バレット ● Genre: Shooting ● Release Date: 1987 ● Developer: SEGA ● Publisher: SEGA ● Media: Arcade System Board ● System Specific: SYSTEM 16B
■SHOOT THE NEVER ENDING SWARM OF BAD GUYS !
BULLET is a twin joystick action shooting game made by SEGA for their prolific SYSTEM 16B board.
The game is probably best remembered for its relentless shooting action and insane amount of enemy waves that are constantly thrown at the player.
BULLET is also one of the rarest and more often overlooked SYSTEM 16B games, and as far as I know it was never released overseas either.
I think the first time I've heard of BULLET was in Japanese magazine (probably BEEP! MEGADRIVE) from the late 80's. I don't have those old magazines anymore (bummer), but I'm almost positive the game was announced as the successor to ALIEN SYNDROME.
From what I can gather BULLET was given very little promotion and distribution by SEGA, and so it was a somewhat difficult game to find even at the time. Then again this was basically the case of nearly all SYSTEM 16B games that required a special control panel, save of course the very notable exception of SDI which turned out to be a big hit for the company.
Of course it's worth mentioning that the control panel for most Japanese cabinets can be detatched and swapped nearly effortlessly, so that has never been much of a drawback. Thus it's more likely that the low distritubiton of those games had to do with some other factor, like a low demand, or maybe it was just a business decision from SEGA.
■A NOT SO HIDDEN 3P MODE ?
Probably the most interesting fact about BULLET is its 3 Player mode which can be activated through the DIP switch settings of the game board.
The character profile screen.
What's really interesting about the 3P mode is that activating it unlocks a new additional character「CHRIS」and also alters the opening and ending screens a bit.
Neither the official flyer nor the instruction card make any mention of CHRIS (nor of a 3P mode for that matter).
The original control panel that came with the game also only had the names EMMY (1P) and FRED (2P) printed on it.
Like I already mentioned in the ALIEN STORM entry - Nearly all arcade games that were 3P or 4P in America and Europe were only 2P in Japan. Of course the reason behind this was entirely practical as to fit their arcade bussiness model. Plus the Japanese versions still featured the same amount of playable characters regardless.
BULLET on the other hand tough totally cuts off a whole playable character which was just very unusual.
One possible explanation is that maybe the original plans for SEGA were to export the game board to America (where it probably would've received an exclusive 3P cabinet) but they ended up deciding against it for some reason. Maybe the game performed poorly Japan, I don't know for sure.
The first thing you should know about BULLET is that it is one intense shooting game.
Throughout most of this gauntlet you will find yourself completely overwhelmed by enemies and bullets coming out from virtually everywhere. And you will have no other choice than to run around shooting non-stop in all 8 directions like a maniac in a far out effort to remain alive long enough to reach the boss... Pretty cool stuff.
Fortunately the controls couldn't have been any more responsive as the game's twin joystick set up was meant for an scenario like this.
The game is all about repelling the enemy's relentless charge and the twin joysticks allow you do just that with remarkable ease and accuracy.
Original Instruction Card.
Like many other arcade games BULLET was meant to be played cooperatively alongside a shooting buddy, thus the game is not really optimized for single play. However, unlike games like CRACK DOWN or GAIN GROUND whose campaigns move at a more slower pace if played alone - playing BULLET solo actually makes the action all the more hectic since then you will be dealing with all of the enemy swarms on your own.
So while the game was meant to be played co-op, and indeed is just mad fun to have another player along for the ride - Playing solo does make for a good challenge and an even more intense shooting experience.
Be warned however that you cannot continue while playing single player! This was a big oversight from the programmers and unfortunately there's nothing to be done about it.
Of course those of you looking for a nice retro challenge will be more than served here.
Your weapon (ARMS) energy meter can be powered up to 3 times by stepping on the various multi-colored panels (ARMS Charging Units) scattered around every area.
Note that once you step on a charging panel its energy will deplete completely, so you'll need to remain on top of them as much as possible in order to gather the most energy.
The ARMS power up progression flows like this : NORMAL SHOT → POWER SHOT → FIRE SHOT → LASER BEAM.
Constant shooting will drain your ARMS power until it drops down one level. Also, losing a life or clearing a stage will reset your ARMS power back to its default level.
It goes without saying that the clearing a stage part really sucks! (T^T)
■HEY, THIS GUY IS THE ENEMY COMMANDER !
I don't know if there's any story behind it, but all of the enemy bosses will be sitting on what seems to be a「Control Throne」of sorts.
Shooting the boss will cause all enemies on screen to explode (not their bullets though!), something that is pretty much necessary to avoid getting overwhelmed by the enemy troops.
The boss can also unleash multiple clones of himself. This is basically his one and only attack and more than anything seems to be meant to prevent players from camping right in front of him.
Naturally as the game progresses the boss will start using tougher troops and various other hazardous obstacles for protection, so hitting him will become substantially harder.
BULLET shows a bleak picture of the future where an evil robot organization has taken over the post-apocalyptic world and the few human survivors live their lifes with little hope of a change.
Of course this is where you come in, to kick some major robot ass and set things right. Hell, if recycling becomes the next fad in the wasteland, you'll be making millions on scrap metal.
There are a total of 6 rounds in BULLET. The stages themselves are very short but in my opinion they fit perfectly with the overall design of the game. I think that if they had made the stages longer, with all the enemies and bullets they throw at you, it just would've seemed like the programmers were only dragging things on purpose to make you lose and shake off more coins outta you.
■ROUND 1 : SURFACE
This brief, easy round should be considered more of a tutorial level meant to show you the gameplay fundamentals : shoot in every direction like a bullet frenzied lunatic!
While in this round you will only be fighting standard enemy troops and robots that don't even fire - you can still very well die if you relax, so like, don't.
■ROUND 2 : SUBWAY
In this round you will find futuristic hi-tech robot soldiers working with... long forgotten skeleton warriors of the past...!!?? Man, they couldn't come up with stuff like this today if they tried.
Be very careful of the purple solders since their laser beams have a wide range and can be quite deadly. Just try to move fast and follow the tracks to reach the boss.
■ROUND 3 : SEWER
O.K. playtime is over. The real challenge starts from here, on so prepare to get swarmed big time!
The rats in this place can be a royal pain in the ass... You really need to get your ARMS powered up as quickly as possible to stand a better fighting chance against those damn rodents.
■ROUND 4 : HANGAR
Geez, the enemy troops in this level really seem to want to get up close and personal with you... The enemy count is also reaching some truly epic levels - Quite probably the highest of any arcade game up until that point in time.
If there's any arcade game from 1987 or before with a higher enemy count than BULLET, I totally missed it.
■ROUND 5 : FACTORY
The factory, huh? This must be like the birthplace of these guys. No wonder why they're so pissed...
The enemy count reaches its highest point in this round. You know, I shudder to think of what happened to the wrists of the guys who played BULLET constantly back in the 80's. They probably ended up with the wrists of an 80-year-older...
■ROUND 6 : PASSAGE
Congratulations on making it to the final round. By now I hope you've gotten pretty good at the game because the are no more continues for you beyond this point!
That's right. The programmers went totally insanse, so should you die here you will remain dead for what's left of the game.
Relatively speaking, this round isn't as hard as some of the previous ones. However the added pressure of not being able to continue do can work against you. Just trust in your skill and go for broke -- GOOD LUCK !
Before facing the final boss you will have to break through the last batch of desperate robot soldiers ready to sacrifice themselves for their master.
This part is actually much harder than the boss fight itself. Also, be warned that should you back away enemy reinforcements will be coming from behind as well, so you don't really have a lot of options here.
【ROBOT MASTER】 In comparison to what you've already been through this fight is a total cakewalk.
The are no more enemy soldiers left, so you're very much free to concentrate on dodging the boss' all to easy avoidable attacks.
To beat the boss you must destroy the 4 cyber cores circling around him. Do it and the future is saved.
With the evil robot army defeated, mankind is free to rebuilt its once proud civilization once again. But until that time, the names EMMY and FRED will be talked about in the wasteland for generations to come.
... What? You think that's all of it? More insane wrist-wrecking shooting action awaits you in ROUND 2 ! BULLET - As it was meant to be played! -- Are you a bad enough dude to tackle this challenge!?
"BULLET on the other hand tough totally cuts off a whole playable character which was just very unusual."
The Konami game Majū no Ōkoku (Devil World) has a third playable character who appears only in the American version (Dark Adventure). The funny thing is that even though he doesn't appear in the Japanese, he was still featured on the Japanese flyer's illustration.