level is based in a forest, and although there are loads of ships flying about firing with gay abandon, I manage to keep my last life going without too much trouble. Pretty solid game this, although the power up P’s are a pain in the arse as they never keep still, always floating up towards the top of the screen trying to tempt you into an early death. Not on my shift son. Again a big guardian is on me in no time and again I manage to survive with a few timely smart bombs. I last about halfway through the level until I lose 2 lives in quick succession, mainly due to chasing those pesky P’s!
Tell you what though, I was right – the record wasn’t very good.

Score: 232,600

That’s the book’s world record beaten! On my first go as well. Ok, I know it wasn’t a great score but already we have reached a milestone. Game 9 and I have a game that I could beat the book’s world record at. Nice!

The show goes on mind, and buoyed by that victory I want more – this time with the Japanese guy. Hang on, this first level is different! I’ve gone straight into the forest level? That’s weird. Oh, and the Japanese guy’s ship is rubbish, firing what look like small blue twisty marshmellow flumps instead of manly lasers! What’s that all about? I don’t really get on with this throughout the whole game and despite the fact that when powered up you have a nice amount of homing missiles helping you out I find it hard to sustain any sort of attack cialis livraison. Not so good.

Score: 150,400

That was harsh – surely the Swedish entry won’t let me down – and my god he doesn’t. I haven’t even made it to the world map and already I have upmost confidence in him. Here’s why.

Brilliant. Just brilliant.

Obviously the Swedish version of the village people are pilots in their spare time, but let me tell you this – that’s some pilot right there. Gloriously his weapon is the best in the game as well, he has a very nicely spread set of lasers that I find very much to my liking. Again I start off on a different level though which is rather odd. Obviously the game has a different starting level for each player or something, either way it doesn’t really matter. I do much better with my viking friend by my side and clear about 4 levels, improving my score along the way

Score: 311,700

I’m happy with that, although I know I could do better with a bit off practice. What it does tell me is that I can pretty much beat the “record” at will would the opportunity ever arise. For the sake of completeness it’s the turn of the Brit now and again our racial stereotypes are well served as a very British man greets me on the screen looking like he’s in the middle of a performance with his brass band. Marvelous. My only suprise is that he doesn’t have a cup of tea in his hand, although that would be stupid in a airplane thinking about it, like wearing a horned helmet or something ridiculous like that. hang on – wait.

Score: 236,300

Again a record breaking score. Just touching on the controversy again for a second, I know this isn’t an impressive score in the big scheme of things and I personally wouldn’t be happy posting my score as a record as it stands, maybe if I doubled it or something. BUT within the scope of this quest I now have a game which I can challenge the published record with and I’ll take that for starters.

As for Aero Fighters itself, it’s a great shooter – quick to play and a lovely introduction to this sort of game. I know I used the term earlier but this game is a simple and easy example of a “Bullet Hell” game (the genre is notoriously difficult to the extreme) that I would definitely recommend all of you try before considering going onto the “hard stuff” – Just make sure you say “hi!” to Kohful The Viking (for that is our hero’s name) on your way.

7 thoughts on “Game 9: Aero Fighters (Video system co.,ltd, 1993)

  1. You’ve inspired me… After reading your last couple of entries I went over to the Twin Galaxies website just to see what some of the submission scores are for the different games (both for the MAME score and the original arcade boards). During this summer I’m planning on taking a couple of the top places for myself, since there are some that I already know I can beat easy.

    Great blog by the way. I wouldn’t let the criticisms against Twin Galaxy derail you too much. I know that I haven’t been the biggest supporter of their score keeping due to the fact that there are a lot of scores that were posted that are well within the “do it blindfolded range”. (A good example of that is the Ikaruga top score which just so happens to be a good score… for the first level.)

    Keep it up… When this has more entries you may want to consider actually setting up a site so you can have it categorized by genre, year, company, etc.

  2. Vikings are Norweegen, not Swedish!

    all Swedish people are chefs or footy managers, or unemployed and spend all day in steam baths!!!

  3. 100 points for killing an innocent bystander sounds about right, actually. I think that’s how much they were worth in Grand Theft Auto.

  4. Another thing: if I recall correctly, this game used different characters, and different planes, for the Player 2 side. You really have to see the rest. One of the pilots is a robot.

  5. Nice one. MAME record on Twin Galaxies os 524,400.

    Beat it, record it, buy your ‘World Record Certificate (or blag one from Walter for the great publicity), scan it, post it here.

    I currently have 2 ‘World Records’ (but have had more in the past before decent players ‘spot the charlatan’ and hammer my scores).

    I know I’m shit, but I love playing these old games and seeing my name in lights. “Look mom- I’ve achieved something” :

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