Taito blaster Halley’s Comet is the newest Arcade Archives release

More old-school shmup action from Hamster

This week’s offering from Hamster’s Arcade Archive range is another forgotten shmup for days of yore. Now available on PS4 and Nintendo Switch, it’s Taito classic Halley’s Comet.

Released in arcades in 1986, Halley’s Comet is a surprisingly smooth vertically scrolling shmup where players must first defend Earth – and then other planets in the solar system – from both invading alien forces and the titular comet, which is on some bizarre collision course whereby it can apparently hit every single planet in the galaxy.

Check out the action in the video below, courtesy of YouTuber SidMania.

Halley’s Comet’s unique mechanics means each shot or enemy that gets past the player’s ship will collide with the planet’s surface, causing damage. Game Over occurs once the damage level hits 100%. Thus it is up to our little vessel to ensure that as few enemies as possible slip by. Staying out of harm’s way is not an option, the player must actively engage as many enemies as possible. Power-ups such as Triple Shot and Spread Shot will help the player clear the path of the oncoming invaders.

With smooth scrolling, varied enemies, tuneful music, and slick visual effects, Halley’s Comet is one of the better entries in the early years of the shmup genre, and is still good fun today. This is unsurprising, given that Bubble Bobble creator Fukio Mitsuji was in the designer’s chair. A reworked version of the title – known as Halley Wars – would eventually see release on both the Famicom and the Sega Game Gear.

Halley’s Comet is available to download now on PS4 and Nintendo Switch, priced at around $8.

Chris Moyse
Senior Editor - Chris has been playing video games since the 1980s. Former Saturday Night Slam Master. Graduated from Galaxy High with honors.