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Vimana (ヴィマナ) is a vertical scrolling shooter, developed by Toaplan and released by Romstar and Tecmo in 1991 for the arcades worldwide. Vimana was unique in its combination of a Sci-Fi theme with Hindu references.
In an unnamed galaxy, the inhabitants of an alien planet fought a long and horrific war caused by an accumulation of worldwide social and political insanity that resulted in the most sane and industrious of the world populous to leave the planet entirely. Now living in space colonies, the exiles are still accosted by their victors who dominate the desolated home world. The exiled inhabitants plot to win back their planet with the help of the Vimana Warriors, pilots capable of handling ancient, powerful space fighter ships.
Players controlled the ship over a constantly scrolling background; the scenery never stopped moving until the final boss was encountered. Players had only two weapons at their disposal: the standard shot and a bomb weapon.
The standard shot weapon was a spread-shot weapon capable of covering most of the screen. However, the player had to tap the fire button to fire rapidly; once the button was held down, the player would charge a stronger version of the normal shot. The player’s bomb weapon, the Circle Bomb, would encircle the player once activated and seek out enemies upon an additional tap of the bomb button.
There were a total of four Items for the player to pick up: One powered-up the player’s shot strength, one would increase their Circle Bomb stock, one would grant the player 10,000 points and the other would grant the player an extra life. Extends were awarded with every 70,000 points.
As implied by the name, Vimana carries a few significant cultural references into its presentation, specifically from Indian culture. The Vimana ships as well as the crescent shape of their charged shots all refer to the mythological creations of ancient Indian mythology the Vimana which were described as flying vessels capable of firing axes. Early in the game’s opening, the take-off sequence features the Vimana ships being energized by two statues of four-armed humans with the heads of elephants, almost identical to the Hindu God Ganesha.