Terra Cresta, or The Cresta Series is a series of Shoot 'em ups by Nichibutsu, that started with Moon Cresta in 1980.
In each game, you pilot a different ship. The main thing each ship has in common is access to various power-ups that increase your firepower, but often render you more vulnerable due to the increase in the size of your ship's hitbox, and getting hit will cause you to lose all upgrades and revert back to the basic ship. The drawback here is that Power-ups have to be acquired in a certain order, which can make things a little frustrating for some.
This series provides examples of:
- Bug War: The third and fourth wave of enemies in Moon Cresta consist of "Super Flies," and the fifth and sixth wave of enemies (called "Four-D's") look a lot like giant mosquitoes.
- Combining Mecha: A Combining spaceship. Your power-ups are additional pieces of your ship, more often than not.
- Endless Game: Moon Cresta and Terra Cresta
- Flaming Meteor: The seventh and eighth waves in Moon Cresta. They may not be exactly flaming, but they most certainly are meteors.
- Giant Eye of Doom: The first two waves in Moon Cresta feature four floating eyes, each one larger than the initial spaceship. Shooting them once only makes them angry...
- Mission-Pack Sequel: Moon Quasar, which is just Moon Cresta, but with an additional game start jingle before the one from the previous game, but more importantly, a fuel counter, and the player has to refuel every so often.
- Nintendo Hard: As is many shmups of the time. You start with a weak ship that carries a peashooter as its only means of attack, enemies like to attack from difficult angles, and while that five-form ship that turns into a phoenix is cool, it takes only one hit to get reverted back to the basic ship.
- Shave and a Haircut: You'll hear this in Moon Cresta as part of a derisive tune that plays if you botch docking your ships correctly.
- Spiritual Sequel: Dangar UFO Robo. They both are by Nichibutsu, run on the same hardware, have the same art style, and involve modular protagonists.
- Unstable Equilibrium: The Power-up system is a bit unforgiving. Stay alive and you'll keep collecting parts to power up your ship and reach phoenix form, easily tearing enemies a new one. Keep getting hit and your game will be over quickly due to being stuck with the basic ship.