[Nintendo Switch] Irem Collection Volume 1 Review

by EdEN, Owner

Irem Collection Volume 1 from ININ Games brings us three classic shoot ‘em ups now on Nintendo Switch. Check out our Irem Collection Volume 1 review!

Irem Collection Volume 1 from ININ Games brings us three classic shoot ‘em ups now on Nintendo Switch. The company got its start back in 1974, and it developed and released many games that were groundbreaking at the time, such as Moon Patrol, Kung-Fu Master – known as Spartan-X in Japan – Vigilante, and R-Type. Yes, that R-Type. For Irem Collection Volume 1, we’re getting shoot ‘em ups Image Fight, Image Fight II, and X-Multiply.

Image Fight was originally released way back in arcades in Japan in 1998, and it was later ported to the Nintendo Entertainment System, the Famicom – that would be the Japanese version of the NES – and the PC Engine, which is the Japanese version of the TurboGrafx-16. For this collection, you can choose to play each of the aforementioned versions of the game, so you’ll get to enjoy Image Fight in every possible configuration.

Irem Collection Volume 1 Review - 1

The game is very much a product of its time, so you’ll be getting a vertical shoot ‘em up in which aliens are up to no good, and have already destroyed some bases on the moon, and have moved toward destroying other military bases to leave humanity without any defenses. Humankind pours all of its efforts into building a spaceship – codename OF-1 Daedalus – to take on the aliens. As you collect power-ups, which show up as orange or blue pods – you’ll add more firepower to your ship and be able to stand a chance. You can also switch between four different speed settings, depending on what is needed.

Its sequel, the aptly titled Image Fight II, was released for the PC Engine and the PC Engine alone, which is why that’s the one version of the game we’re getting in this collection. To be more specific, the game’s full name is Image Fight II: Operation Deepstriker. Oh, and it was actually released for the Super CD add-on for the PC Engine. The reason the word Super is in there is because this version of the add-on had increased buffer RAM – 256KB instead of the 64KB from the original version.

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You’ll be piloting a new spaceship known as the OF-3 Garuda during the second part of the game. What’s been improved for this sequel? Thanks to the use of the Super CD format, Image Fight II features an arranged soundtrack, new enemies, new weapons, animated cutscenes, and even voice acting! This 1991 release has you taking on an alien armada set on conquering Earth, so it’s up to you to take the fight to them and put an end to their plans before it’s too late.

The last game in this collection is X-Multiply. This 1989 shoot ’em up changes is still a shoot ‘em up, but it switches things around from a vertical orientation – as is the case for Image Fight and Image Fight 2: Operation Deepstriker – for a horizontal presentation, giving it a feel that is closer to the beloved R-Type series from Irem. Sure, it does have a short vertical shoot ‘em up segment in one level, but it’s 90% a sidescroller.

X-Multiply remained as a Japan-exclusive game up until its debut under Hamter’s Arcade Archives series on Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4, and now it’s also available in this collection. It first had an arcade version that was later ported to the original PlayStation console as well as to the Sega Saturn. As expected, you’ll once again need to take on an alien invasion, but this game takes place a couple of centuries after the Image Fight series. The twist? The aliens are actually microscopic and invade and infect people. Because of this, you’ll be piloting the tiny X-002 ship that is sent into a human’s body that has been infected by the alien queen!

Each of the games can be customized to tailor your experience. You can rotate the display to take advantage of the console’s portable nature so that you can make the most of the vertical shoot ‘em up experience. You can also change the aspect ratio, add a wallpaper around the action, change the brightness and saturation, change the color balance, add a shader style – CRT, Vengeful CRT, Arcade Glow, or LCD – and add a scale filter between soft, crispy, or no scale filter.

There are also some quality-of-life elements for you to consider during your time with each of these games, such as being able to rewind the action by pressing the L button in case you make a mistake or being able to use save states to immediately save your progress exactly at the spot you’re on. There’s also an autofire option, and you can use the right analog stick to shoot with the red pod in any direction instead of firing in the opposite direction in which your spaceship is moving – yes, even on the NES version of Image Fight! You can also have your controller vibrate here and there.

Irem Collection Volume 1 Review - 3

Irem Collection Volume 1 brings us three classic shoot ‘em ups now on Nintendo Switch. Image Fight offers a worldwide arcade version, a Japanese arcade version, a Japanese PC Engine version, a Japanese Famicom version, and the NES version, which is probably the one you got to play back in the day. Sequel Image Fight 2: Operation Deepstriker was only available for the PC Engine Super CD, and that’s the version we get. As for X-Multiply, this collection features the Japanese arcade version and a worldwide arcade version. Math tells me that’s technically eight different games, right? While all three games are fun shoot ‘em ups of their era, I would have liked this collection to have some extras, such as a gallery section to check out design docs, sketches, and arcade flyers, or even a music player. Irem Collection Volume 1 is out on Nintendo Switch with a $24.99 price tag.

This Irem Collection Volume 1 review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by ININ Games.

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