Image Fight is a 1988 vertically-scrolling shoot 'em up arcade game developed and published by Irem. The arcade game was also ported for the Nintendo Entertainment System, TurboGrafx-16 , Sharp X68000 and FM Towns in 1990.
The following is taken directly from the NES instruction manual:
On a fateful day in 20XX, the Earth's moon exploded into four large fragments and a multitude of meteors. Aliens from afar had succeeded in destroying the West's moon base. One after another, mankind's other military industrial space complexes were being lost. What mankind dreaded had come to pass. Scores of unidentified fighters were in the area. In addition, the moon's main computer, still intact after the explosion, had a strange vegetation coiled around it. Their trademark evil exploits being a dead giveaway, invaders from the Boondoggle Galaxy had arrived to take over the Earth. To counter these evil forces, leading scientists from all over the globe created the "OF-1" Fightership. Combat pilots depart the Earth to fend off the invaders and earn everlasting glory.
GameplayImage Fight was released one year after Irem's successful horizontal scroller, R-Type, and, although not directly related, the two games have some similarities.
The player ship is the OF-1 Daedalus. However, the term OF-1 does appear in the NES version's instruction manual, as well as in the official artwork for the sequel, Image Fight II. The game appears to be set inside a holographic simulator, like the holodeck on Star Trek: The Next Generation. In the NES version of the game, the first 5 missions are called "Combat Simulation Stages" and the last 3 missions are called "Real Combat Stages".
"I Discovered the malfunction of the moon's base defense system, it was caused by a weird plant from another planet, which took root in the central computer, controlling the system and deranged it.
I inmediately attacked and destroyed the target"
- OF-1 Pilot
The defining feature of Image Fight is the Pod - a small, coloured sphere with two short gun barrels attached to it. The Pod, once collected, floats alongside the player's ship.
There are two different kinds of Pod:
- Red Pod - The Red Pod changes direction based on the movement of the ship, and can therefore be aimed at enemies. This can be very useful, as enemies can and do attack from any direction.
- Blue Pod - The Blue Pod is similar to the Red Pod, except it always points forward and the direction cannot be changed. This makes it more powerful in direct confrontations, but less versatile.
The ship can support up to three Pods. The first two Pods collected will take up positions on the left and right sides of the ship; the third Pod hovers behind it.
The Pod Shot is a special attack in which the side Pods are launched forward at high speed, before circling back and returning to the ship. This enables them to be used as projectiles themselves, and thrown at enemies ahead. This attack can be performed with either one or two side Pods - the rear Pod, if present, does not participate.
The ship has four different levels of speed that the player can switch between, to allow for more precise manoeuvering in confined spaces. The structure of the ship transforms during a speed change, the wings angling down and back at higher speeds.
The ship's thrusters exhaust a large blue flame whenever the ship changes speed; this can be used as a weapon to damage or destroy enemies.
The player can acquire various butterfly-shaped devices that attach to the front of the ship. These are very similar in function to the Force in R-Type - they turn the pilot's blaster into a powerful laser weapon. They can also act as a weak shield, protecting the ship from impact; this destroys them but leaves the ship intact. Unlike the Force in R-Type, they cannot be ejected from the ship - the only way to remove them, in fact, is to have them destroyed. The ship cannot pick up a new device if one is already attached. There are a number of different kinds, each of which provides a different weapon. The weapon names are taken from R-Type Final. R-Type Final implies that these devices are in fact early versions of what it calls the OF Force, but this may be retroactive continuity.
Simulation Stage 1: Volcanic Island
Simulation Stage 2: Flight over the City
Simulation Stage 3: Fortress
Simulation Stage 4: Factory
Simulation Stage 5: Organic Zone
Real Area 1: Frontline
Real Area 2: Quiet Crisis
Real Area 3: Moon Base
The arcade game was followed by Image Fight II: Operation Deepstriker, a sequel for the PC Engine Super CD-ROM in 1992 exclusively in Japan. Like the TurboGrafx-16 version of the first Image Fight, Image Fight II was re-released for the Virtual Console only in Japan.
Relation to R-Type series
- The ship from this game is included in R-Type Final, where it is the first in a series of five fighters called the OF series. The Pods are also available on fighters of the OF series.
- The concept of speed control would replace Speed Up items in later R-Type missions, starting with R-Type Delta.
- This game introduced new enemies to the R-Type series, such as Photon Dorney.
- The Cyber Connector interface has been used in other R-craft, such as R-13A Cerberus and R-9W Wise Man.
- The boss of simulation stage 3 and the stage itself appears as the real counterpart in mission 16 of R-Type Tactics II: Operation Bitter Chocolate. Players will start at the half-way point of the original stage and also face the same enemies present in Image Fight.