Hellfire is a horizontal shooter originally released in the arcades by Toaplan in 1989. Although it is a fairly basic shooter, it innovated with its multi-directional shooting, and became one of the top shooters on the system.

At the time, the Mega Drive/Genesis was the ideal platform for a port which was done by National Console Support (NCS) and it was one of the few budget games for the system meaning many were able to enjoy and frequently give very high review scores. Copies of the game can still be obtained fairly easily.

There have been no sequels but the company continued to release similar shooters for the system such as Zero Wing and Truxton.

Hellfire European Case
Hellfire European Case

"Our galaxy is being devoured by a Super Mech, an evil robot force! And only you can save us! Command the ultimate weapon, HELLFIRE through six levels of fast action and loads of deadly enemies. You must survive - we're counting on you!"


Peace has embraced our galaxy for over 1,000 years. Now in the year 2998, we have found ourselves at war with a deadly force!

Stars at the galaxy's edge have begun to disappear, being replaced with an enormous dark cloud. With no military technology for defence, our Galactic Federation watches helplessly as the ominous Black Nebula attacks the Sister Star System, and captures all six of her planets!

The Black Nebula fiercely invades with thunderous artillery strikes, and seizes our only weapons power unit, leaving the entire star system close to annihilation! The deadly Super Mech, a force from the darkest regions of space, is controlling the evil behind the rapidly growing Black Nebula.

Close to permanent destruction, our Federation has lost all hope...then suddenly, a man rose to our rescue! Lancer, captain of the aircraft carrier Sylphide, realises that planning a frontal attack against the Super Mech to retrieve our power unit is useless; a surprise attack has got to happen...but how?

Lancer must crash through the enemy's destructive force. Our only hope is one weapon Super Mech isn't counting on - "HELLFIRE". Lancer is now boarding the powerful CNCS1 Fighter, loaded with the ultimate weapon, "HELLFIRE", and he's headed for the dark side...

Can Lancer recapture our power unit and defeat the enemy? We are all in the hands of "HELLFIRE!".

You must help Lancer command HELLFIRE through 6 levels of fast action and loads of deadly enemies! But don't think you can get out alive with blinding firepower alone - you'll need to utilise your four weapons with strategy and great prowess or Super Mech will eliminate you!

Escape from death is nearly impossible - but you must survive to save our galaxy!

Taken from European Manual


Hellfire sports good old ripe gameplay which is typical of the genre. The game begins when you are dropped from the launch bay of the Sylphide. Enemies immediately attack. Action will take place as the game auto-scrolls from left to right at a fairly slow pace. There will be sections where the game scrolls downwards and speed is increased.

The ship is armed with two weapon systems. One is a versatile system that can shoot in four selectable directions and the other is the super Hellfire weapon. It is very much a case of knowing which configuration works well at certain times adding an extra depth to otherwise plain shooting forward.

alt : Cannot see the video?

Video is shamelessly embedded from Youtube. All credit to the video owner. No infringement intended.

Forward/Straight ahead
Above and Below - 2-directional shots
Corners - 4-directional shots diagonally

Each direction will have a different colour beam and the strength of the weapon can be upgraded with Power-Ups.

Hellfire's are massive releases of energy that does immense damage to anything in its path. It will also eradicate any incoming fire. Beware, these last less than 1 second.

The ship will be destroyed by taking a shot from an enemy, colliding with an enemy or the background/landscape.

Enemies will range from small fighter craft that can be shot down easily to much more tougher larger cruisers; though this will depend on the strength of your weapon. There will be sections of the landscape that can be destroyed for a few extra points and a few obstacles such as rapidly moving machinery.

Each round will have intermediate bosses and a boss at the end. Bosses will have turrets and other parts that can be destroyed but their main weak point is signified by a red orb of sorts. Targeting them can sometimes be tricky due to shielding/protection.

Graphics and sound are typical for an early 16-Bit game. It is a fair challenge and will take about 90 minutes to complete fully but because the game repeats it can get a tad boring for that amount of time. The difficulty is judging where the attacks come from which after a few attempts it becomes fairly easy.

The D-Pad will move the ship about the screen. Initially speed will be slow but this can be improved by collecting Power-Ups.

Button A is fire. Weapons can be upgraded by collecting Power-Ups.
Button B is to switch the mode of fire. There are four modes to cycle through.
Button C is to launch a Hellfire. You begin the game with two shots. More can be collected.

Start pauses the game.

Across the top of the screen will be an ever present status bar. It will display the following vitals:

1-UP/Easy/Hard - Player and current difficulty level. This can be changed from the options screen.

Ship Icon - lives remaining.

Hellfire's - How many Hellfire shots you can use.

Round and Stage - The current round and stage. The game is made of three rounds of 6 stages. After completing stage six for the first time the game resets to stage one and repeats. This is round two but will be more difficult. Incoming fire will be much faster. The ending will be shown after completing Stage 6 on Round 3.

Top Score - the current top score and the difficulty level it was achieved on.




These special items can be left behind when destroying larger enemies or some sort of container object. Thankfully these are quite abundant.

P - When collecting a power-up unit the main weapon will be upgraded. When starting, the ship is equipped with single shots. Collecting P's will give: missiles, twin laser, super twin laser, triple laser and super triple laser. Your ship will physically change appearance as power-ups are collected.

B - Bonus points. The first one collected will be worth 40 which then doubles for each subsequent one until reaching 10,000. This resets if your ship destroyed.

Shield - Glowing armour that will protect against 1 hit.

Seeker - Your best friend. A small bot around that heads out for search and destroy fun. It can absorb some incoming fire but do not rely on this as its movements can be somewhat random.

Hellfire - Provides one more blast.

S - Speed up. Upon collecting many of these the speed the ship can move around could be tricky.

1-UP - Extra life.

When your ship is destroyed you will return on screen with your speed and weapons reset. This could be a disaster on a later round with such powerful enemies but since power-ups are quite frequent upgrading is usually quick.

You can earn an extra life for 70,000 points and for intervals after that.

At game over you have a choice to continue. Upon using a continue you will return to the start of the stage. For easy mode you have 20 continues, for hard you have 10.


There are a few basic options to tweak the gameplay.

Level - Select between easy or hard where projectiles move much faster.

Player - Select between 1 and 4 lives to start the game with.

Sound Test - Listen to the games music and SFX. Press A or C to start and B to end.

Rapid Fire - Toggle rapid fire on or off. On is recommended.


Each stage takes place on one of the enslaved 6 planets.

Hellfire Screenshots (Mega Drive)
Hellfire Base 1 Hellfire Base 1
Hellfire Base 1 Hellfire Base 1 Boss

Base 1: Hoggr, the Frozen Star

Hellfire Base 2 Hellfire Base 2
Hellfire Base 2 Hellfire Base 2 Boss

Base 2: Qat, the Desert

Hellfire Base 3 Hellfire Base 3
Hellfire Base 3 Hellfire Base 3 Boss

Base 3: Syrinx, the Tropics

Hellfire Base 4 Hellfire Base 4
Hellfire Base 4 Hellfire Base 4 Boss

Base 4: Lodur, the Forest

Hellfire Base 5 Hellfire Base 5
Hellfire Base 5 Hellfire Base 5 Boss

Base 5: Urd, the Factory

Hellfire Base 6 Hellfire Base 6
Hellfire Base 6 Hellfire Base 6 Boss

Base 6: Pholus, the Giant



Graphically the game is slightly better but the main difference is the 2-Player co-op (a single player version exists) ability something that would have made the Mega Drive/Genesis version really great.

For those wishing to sample, it is playable with the latest version of MAME.

Hellfire (Arcade)
Hellfire (Arcade) Hellfire (Arcade)

Some more info can be found on this page http://www.arcade-museum.com/game_detail.php?game_id=8103

PC Engine

Hellfire S

A much upgraded version was ported by NEC and released on the PC Engine in 1991 entitled "Hellfire S". This release came on CDROM and had animated sequences and included the 2 Player co-op mode.

The graphics are equally as good as the arcade but slightly different at the same time.

An in-depth comparison of the two versions can be found at: http://gameswastetime.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/hellfire-vs-hellfire-s-comparison.html

It can still be found at collectors shops and is not particularly expensive.

Hellfire S
Hellfire S Hellfire S


Perfect! Play this with KEGA Fusion, Gens and Gens32 Emulators. You can download these from the SEGA Mega Drive/Genesis Emulators page.



Review at Mean Machine Mags

A review from back in the day. Available for download too.


PC Port

There has been a port to the PC for Windows which is now available for free. You can download this at many shareware websites.


Mega Drive/Genesis SEGA!

SEGA Mega Drive/Genesis Feature

Back to SEGA Main Index

Top of Page Sitemap Homepage

Return to Homepage

Return to Sitemap

Return to Top of Page

Valid XHTML 1.1