I don’t claim to be a shmup expert, but I did a lot of research on this subject about a year ago. The findings of “superior ports” are not a result of a great amount of testing on my part, but rather the general consensus that I found among the shmup community.
We all know how awesome the Saturn is when it comes to shmups and other 2D games, but it is a fact that Sony’s mainstream counterpart has plenty of shmups to to keep retro gamers happy. I want to compare and contrast each system’s shooter library in order to help shooter fans build the best shmup library they can.
I will try to provide links to game reviews when I can. This list will be a bit of a work in progress and I eventually hope to provide more documentation on each game and port. Please contribute any additional information you might have in the comments section.
- Inexpensive, widely available
- Can produce awesome 2D in the hands of talented programmers.
- Backwards-compatible on the PS2.
- Excellent emulation support
- Not very import-friendly (internal mod is required)
- Dontroller d-pad isn’t the best for shmups
- Generally flimsy manufacturing.
- Generally not as skilled in 2D processing
- Raiden Project
- Raiden DX
- Gradius Gaiden
- Harmful Park
- Toaplan Shooting Battle vol. 1 (Kyukyoku Tiger)
- R-Type Delta
- Cotton Original
- Cotton 100%
- Night Raid
- Nichibitsu Arcade Classics
- Vacuum Kids
- Zanac X Zanac
- Dragon Spirit (Namco Museum)
- Dragon Sabre (Namco Museum)
- Ordyne (Namco Museum)
- Capable of some truly amazing graphics
- More RAM, built-in save memory
- Quite arguably the best controller ever
- Easy to play imports
- System failure rate is very low compared to PS1.
- Emulation has not matured
- No backwards-compatibility options
- Complex multi-processor architecture
- 3D graphics processors were a late addition to the hardware design.
- Radiant Silvergun
- Guardian Force
- Gun Frontier
- Battle Garegga
- Blast Wind
- Metal Black
- Cotton 2
- Cotton Bommerang
- Layer Section/Galactic Attack
- Kyukyoku Tiger II Plus
- Sengoku Blade
- Twinkle Star Sprites
- Game Tengoku
- Shippu Mahou Daisakusen/Kingdom Grandprix
- Hyper Duel
- Thunderforce Gold Pack 1
- Thunderforce Gold Pack 2
- Konami’s Deluxe Packs (Gradius, Salamander, Parodius and Twinbee)
- Chatting Parodius
- Sexy Parodius
- Strikers 1945 (?)
- Image Fight/X-Multiply
- Thunder Force V
- Darius Gaiden
I gave the nod to Saturn versions of the Konami Packs/Parodius 3&4, even though the PS1 versions are identical from what I’ve heard, due to Saturn’s better controller and ease of importing. Same with Image Fight and Sonic Wings Special.
Overall, as you can see, Saturn has a larger and much more versatile library of shmups, but the PS1 has Raiden, R-Type, Tiger Heli/Kyukyoku Tiger, better versions of the ‘pachis (which should count for like, 10 games by themselves), and several others. Clearly the serious shmupper needs both systems to get the most out of 32-bit era home ports.
Feel free to correct me on any games or information I left out.
And just an FYI, I plan on doing more comparisons like Genesis vs. SNES, Dreamcast vs PS2, and other great matchups.