Yo, I don’t know what all those birds are about
Hamster is still feeling that old-school Namco love, with this week’s release a forgotten example from the studio that would eventually bring us Ridge Racer, Tekken, and Soulcalibur. It’s the Arcade Archives version of Sky Kid, on PS4 and Nintendo Switch.
Released to arcades in 1985, before later getting ported to the NES by Sunsoft, Sky Kid is a very basic and rudimentary shmup title, that sees unlicensed takes on World War I figures “The Red Baron” and “The Blue Max”, shooting down enemy planes while bombing a variety of mission-based objectives. The player can also perform an aerobatic loop-de-loop in order to get out of a jam or impress a gaggle of girls (no, really). After bombing the requisite target and securing a safe landing, the player moves on to the next mission.
As you can see from the video below, (courtesy of YouTuber Jack Plays), Sky Kid is very formative shmup stuff. Slightly unnerving is the game’s penchant for horizontally scrolling from right to left, as opposed to the left-to-right that would become the genre standard in the ensuing years. Namco would follow this release with the updated Sky Kid Deluxe in 1986, which utilized Namco’s new System 86 hardware to offer improved visuals, more frantic action, and slicker sound.