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Video Game / Fire Shark

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Guess why it's called FIRE Shark?

Fire Shark, known in Japan as Same! Same! Same! (鮫!鮫!鮫!, lit. "Shark! Shark! Shark!"), is a 1989 Shoot 'Em Up arcade game developed and published by Toaplan and considered the sequel to their earlier arcade title Sky Shark / Flying Shark. The player controls a biplane and builds up a score by shooting a variety of military targets.

In the year 19X9, on an alternate Earth, a global super-power known as the S Corps, which specializes in a heavy industrial army, begins invading various countries. All seems lost when a phantom pilot flying a super-powered biplane called the Tiger Shark flies in to save the world from domination.

Fire Shark shares quite a few similarities to Raiden, though it came out one year earlier. It's been suggested that this inspired Raiden.

The original version of the game only allows one player at a time, with 2-player mode being the taking-turns style of multiplayer. The international Fire Shark version of the game introduces simultaneous 2-player play and removes the checkpoint system, respawning the player in place even in a 1-player game. This version of the game would then serve as the basis for what is called the "2P" build of Same! Same! Same!, which has further balancing changes to reduce the difficulty.

A Sega Genesis port was developed in-house by Toaplan themselves and released in 1990 in the U.S. andJapan and 1991 in Europe. A Sharp X68000 version was developed but then cancelled.

In 2022, M2 released Hishou Same! Same! Same! for Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4. It is a Compilation Rerelease of Fire Shark and Sky Shark, as part of the Toaplan Arcade Garage series, itself part of the M2 ShotTriggers lineup. It includes the arcade versions of both games, including their regional variants and the "2P" build of Same! Same! Same as part of the base digital version; the DLC includes the NES version of Sky Sharknote , the NA Genesis and JP Mega Drive versions of Fire Shark, and Wardner as the bonus non-shmup game in its arcade and Famicom Disk System forms. Those who purchase the physical edition get all of those titles; for those who buy the digital versions, the base game comes with the arcade versions of Sky Shark and Fire Shark, with the rest of the titles as paid DLC. In addition, purchase of the game also comes with a complimentary download of Teki Paki.

Fire Shark is also available as part of Sega's Astro City V microconsole, which was released in July 2022.

Tropes used for this game:

  • 1-Up:
    • By default, you get one at 70,000 points then every 200,000 points.
    • In certain stages, bomber-time enemies will rush down in groups and if you destroy one with your plane in the correct horizontal position (which is not shown except in an optional Hishou Same!! gadget), you will get a 1-up token.
    • Stage 5 has a 2-up token if certain conditions are met.
    • Once the first loop is completed, all sourced of extra lives are turned off for the rest of the game.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Normally, rapid-tapping the shot button while using the flamethrower is a bad idea, as unlike the other two weapons, the flamethrower fires continously when the button is held down and it takes about a second after the initial press for the flames to reach full length; thus, rapid-tapping the fire button when using the flamethrower results in something comparable to a candle flame. However, in the Sega Genesis port, if the Rapid Fire toggle is on, rapid fire will be suppressed when using the flamethrower. The same applies when playing the arcade version in the Hishou Same! Same! Same! Compilation Rerelease, but only for the "30 Hz syncro" button; when using the other rapid-fire buttons, rapid fire will not be suppressed.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The green helix shot does a lot of concentrated damage...but with no spread unlike the blue Spread Shot or a level 3-4 red flamethrower, collecting it is deadly in a game where killing enemies ASAP lest they pelt you with lightning-speed bullets is important.
  • Battleship Raid: Present in this game. You get to fight regular battleships as well as boss fights like these.
  • Boring, but Practical: The Blue Spread weapon. It may not be as awesome as the flamethrower and can't attack backwards, but it can perform very well against popcorn mooks and certain larger ones. What makes it practical is that it's the most commonly-dropped weapon out of the three. Given that this game loves to flood the screen with enemies that fire lightning fast bullets if you let them live for more than a second, screen coverage is absolutely imperative and you do not want to lose the blue weapon. Even at the lowest shot level, it still shoots two shots off to the side, which is more generous than most Toaplan games.
  • Continuing is Painful: Everytime you die in the original "1P" build of the arcade game or the Genesis version, you're sent back to a checkpoint area. IN all versions, you also lose all your shot and speed upgrades.
  • Controllable Helplessness: In the original "1P" version of the game and the Genesis port, when you get hit your wings catch fire and while you have a moment to move your ship, nothing you do will prevent your subsequent combustion.
  • Difficulty by Region: The original Japanese version makes you respawn at a checkpoint when dying and only allows one player at a time. A "2P" build of the game was later released that greatly reduces enemy aggressivity and bullet speed (especially when played from the 2nd player's side) and allows two simultaneous players and respawns you where you died; this build is the foundation for the only international build of the game. The international release makes the additional tweak of removing screen-panning, meaning players are less liable to get cheap-shotted by enemies coming from the sides of the screen.
  • Dual Boss: The first boss pits you against two tanks, another boss pits you against three land vehicle things, and yet another boss pits you against three durable planes.
  • Dynamic Difficulty: And how- if you survive for long enough, the game makes all the enemies bullets a lot faster. And the tanks become sniper tanks like that of Raiden...
  • Engrish: When beating the game on hard mode: "CONGRATULATIONS! YOU'RE GREATEST PLAYER !"
  • Every 10,000 Points: By default, you get an extra life at 70,000 points and every 200,000 points...but only in the first loop. Upon completing the first loop, point-based extra lives are disabled until the game ends.
  • Everything Is Even Worse With Sharks: Inverted, you're the "Fire Shark" and you kill stuff with your godly flamethrowers! Played straight from the enemy's point of view.
  • Fire-Breathing Weapon: The Flamethrower weapon, enough said.
  • Flunky Boss: Almost all the bosses are accompanied with basic run-of-the-mill Mooks. Unfortunately, that also includes Tanks and Gunboats...
  • Giant Mook: The large tanks and planes that you have to fight. Funnily enough, many of the large aircraft can take much more damage than many of the large land vehicles.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Tanks, when the Dynamic Difficulty gets turned up. The fact that their shots get faster too doesn't help one bit.
  • Mutually Exclusive Power-Ups: The three weapon powerups. Really annoying when the enemies start dropping green powerups everywhere, when all you really want is to keep your flamethrower or Spread Shot...
  • Nintendo Hard: The game is already this by nature of being an arcade shooter, but it soon quickly turns sadistic with how often enemies flood the screen and their absurdly fast bullets even on the first loop. Add in a power-up system that requires three P items to level up, a slow initial plane speed, and the inability of certain weapons to effectively cover the screen, and you've got what is frankly one of the hardest shmups in existence, with not even most modern Bullet Hell games matching it in terms of utter difficulty. Toaplan would later make a "2P" variant, which serves as an alternate build in Japan and the only release of the game in the US, with lowered enemy difficulty and the checkpoint system removed, but it's still not easy. It's rather telling that in the Genesis version, despite its Normal difficulty being tuned to be easier than arcade, the game still defaults to Easy difficulty.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Your plane is downed in one hit.
  • Playing with Fire: The flamethrower (red) weapon. 6 streams of deadly fire that sweep the area, which would make the game a cake-walk if not for the Dynamic Difficulty.
  • Power Up Letdown: While the red flamethrower is quite powerful and what gives the international version its name and the blue Spread Shot is a more common and more Boring, but Practical weapon, the green forward-firing helix vulcan is to be avoided, as the snipe-based nature of the enemies mandates a weapon with excellent crowd control. Depending on the situation, green items can veer into Poison Mushroom territory outright.
  • Prolonged Video Game Sequel: Sky Shark is 15-20 minutes long (depending on how many times the player has to respawn back at a checkpoint) and spans about five stages. This game on the other hand can take at least 40 minutes to clear its 10 stages.
  • Rule of Three: You're given three lives to start, you get 3 bombs per life, there are three different weapons, and you need to collect three power up icons to get an upgrade in your weapon.
  • Smart Bomb: Present in the game, and looks very similar to the bomb weapon in Raiden.
  • Spread Shot: The blue weapon. VERY similar to the red weapon in Raiden, it shoots a huge amount of shots in a spread (a 15-way spread, in fact), when fully powered up. However, each shot is quite weak.
  • Suspicious Videogame Generosity: At the end of stage 10, you see three power-up carrying blimps. I wonder why...?
  • Tank Goodness: Many of the regular Mooks, as well as some bosses.
  • Video Game Flamethrowers Suck: The flamethrower started out as a small stream of flame that did good damage, and them proceeded into this at maximum level. 6 streams of fire, four of which sweep the sides and back of the player character. And it downs both the regular Mooks and Giant Mooks in seconds.
  • Wolfpack Boss: The city boss, with three large planes, and the snowfield boss, with three land vehicle things. If you don't kill the previous one in time, you'll be assaulted by 2-3 of them!

Alternative Title(s): Same Same Same