Less of a feature, more of a survey
I've been racking my brains for most of this afternoon, because it's too humid to do anything that involves physical movement. I've drawn a blank, so I figured I may as well ask the millions of readers of WoSland for help.
Can anyone think of a single really good shmup in the entire history of gaming that's ever been created by an English-speaking developer?
For the avoidance of doubt, I'm talking about shmups in the most traditional sense – horizontal or vertical forced scrollers, none of your arena-based affairs. I mean your classic arcade titles in the mould of Flying Shark and Scramble, that kind of thing.
I've got nothing. Every single great shmup I've been able to think of was made in Japan. The only thing that even got a bit close was Defender, from all the way back in 1980, but with its free movement that doesn't really fit the genre. It's really an arena shooter, just with restricted firing directions.
All the big-name series, certainly, come from Japan. Gradius/Nemesis/Salamander/Parodius? Japanese. R-Type? Japanese. Raiden? Japanese. Giga Wing, Shikigami, Psyvariar, Darius, 194X, Strikers 1945 – all Japanese. Everything by Cave/Raizing/Eighting, obviously.
And no matter how far back I went, and even if I picked out single games that weren't part of a long line, the story was the same. Radiant Silvergun and Ikaruga, from Treasure? As Japanese as it gets. Twin Cobra, from 1987? Japanese (Toaplan). Tiger Heli, 1985? Japanese (Taito). Vanguard, 1981? Japanese (SNK). And so on, seemingly for all eternity.
I've given up for now. I don't know why people whose first language is English – a designation encompassing hundreds of millions of the world's population – would be somehow genetically or culturally unable to craft a successful and popular scrolling shoot-'em-up, especially with three decades of tried-and-tested examples to draw on. But it seems they can't.
The best I could come up with in an afternoon, even with my legendarily encyclopaedic gaming knowledge, was Banshee for the CD32, which isn't all that good. (And turned out to be Danish anyway – see below. Even extending the criteria to the entire Western hemisphere only brought me that and Apidya for the Amiga, both from 20 years ago.) Can you set me right? Anyone?
The first person to say "Xenon 2" gets a lifetime IP ban.