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Tiger Heli is the one of the very first games by the Japanese developer Toaplan, and had first seen the light on the arcade machines, though what made it famous was the NES port. It's a classic Vertical Scrolling Shooter, in which you control a small attack helicopter across the four huge rolling stages full of enemies and other stuff to blow up. It was arguably the first ever title to bring the bomb (especially, smart bomb) into the world of shmups, as any of the heli's two bombs destroyed all enemies and their bullets on the screen. It also was one of the first games to introduce a side- or forward-shooting Attack Drone, in the form of a sidekick heli, acquirable by a powerup.

As it was one of the first vertical scrollers, Tiger Heli doesn't offer much in the realm of variety and replayability. Stages are big and detailed, and enemies are numerous (it's not quite a Bullet Hell, but it might approach this level sometimes), but they are mostly just a Palette Swaps of each other, and there are only four stages, which repeat again and again after you beat them. Well, it was all fair and good for the arcade, where the main goal of the game is to squeeze quarters from the teens, but it doesn't look all that nice in the home release. Still, it was popular enough for its time to warrant a Spiritual Sequel of sorts, Twin Cobra.

Tiger Heli provides examples of:

  • Attack Drone: Arguably the very first game to feature this concept in the form of a couple of sidekick helicopters, firing either forward or sideways. They also can take the damage for you.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Your main weapon. Bombs, on the other hand, -- not so much.
  • Check Point: Helipads at the start and the end of each stage. They recharge your life as well.
  • Endless Game: Really endless, and not in the procedurally generated River Raid style. Here it's just Stages 2-4 repeating over and over again, with ever-increasing difficulty.
  • Every Eighty Thousand Points you get a new life.
  • Nintendo Hard: And how. In very cheap ways. And you thought your average Bullet Hell shooter was hard...
  • No Plot, No Problem: As with most of the genre.
  • Nostalgia Filter: The only thing that can make this game tolerable, now that we know better.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: You and the most enemies.
  • Pac-Man Fever: Given that it's a NES game...
  • Scoring Points: Basically your only goal.
  • Smart Bomb: Clears up to the half-screen radius around you. If you're hit when you carry one, it takes the damage and discharges.
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