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Hellfire (ヘルファイヤー) is a horizontally scrolling shooter, developed by Toaplan and released by Seismic Software Inc. in 1989. It was released both as an arcade cabinet and as a cartridge for the Sega Genesis.
The story to Hellfire takes place in 2998, where man has reached a great point in galactic travel and colonization with the help of a peaceful society. However, a mysterious space matter known as Black Nebula appears and starts engulfing different stars before reaching man's latest colonized galaxy. It is eventually revealed that the force behind this matter is Super Mech, a mysterious robotic dictator from the farthest regions of space with the only intention to destroy any resistance that it and its massive space armada faces.
A Space Federation member known only as Captain Lancer decides to initiate a surprise attack against Super Mech by piloting the only available space fighter craft, the CNCS1, loaded with the strongest weapon available in the galaxy: The Hellfire.
In Hellfire, players take control of a small spaceship named the 'CNCS1' and manoeuvre through several different locations set in space. In similar fashion to many other space shooters of the late eighties and early nineties, the game is split up into a series of stages that automatically scroll along on a 2D plane as players destroy basic enemies, a middle boss half way through the stage and a tougher boss at the end.
One of the most unique features found in Hellfire is the ability to fire in different directions by changing the colour of your ship. By pressing the B button (Genesis/Mega Drive Version), the CNCS1 ship individually cycles through the colours Pink, Yellow, Green and Blue.
- Pink fires missiles from the front in a horizontal state.
- Yellow allows the opposite, firing from the behind.
- Green has two guns firing at once, shooting above and below the ship vertically.
- Blue adds two more shots to this, firing four guns from each corner of the ship diagonally.
This firing system helps give Hellfire a more tactical edge to its gameplay, as different colours work more effectively in different situations. More experienced players can cycle through the different colours rapidly, making complete use of the four different firing types. To keep balance in the game, no matter which colour players pick for their ship they'll always be vulnerable from one direction or another.
Hellfire also sports many upgrades and power-ups. that can be collected throughout stages, ultimately altering the ships appearance. The power-ups range from simply granting the player more fire power by upgrading the ships projectiles to adding an over shield, increasing defense. Once a life is lost however, all power-ups are removed and the CNCS1 ship reverts to its most basic state.