Fire Shark is a 1989 vertically scrolling shooter arcade video game developed and published by Toaplan in Japan and Europe, and by Romstar in North America. It is the sequel to Sky Shark, a game released in 1987 on multiple platforms. Set in the year 1991, the game focuses on a mysterious armada launching a worldwide attack from a small island in the Mediterranean Sea. Players take control of the titular biplane to counterattack the enemy forces.
Though first launched for the arcades, Fire Shark was ported in-house to the Mega Drive/Genesis and published worldwide by DreamWorks, Toaplan and Sega between 1990 and 1991. The console launch featured various changes compared with the original release. A conversion for the Sharp X68000 was developed but never released. The game was well received in arcades across Western regions where reviewers commended its graphics, sound and gameplay, however it proved to be less popular in Japan due to the high difficulty level. The Mega Drive/Genesis version was also met with mostly positive reviews from critics across multiple regions.
Fire Shark is a military-themed vertically scrolling shoot 'em up game reminiscent of 1942, where players take control of the titular biplane through ten increasingly difficult levels in order to defeat an assortment of enemy forces like tanks, battleships, kamikaze monoplanes and artillery from the mysterious Strange Fleet armada. This is the main objective of the game. The game plays similarly like its predecessor, as players control their craft over a constantly scrolling background and the scenery never stops moving until an airport is reached. Players have two weapons at their disposal: the standard shot that travels a max distance of half the screen's height and bombs capable of obliterating any enemy caught within its blast radius.
There are three types of weapons to pick up that appear as colored icons by destroying zeppelins: a wide shot, a laser beam and a flamethrower. There are also other items like 'S' icons that increases the overall speed, 'B' icons that acts as extra bomb stocks, 'P' icons and 1UPs on rare occasions. By acquiring three 'P' icons in a row, players increase their plane's firepower to one level, with the third power level being the highest. Once the plane is fully powered up, grabbing additional icons grants extra points instead. Reaching high-scores is also crucial to obtain extra lives, which are obtained at certain score values. Players can grab lightning-shaped medals for points by destroying containers on the playfield.
Depending on the settings in the arcade version, the title uses either a checkpoint system in which a downed single player will start off at the beginning of the checkpoint they managed to reach before dying, or a respawn system where their ship immediately starts at the location they died at. Getting hit by enemy fire will result in losing a life, as well as a penalty of decreasing the ship's firepower and speed to his original state and once all lives are lost, the game is over unless the players insert more credits into the arcade machine to continue playing. Once all ten stages are complete, the game loops back to the first stage after completing the last stage as with previous titles from Toaplan, with each one increasing the difficulty and enemies fire denser bullet patterns.
The plot summary of Fire Shark varies between each region and version. In the original arcade version, a mysterious enemy fleet known as the Strange Fleet arrived at a small island of the Mediterranean Sea during summer night in 1991, with few people noticing its sudden arrival. In the span of two years, the Strange Fleet grew larger and larger, culminating in a worldwide attack as a result. As the Strange Fleet continues their assault, those who oppose them cried 'Fire Shark! Fire Shark! It's time to take-off!! Beat them for our sake. Go! Go! Fire Shark!'. In the Sega Genesis port, the game takes place in the year 19X9 on an alternate Earth instead, where a global superpower known as the S Corps, which specializes in a heavy industrial army begins invading various countries, with all seemingly lost when a phantom pilot flying a super-powered biplane called the Fire Shark flies in to save the world from domination.
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This version of Fire Shark was designed for Sega Genesis (known as Sega Mega Drive in Europe), which was the first ever 16-bit
video game console manufactured
by Sega in the years 1988 - 1997. It was a direct competitor to the SNES console and the successor of the well known 8-bit console Sega Master System.
The unit price of Genesis was approximately $ 190 and worldwide about 40 million units of this console were sold. More information about Sega Genesis
can be found here.
Recommended Game Controllers:
You can control this game easily by using the keyboard of your PC (see the table next to the game). However, for maximum gaming enjoyment, we strongly recommend using a USB gamepad that you simply plug into the USB port of your computer. If you do not have a gamepad, buy a suitable USB controller on Amazon or AliExpress or in some of your favorite online stores.
Available online emulators:
5 different online emulators are available for Fire Shark. These emulators differ not only in the technology they use to emulate old games, but also in support of various game controllers, multiplayer mode, mobile phone touchscreen, emulation speed, absence or presence of embedded ads and in many other parameters. For
maximum gaming enjoyment, it's important to choose the right emulator, because on each PC and in different Internet browsers, the individual emulators behave differently. The basic
features of each emulator available for this game Fire Shark are summarized in the following table:
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