SPACE HARRIER / Sega / Arcade

You're doin' great! Space Harrier was basically the first attempt to take the concepts of a 2d sh'mup and execute them in forward-scrolling faux-3D. Worked out pretty well thanks to designer Yu Suzuki's cutting-edge arcade vision and previous experience with similar title Hang On.

The game had a sit-down cabinet that moved around and rocked with your stick motions and such, which naturally made it more awesome, but even without that the game still stands up pretty well in emulation and ports. Space Hurrier faces down 18 stages of bizarro (but quite deadly) enemies as he appears to be having the worst acid trip ever, in a rather psychedelic place called the Fantasy Zone. I always took this game as evidence that Japanese designers frequently did drop 'shrooms before coming up with their concepts.

Anyway, it's primarily a technical marvel, and it really was jaw-dropping back in 1986. There's enough quality gameplay and level design to stand the test of time, though, and the graphics still do look neat and appealing, if long since having lost the "WOW" factor. Also has extremely catchy tunes and good sound effects. One of Sega's top 1980s arcade titles for sure.

Videos :

* Gameplay Video
* Arcade cabinet