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Video Game / Bosconian

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"Blast off!"

Bosconian is a multi-directional Shoot 'Em Up developed by Namco in 1981 and released overseas by Midway later the same year.

As was common back in the day, gameplay was fairly simple: The player took control of his rocket and blasted off to destroy menacing green space stations, asteroid swarms and frighteningly competent enemy ships. More than a mere Galaxian knock-off, Bosconian was unique in that it gave the player not only total directional control over his spaceship, but also the ability to fire additional shots from the aft of the ship.

While never quite as popular as Space Invaders or Namco's own Galaga, Bosconian nevertheless enjoys a strong following and is available on multiple iterations of Namco Museum, Plug N' Play TV games, and other retro gaming collections. Famicom space sim Star Luster has some connections to Bosconian, and Japanese arcades also saw a Vertical Scrolling Shooter sequel/spin-off called Blast Off.

Bosconian contains examples of:

  • Attack Its Weak Point: The stations have two opposite-facing openings into their cores that the player can shoot into.
  • Cores-and-Turrets Boss: Each station has six turrets. Destroying all of them will destroy their base.
  • Endless Game: Except for in the Sharp X68000 port, the game never has an ending stage and eventually resets.
  • Mission Control: One of the game's biggest selling points is the inclusion of an actual voice actor who serves as ground control, indicating to the player their current status and whether any attack ships are incoming.
  • Red Alert: On the "CONDITION" indicator, the status switches between Green, Yellow, and Red depending on how much time is spent on a level.
  • Shout-Out: The title and the names of the enemy ships (Eich/I-Type, Ploor/P-Type, and Eddore/E-Type) are references to the Lensman series.
  • Stalked by the Bell: When the player takes too long on a level, or misses a Spy Ship, then Condition Red begins.
  • The War Sequence: Condition Red, accompanied with an alarm and the repeating "CONDITION RED!".
  • Wrap Around: Each stage has a set boundary border that, when crossed, throws the player ship to the other side of the screen.