Sometimes one wonders how many interesting but never released games might lie dormant somewhere deep in the archives of still active or long-closed development studios. For the PC engine community, that was shoot ’em up Dinoforce such a case for a long time. In 1991, publisher Unipost presented the HuCard game in the Japanese magazine PC Engine Gekkan, but then completely disappeared from the radar. Rumors of an unfinished ROM kept circulating, and finally, with the help of French collector Alex Seimando and original programmer Tokuhisa Tajima, a semi-finished ROM was unearthed. Together with other international PC engine experts, bugs and glitches were eliminated and the then unfinished version was properly balanced. Result: Since November 26, 2022 is Dinoforce actually playable and available: If you just want to play the ROM via an emulator, FPGA hardware or an Everdrive, you can download it for free from dinoforce.pceworks.net. On the other hand, if you are looking for a real HuCard with all the trimmings for your original hardware, you can also pre-order there for the end of December – but be careful, the edition is limited!
But Dinoforce is not only a historical curiosity, but above all very decent horizontal action with a few exciting ideas. The colorful standard shot is not only interesting to look at, the color also provides information about the penetrating power: in the blue or green area, the opponent only suffers minor damage. On the other hand, if you let the enemy get so close that you hit them with the red part, it really hurts. If you take your finger off the fire button, you can also damage the opponent with your ship’s drive and your sidekicks. You can also pick up some extra weapons: Hold down the second button and you can select the gun from the special bar without any pressure or hassle. Of course, big bosses shouldn’t be missing either – just as it should be for a shmup from the early 1990s.
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