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By Toaplan Arcade 1990


When I was a student at Uni, one of my friends lived above a video arcade. This establishment had a number of Toaplan arcade games, including Truxton 2, Vimana and the incredibly 'more-ish' Outzone. Needless to say I was often late back from visiting my friend..

Video game nostalgia can be a little rose-tinted. Fondly remembered classics of the 'charge-and-destroy' genre such as Commando, Gunsmoke and Ikari Warriors have not aged at all well to be honest (although Commando still has to be recognised as a ground-breaker). Other games such as Jackal and Mercs come off far better today. Outzone, like-wise, is still an incredibly playable game..

Your marine has two basic weapons - a rapid fire laser which can be aimed in eight directions, and a green 'spread-shot' cannon which can only be fired upscreen. Weapons can be switched by picking up the 'C' icons littered about the landscape, and powered up by collecting the occasional 'P' icon. Players need to utilise both weapons depending on the situation - for instance the eight-way laser is useful in the tight corridor sections where enemies can appear behind you, while the spread-shot is best for boss encounters. While two further weapons - a flame-thrower and a kind of rotating ball on a string that zips around your character taking out all bad guys - can occasionally be picked up, they are rare. Occasionally you may find a shield-pickup which can protect you from one collision with enemy hardware. It does not usually last too long..

In the spirit of Toaplan shooters from the 80's and early 90's Outzone is one tough cookie of a game. Enemies come thick and fast from all directions and often overpower the player, especially at later stages or in one-player mode. Stages are best conquered with a mixture of out-and-out blasting and tactical sniping from behind 'safe spots' in the scenery - taking out key enemies and gun turrets before rushing frantically forwards in the hope of making it through to the end of level boss intact. To prevent players dawdling a continually decreasing 'energy-meter' is present which can only be recharged by finding 'E' pickups in the landscape, forcing you to keep moving. Levels range from open plains and alien installations to Gauntlet-style mazes and narrow walk-ways where you are in danger of falling a very long way indeed should you be unwary. The variety of different enemies and backgrounds in the game is impressive - from lowly alien grunts to organic craft, spaceships, trains, robots and some incredibly nasty bosses..

This fiendish boss (at the end of stage three) is a major git..!! It actually cuts away the floor so you are left with precious little room to move around.. and the smaller aliens it spawns are SOO hard to avoid being zapped by! For god's sake just keep firing and pray!

As far as I know there were no home versions of Outzone, fortunately is is playable nowadays in the Mame and Shark emulators so there's no excuse not to revisit this ten year old classic! A sequel called Fix Eight was released in 1992 which is currently in preliminary emulation under Raine.

Boss number five is a mean floating alien
warship thing. Don't fall off that edge!

Incoming! Final boss!! Rather mean looking to
say the least, and you have to fight right on
the edge of this precipice.. er I just fell off here..

Toaplan at their best.. an inspired mixture of Ikari Warriors and Truxton.. the wonderful Outzone!

A.D. 2097.

At last, humans can't control
repeated invasions to the earth.
As a last resort, the United Nations commissioned the strongest cyborg soldier
to the legendary space death squad.

The human race confronted being wiped out by invasions of strong aliens of Waogira planet. At that time, a message was posted to U.N. The message said that there were excellent cyborg soldiers who undertake battle with money in the remote region, so-called "Out Zone", of the galaxy system.

Outzone plays like a cross between Capcom's Mercs and Toaplan's own space-shooter Truxton, and as such is a pretty unique experience even today. Your task is to take command of one of two cyborg marines sent in to eradicate all the marauding alien scum from their homeworld - a region called the 'Outzone' - through 7 long and extremely challenging levels - complete with a full compliment of very tricky to defeat end-of-stage guardians.

Caught between two nasty gun-turrets and a squad of alien robots with only my lowly pink laser for comfort..

Tank-boss at the end of stage two.. not too hard
compared to some later bosses but you need to destroy the command-turret which only appears briefly - plus those pink chain lasers are a bit of a nightmare..

Aargh!! I HATE this boss!!. In its first form it pelts you with missiles which then further bombard you with flak.. then splits into this spinning circle of baddies which is
very hard to avoid being killed by..

The stage six boss, this walker robot baddies, is
actually one of the easiest in the game to defeat.

Here you can see the massive light-saber doobrie the
boss is equipped with. Nasty when it takes a swipe at
you. It can also punch with those 'fists' so don't stray
under 'em or you'll be toast. Oh yes.. the red spot is the
bosses now revealed 'weak spot'

Manage to defat the final boss and you are congratulated
with this.. a message to start again in extra mode.. hehe.
Well you do get an all new
attract screen for your efforts..

Extra Outzone screenshots

For more information on Outzone and other classic
Toaplan games be sure to visit !
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