Tiger-Heli is the one of the very first games by the Japanese developer Toaplan, and was originally a 1985 arcade game, which later received a very successful NES port. It's a classic Vertical Scrolling Shooter, in which you control a small attack helicopter across the four huge rolling stages full of enemies and other stuff to blow up. It was arguably the first ever title to bring the "smart bomb" into the world of shmups, as any of the heli's two bombs destroyed all enemies and their bullets on the screen. It also featured side- or forward-shooting Attack Drone helicopters, similar to last year's 1942.
As one of the first vertical scrollers, Tiger-Heli is somewhat short, but it still contains many of the elements of later Toaplan titles. Stages are big and detailed, and enemies are numerous and well-placed It was popular enough to warrant a Spiritual Sequel of sorts, Twin Cobra.
Tiger-Heli provides examples of:
- Attack Drone: Unlike 1942, these actually shoot with you! Shoot white or red crosses to make the resulting mini-heli fire either forward or sideways. Like 1942, they can be shot down; unlike 1942, letting them live gives you points.
- Bottomless Magazines: Your main weapon. Bombs, on the other hand, not so much. You can get bombs back by shooting the green crosses.
- Checkpoint: Helipads at the start and the end of each stage. They recharge your life as well.
- Endless Game: Really endless, and not in the procedurally generated River Raid style. Here it's just Stages 2-4 repeating over and over again, with ever-increasing difficulty.
- Every Eighty Thousand Points you get a new life. You can also get lives by shooting ten gold diamonds.
- No Plot? No Problem!: As with most of the genre.
- One-Hit Point Wonder: You and the most enemies.
- Scoring Points: Basically your only goal.
- Smart Bomb: Press button 2 to destroy anything in a sizable circle around you. Interestingly, if you're hit from certain angles and have a bomb on that side of the heli, the bomb will go off. Carrying these to the end of stages also gives you points.