June 17, 2024

This groundbreaking shmup was pushing PC hardware to the limit back in 1989

Pasokon Retro is our regular look back at the early years of Japanese PC gaming, encompassing everything from specialist 80’s computers to the happy days of Windows XP.

Knight Arms box art

Developer: Arsys Software Released: 1996 Japanese PC: Sharp X68000 (Image credit: Arsys Software)

Knight Arms’s first stage begins with a mech blasting through the starry infinite, the flecks of space dust that whiz by helping convey a palpable sense of speed and direction as mechanical enemies fly in from all sides. Literally—a dramatic “WATCH YOUR BACK” message appears in the centre of the screen during deceptive lulls in the action, an unsubtle reminder that it’s time to unleash one of this Sharp X68000 game’s most impressive features: the ability to turn around.