Flying Shark (also known as Sky Shark in North America) is a vertical scrolling shoot 'em up. The game was developed by Toaplan and published by Taito for the arcades in 1987. The same year, it was converted (by Firebird) to the 16bit home computers Amiga, Atari ST, Sharp X68000, Fujitsu FM Towns and FM Towns Marty and the 8bit home computers Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum.
STORY / GAMEPLAY The story here is pretty simple; fly your plane and destroy everything that moves (or shoots at you). You control a bi-winged plane (that looks like a WWI plane) through five vertically scrolling levels swarmed by enemy forces like planes, tanks, gun emplacements and even battleships! You take off from your military base and fly over a variety of environments like forests, oceans or even cities. When the going gets a little tough, you can launch one of your limited (up to 3) supply bombs to explode every enemy craft around in pieces. Occasionally, a squadron of red planes appears and you must shoot them all down, to gain essential extra firepower! If you let just one of those planes to fly away, you won't get the bonus (shown as a big S). You can boost your firepower with a spread fire comprising of a maximum of nine projectiles a shot. While flying, you will also find some extra bombs (shown as a huge red B) by destroying ground or airborne enemies. In terms of gameplay, the game is very tough, especially when too many enemies occupy the screen and shooting at you in frenzy. And its toughness doesn't end there since the enemy planes move in "confusing" and frustratingly fast patterns that provide an infuriatingly addictive challenge! The truth is, it's hard to avoid enemy fire and, every time you lose a life, your firepower goes back to default (two projectiles per shot), which means that soon you'll be history. So, your best bet is to find a joystick with an auto-fire function, build up your firepower enough and then, virtually, nothing will stand in your way! Given its sharp graphics and addictive gameplay, Flying Shark is a great shoot 'em up game, though (as already said) it's among the most difficult of its time.
GRAPHICS / SOUND As it was expected, the Sharp X68000 is the only arcade perfect conversion, offering more colors and background details compared to the Amiga and Atari ST. The game features detailed and colorful backdrops and sprites with way more colors on screen. The game's sprites move very fast and smooth, as in the coin-op original. The game's sound consists of some nice, functional effects and a music score taken directly from the original.
CPU: X68000 (1987) to SUPER (1991) models - Hitachi HD68HC000 (16/32-bit) @ 10 MHz OR XVI (1991) to Compact (1992) models - Motorola 68000 (16/32-bit) @ 16 MHz OR X68030 (1993) models - Motorola MC68EC030 (32-bit) @ 25 MHz Also there is a Sub-CPU available (Oki MSM80C51 MCU) MEMORY: 1-4MB RAM (expandable up to 12 MB), 1MB ROM (128 KB BIOS, 768 KB Character Generator), 1056KB VRAM (512KB graphics, 512KB text, 32KB sprites) GRAPHICS: GPU (graphics processing unit) chipset: Sharp-Hudson Custom Chipset
Color palette of 65,536 (16-bit RGB high color depth) and maximum up to 65,536 colors on screen (from 256x240 to 512x512 resolution), up to 64 colors (from 640x480 to 1024x1024 resolution)
Graphics hardware: Hardware scrolling, priority control, super-impose, dual tilemap background layers, sprite flipping.
Graphical planes: 1-4 bitmap planes, 1-2 tilemap planes, 1 sprite plan
It supports 128 sprites on screen (16×16 sprite size), 32 sprites per scanline, 256 sprite patterns in VRAM. SOUND: Yamaha YM2151: Eight FM synthesis channels
Yamaha YM3012: Floating point DAC with 2-channel stereo output
Oki MSM6258: One 4-bit ADPCM mono channel @ 22 kHz sampling rate