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Video Game / Sky Shark

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Hishouzame (飛翔鮫), translated and localized as Sky Shark in the US and Flying Shark in the rest of the non-Japan world, is a Vertical Scrolling Shooter for arcades developed by Toaplan. It was published by Taito in Japan, Romstar in the US, and Electrocoin in Europe, and released in 1987.

It received a number of ports:

  • Commodore 64 (1987)
  • ZX Spectrum (1988)
  • Amiga (1988)
  • Amstrad CPC (1988)
  • Atari ST (1988)
  • Nintendo Entertainment System (1988, US only) by Software Creations — Notable for featuring a new soundtrack by Tim Follin.
  • MS-DOS (1989)
  • Sharp X68000 (1991, Japan only)
  • FM Towns (1993, Japan only)
  • Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 (2022, Japan only), by M2 — As part of Hishou Same! Same! Same!, which serves as volume 2 of the Toaplan Arcade Garage series of Compilation Rereleases, itself a subsidiary of the M2 ShotTriggers label. In addition to including all three regional variants of the arcade version and the NES version (making it the first time the NES port was released in Japan), it also includes Fire Shark's three different arcade versions (1P Japan, 2P Japan, and US) and Genesis/Megadrive versions and Wardner's three different arcade versions and Famicom Disk System version.

A sequel to the game, Fire Shark, was released in 1989.

Sky Shark features examples of the following:

  • All the Worlds Are a Stage: Stage 5 features the environments of Stages 1-4 in reverse order: train depot (Stage 4), wharf and rivers (Stage 3), desert bunkers (Stage 2), and jungle (Stage 1).
  • Alliterative Title: The US-region name, Sky Shark.
  • 1-Up: You get an extra life at fixed point thresholds. Additionally, up to twice per game, a formation of silver planes will randomly show up in place of a red power-up formation or yellow bonus points formation; destroying all of these planes will drop a 1-up item.
  • Easier Than Easy: The Hishou Same! compilation features Super Easy mode, which at first glance does seem to be what it says: a low-difficulty version of the game that also has an auto-bomb feature not found in the original. However, this can get zigzagged should the player start hoarding bombs, as the bullet speeds will increase, as will the difficulty counter. Once the difficulty counter reaches the maximum of 15, the player will start earning points per frame, however getting hit or bombing will lower the difficulty back down. The game ends after only one loop, but the player is awarded 500,000 points for every remaining life.
  • Endless Game: After completing stage 5, the game doesn't end, it just loops back to stage 2 and continues to repeat indefinitely until the player runs out of lives. Super Easy in the Hishou Same! version averts this, ending after one loop and awarding the player a huge bonus based on their remaining lives. The Custom Mode can be set to be endless or one loop only, with the same remaining-lives bonus if set to the latter.
  • Missing Secret: In Stage 5 near the end, the area numbernote  jumps from 99 to 117 (+100 for every loop); areas 100-116 seem to be inexplicably missing. This is because Stage 1 does not exist on any loop after the first (if it did, it would be represented as areas 101-117), so the game jumps the area number up so that each loop appears to have 100 areas, thus making it easier to discern what loop each high score entry got to (e.g. if a score entry shows the final area as 450, that means the player made it to the fifth loop).
  • Power-Up: Occasionally, a formation of six red fighters will show up; destroying the whole formation will drop an "S" powerup that increases the quantity and spread of the player's shots.
  • Smart Bomb: Press the bomb button to fire a bomb that inflicts huge damage and cancels bullets within a set radius. Note that unlike more modern examples of this trope, the bomb does not grant invincibility frames. At the end of each stage, you are awarded 3,000 points for each remaining bomb and your bomb stock is set back to 3 (same as when respawning after death). The NES version's bomb additionally cancels all bullets on the screen when firing it. In the Hishou Same! version's Super Easy mode, if you are hit with bombs in stock, one will automatically be deployed to protect you, but this will reduce the Dynamic Difficulty (meaning your max rank point generation will end if you were under its effect).
  • Zerg Rush: In Stage 5, more specifically Area 99 of the game and after defeating the boss, the game makes one final attempt on the player with a huge wave of enemy fighters and tanks.

Alternative Title(s): Flying Shark, Hishouzame