Truxton (Tatsujin)

Truxton also known as Tatsujin in Japan is a vertical shooter from Toaplan originally released in the arcades in 1988 and is one of several shooters from that company to be ported to the Mega Drive/Genesis in the systems early days.

Sporting a slightly gothic theme in its graphics with gameplay similar to the likes of Raiden, it was released in Europe (as a budget title) and Japan so finding a copy of the game should be fairly easy.

Graphics are fairly basic and typical of the era (it was an early Mega Drive title) but a faithful a very recreation of the arcade version nonetheless with no slowdown when the game gets busy. Sound and music are pretty dire but luckily the gameplay makes it a pleasant with the volume down. Gameplay is where it really counts and this earned the game fairly high review scores for its basic approach. There are some very tricky spots which could take all your lives in an otherwise great playthrough but otherwise it's not that difficult.

Aside from the original arcade version, there was also a port to the PC Engine. A sequel was produced in 1992 for the arcades but was only ported to the FM Towns.

Truxton (Tatsujin) European Case
Truxton (Tatsujin) European Case

"Power on! All systems go! Takeoff! Meet the alien attack head-on in Super Fighter! Before the Gidans overrun your planet, destroy them in an explosive scramble in space! You are the one pilot alive with the guts to do it! And save the planet!"


You are Tom the Bomb! As a fearless ace pilot, you are assigned to fly the Super Fighter against the Gidans. You take off for the far reaches of space. Whatever you find out there is yours to destroy!

Taken from European Manual


As one of the few games of this type on the system, it’s a rather tame example of the genre therefore it became a casual blaster for those who never really played them. Like all good shooters you simply destroy anything that appears on screen and especially if it is shooting at your ship.

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The screen can feel awkward at first. The left and right sides extend slightly more than what is visible on the screen when the ship moves to these edges. The top also feels somewhat cropped. This is in order to fit the game roughly with the arcade version but the problem is it can result in being killed frequently as the ship flies over a turret firing, or missing valuable power-ups.

Manoeuvrability at the start is pretty crap and will need a slight getting used to. Whilst the screen scrolls upwards at a fairly slow pace, the intensity of the action varies even on normal mode. Gidian enemies will attack from all directions. They will vary in size with some needing plenty of punishment before exploding. Beware: Some will scatter harmful bullets upon destruction or they can be very small and will dart right towards the ship.

Some incoming fire can be destroyed with your weapons with some types making a sound as its fired towards your ship whereas the majority will be silent and varying in speed. Other dangers will be asteroid fields needing some tricky manoeuvrability and having decent weapons spread will be a big help.

When starting a game, there is the option to select a difficulty between Easy, Normal and Hard, and that is the only options available for gameplay.

Controls are very easy to pick up.

The D-Pad moves the ship about the screen in all directions.

Button A fires a single shot.

Button B deploys a Truxton Bomb.

Button C is for rapid fire.

START pauses the game. This also has the effect of resetting the tune that is playing.

On screen action will take place in the three-quarters on the left whilst a quarter to the right will be a status column. It will display the following:


Score – current score.

Difficulty level – this is only displayed in easy or hard setting.

Round – The current round.

Stage – The current stage.

Power-Ups – How many held. These are used in 3's.

Bombs – How many you are holding.

Lives – How many lives remaining. The screen will show up to 10 but having more is possible.

Weapons and Special Items

The ship is armed with a primary weapon with unlimited power and a massive bomb that will clear the screen of all but the largest enemies and their fire. When the primary weapon changes, the colour of the ship does also to match.

Special items are encased in skulls and must be shot to become collectable or left behind after destroying a larger enemy. These will be in both open space or on the ground. They equate to the following:

Skull Truxton Bomb Deployed
Special Items
Power-UpMega Power-Up

Power-Up – Increases primary weapon strength. Collecting 5 increases the strength to power 2. Note, the 5th P will be the pink version. Collecting another 5 will make it power 3.

Continue to collect these for a bonus of 100 points and hold them in reserve should the ship be destroyed. They are used automatically upon returning.

Having 5 will power-up to strength 2 and having 10 will be strength 3.

The screen will only display 10 but more can be held in the reserve.

Speed Power-Up

Increases speed/manoeuvrability until reaching a maximum of 5 times the initial start speed. Beyond that these items are worth 5,000 points each.

Truxton Bomb

Truxton Bomb – a large area of energy (as a skull) that will destroy all small enemies and incoming fire on the screen. It will do significant damage to larger enemies.

1-Up (Extra Life)

1 UP – Gives one extra life.

2-Up (Extra Lives)

2 UP – Gives two extra lives.

The following items change the primary weapon but does not add more power. They will be worth 5000 points if collecting the same weapon as the ship currently has.

All the weapon configurations are shown below.

Red Power-Up

Red - Power-shots - Has a good spread but is the least powerful. Note that, when at power 3 (full) the field surrounding the ship will not protect from incoming fire.

Blue Power-Up

Blue - Thunder laser – automatically locks onto larger enemies. This has the biggest range when at full strength. The downside is that it can obscure incoming fire which cannot be destroyed. It is of medium strength and most useful when going through the asteroid fields.

Beware, that when the beams are locked onto a larger enemy, any smaller enemies crossing them will not be destroyed.

Green Power-Up

Green – Truxton beam – This is the most powerful, slicing through weaker enemies but has the least spread/coverage. Very effective against larger enemies and concentrating on their weak points.

Weapon Configurations


Strength 1 Strength 2 Strength 3


Strength 1 Strength 2 Strength 3


Strength 1 Strength 2 Strength 3

A game begins with 3 lives. Extra lives can be gained when having earned 70,000, then 270,000 and every 200,000 after that.

When the ship is destroyed, the weapons type is reset to Power-Shots (red) and with 3 bombs. After loosing all remaining lives and therefore game over, the amount of continue credits varies depending on the difficulty. For easy it is free play (unlimited), for normal it is 6 credits, and for hard it is 3 credits.

The game will resume roughly from where the ship was destroyed along with all power-ups collected but the score is reset to zero.


The game comprises of 3 rounds of 5 stages each, and all these are played without stopping. Throughout the course of an entire round, the battles will take place through open space and across 8 asteroid bases: Blue, Yellow, Red, Orchid, Purple, Poison, Galaxy Pool, Magman.

There are objects on these asteroid bases that can only be destroyed with a certain weapon and doing so earn extra lives.

The end of a stage is signified by a boss encounter and these will be very large in comparison to other enemies. Like most shooters, a shift in music to something slightly more dramatic will happen.

When all five bosses are defeated (and therefore the round) it is back to Stage 1 as the rounds repeat, with the number upped along with the difficulty.

Truxton (Tatsujin) Screenshots (Mega Drive)
Stage 1 Stage 1
Stage 1 Stage 1

Stage 1

Stage 2

Stage 3

Stage 4

Stage 5

Enemy Roster

Truxton (Tatsujin) Enemies (Mega Drive)

Smaller Enemies and Weapons

Turret Guns, Anti-Aircraft Guns, Mini-Cannons

100 – 190 points each

Fighters, Roguis Guns, Homing Tanks, Lasers, Attack Craft, Machine Room, Spinners, Ball Gunners, Mini Gairuns and Shutter Guns

200 – 280 points each

Stoparn Assault Craft, Small Berangs, Vacuum Lasers, Diagonal Shooters and Doril Links

300 - 350 points each

Meteorites, Meteors and Linked Doril

400 - 500 points each

Bordan Head and Pukupu Pursuit Craft

1,000 points each

Bordan Storehouse and Roller Tank

1,500 points each

Bullet-Spraying Attack Craft

2,500 points each

Larger Enemies

These are the ones that need much more punishment and will catch fire before exploding.

Capsulated Gun Ships

1,700 points each


2,000 points each

Gairun Mother Ships

2,500 points each


2,800 points each

Large Acid-Spewing Berangs

2,500 points each

Twin Gagas

3,000 points each

Looping Energy Buoys

2,000 points each

Looping Energy Buoys

2,000 points each

No Catch 'Em Bubus

3,500 points each


3,800 points each

Spinner Escape Hatches

10,000 points each

Bullet-Spraying Roons

10,000 points each


#1 J-Tank

25,000 points

#2 Badron

30,000 points

#3 Dosvam

35,000 points

#4 Gurus

40,000 points

#5 Dogurava

50,000 points


Easy Boss Kills

Launch a bomb and pause the game for short time. It will continue to damage the boss or whatever enemy. Sometimes a boss can be destroyed with a single bomb!

Caution in Stage 2

Do not collect the blue power-up at the start of stage 2. The following enemies will be attracted to it causing a collision for which there is a tiny chance of escape.

Enemies Attracted

Also, this is the stage where enemies start coming from behind so move from the bottom of the screen approx. a third up for safety.



The arcade version ran on Toaplan's own developed hardware known as Toaplan Version 1 and was slightly more powerful than a Mega Drive/Genesis. It also ran the popular shoot’em ups Hellfire and Zero Wing.

Like many games of the genre it used a much taller screen.

Truxton, Tatsujin (Arcade)
Truxton, Tatsujin (Arcade) Truxton, Tatsujin (Arcade) Truxton, Tatsujin (Arcade) Truxton, Tatsujin (Arcade)

Truxton II

The sequel was released in the arcades only in 1992. It has the same style and very similar gameplay although much faster and different weapons but the graphics are much improved with much more detailed sprites and backgrounds.

Truxton II (Arcade)
Truxton II (Arcade) Truxton II (Arcade) Truxton II (Arcade) Truxton II (Arcade)

For those interested in playing the arcade versions they are fully playable in the latest versions of MAME if you can find the ROMs.


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 Machines


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