Toaplan Arcade Shoot ‘Em Up Collection Vol.2 is a collection of arcade shooters that either defined the genre or influenced a generation of gamers. At the same time, it takes gamers back to the era when the arcade dominated the video game world. Among the titles in the collection is Slap Fight.
Slap Fight is a vertical-scrolling shooter that puts players in command of a Leopold spacefighter as they attempt to stop an invasion. It’s one of those arcade titles that was a byproduct of its era. Unfortunately, it’s also the weakest title in the collection for numerous reasons.
Take Flight in the Leopold
Details of the story vary based on the region the game was released but the main plot remains the same. This summary is going to be based on the element every version of the game shares. Players take on the role of an Allied League of Cosmic Nations (ALCON) pilot who is part of a counterattack effort to defeat Goudy, an AI created by an extinct alien race.
Science fiction themed games were among the many staples of the arcade scene during the 80’s. All of them had a plot about the player having to either save their planet or the galaxy. Slap Fight was just one of many titles from this era that offered such an experience. Remasters like this present a glimpse of what that scene was like back in the day. While limited cabnits were built, it did have a solid fan base and that community is sure to have a nostalgic connection with the remaster.
Fighting for Survival
Slap Fight is a vertical-scrolling shooter that has undergone some modern updates. Gameplay has players take command of a Leopold spacefighter as they battle waves of enemy forces. Along the way, you will pick up stars that will allow you to upgrade your spacefighter. These upgrades include speed, firepower, and converting it into a bomber. Best of all; players could enjoy this solo or team up with a friend via local Co-Op (best enjoy it with a friend).
Enemy forces are made up of mostly ground forces along with gun emplacements and a variety of other sci-fi weapons. At the end of each stage, players will go one-on-one with the boss. Each boss will present a unique challenges that will test the players’ skills and make them think fast. Do expect to die multiple times before having a good idea of your enemy and the battlefield before developing the right strategy.
One also can’t overlook how it allows you to customize the overall experience. A player could experience the Slap Fight from their youth or the European and Japanese versions (known as ALCON). Players could also customize the difficulty to either offer a challenge or make it easy to enjoy. This is made possible by altering the number of lives, using assist features, and setting the difficulty level. The point is to make it the experience you want.
Every collection is going to have its crown jewel and a dud. Unfortunately; Slap Fight is going to be the dud of the Toaplan Arcade Shoot ‘Em Up Collection Vol.2. Most of it comes down to how sluggish it feels piloting the Leopold along with the bland look of the world and enemies.
While the cover art looks amazing, the same can not be said about the game itself. Its world and enemies don’t look all too impressive in regards to the design. They don’t even have that “by the books” look or generic science fiction look. Instead, it all feels bland while devoid of color or any design that would make it stand out. Especially when compared to other titles in the collection.
Piloting the Leopold starfighter has a sluggish feeling that is almost on par with trying to cut cold butter with a cold knife. There are a few games that absolutely should not feel sluggish when playing and a SHMUP is one of them. The sluggish feel mostly comes down to the game wanting players to upgrade their speed. Doing so does alleviate the issue but even after a few upgrades it still feels sluggish when moving left to right.
Also the wonky keyboard setup is also present here. Save yourself the trouble, hit ESC and go change the layout or just use a console controller.
Toaplan Arcade Shoot ‘Em Up Collection Vol.2 is a collection of arcade classics that were either staples of the arcade or cult favorites. Slap Fight may only attract the attention of someone who actually played it back in the day while not being everyone else’s preferred experience. It’s not a bad game but it doesn’t stand out compared to the other titles in the collection.
Disclaimer: Embracer Freedom provided the game used for this review.
This review is the critique and thoughts of one writer. If you want to see how other critics felt then check it out on OpenCritic.
8Bit/Digi is an independent media outlet that provides insight into the gamer community of the San Francisco Bay Area
Slap Fight (PC)
- Easy to learn gameplay and non-stop action.
- Experience can be adjusted based on ones preference.
- Players can adjust the experience based on their preference or region.
- Bland look of the world and enemies.
- Controlling the spacefighter feels sluggish.
- Wonky keyboard controller layout.