game Cover
game HuCard
ヘビー ユニット
©Taito Corp. 1989
Release : 1989-12-22 (¥6600)
Hucard (3 Mbits) TP01004
Shooter / Horizontal
Heavy Unit is a horizontal shooter and conversion of the arcade game of the same name originally released by Kaneko and Taito in 1988. The action takes place in 2013 and the player controls a mechanized Heavy Unit, a powerful and heavily armed transforming battle ship. "LE TAU", the first colonial star created by mankind is under attack by a race of frightening aliens and they must be destroyed. The ship starts as a fighter-jet with a simple Vulcan gun and secondary missiles, but flying pods release a variety of upgrades that give the player a chance to power-up. These upgrades include Speed Ups (S), Power Boosters (P), Shield Units (B) and Extra Lives (E). Additionally, a rare Transformer (T) pod turns the ship into a powerful humanoid mecha. In this mode, the player uses a new set of weapons - the Vulcan gun is replaced by a powerful plasma-beam and the missiles by homing-balls of energy. However, the robot, although more powerful than the ship, has an Achille's heel and its larger size makes it difficult to use in some situations. Heavy Unit consists of six stages and is single player only.
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Heavy Unit arcade game Heavy Unit was originally released as an arcade game by Taito in 1988 (picture on the right). It was then ported to the PC Engine (version tested here) in 1989 and, although the 8-bit conversion is fairly close to the arcade game, various enemies and especially bosses were redesigned. For instance, the first boss from the arcade game wears a sort of human mask which reveals a scary jaw, feature entirely removed from the PC Engine port. Additionally, the second boss looks more like a skeleton-mammoth with wings (picture on the right) than the weaker 'four-legged chicken-like skeleton' featured in the PC Engine version.

Heavy Unit Megadrive Heavy Unit was also ported to the Sega Megadrive in 1990 - this version was developed by Toho and renamed 'Heavy Unit Mega Drive Special' (picture on the left). It also had (arguably) slightly better graphics but featured drastic variations and differences in the level and enemy designs. It is also a lot easier than the Arcade and PC Engine versions.

Game Staff (Copied from the end credits) :


Software Section
K. Oikawa
K. Matsumoto
T. Koyama

Design Section
K. Matsuoaka
Y. Mabuchi
T. Okamoto
H. Yokoyama
Sound Section
T. Watanabe
S. Aizu

A. Utoh
K. Oikawa

Game Design
H. Kaneko
Produced by
Kaneko Co.,Ltd
Inter State Co.,Ltd



Heavy Unit manual
Click on picture to enlarge

Heavy Unit option screen Option Screen (Difficulty & Player Lives):
At the title screen, press and hold Left and I, then press Select. An option screen should appear (picture on the right) where you can change the game's difficulty (easy, normal or hard) or change the amount of lives from 3 to 5.

Heavy Unit option screen Sound Test Mode:
At the title screen, press and hold Left, I and II. then press Select. An option screen should appear (picture on the right) where you can play musics from the game.

Add your Pov here !

Heavy Unit could have been a masterpiece. Wait! I'm kind of starting by the end here. Let me explain why I think this game could have been a masterful classic. What makes Heavy Unit an unique shooter is definitively its amazing and unique level design - like with the classic R Type, each enemy has a purpose and the game doesn't feature endless waves of enemy ships, but rather meticulously crafted levels. As a kid, I clearly remember playing the original arcade game and the frustration when trying to pass these robotic snakes from the first stage. I was young, yes, but the game was brutally difficult and this is where everything falls apart for me. The checkpoints don't make sense and if you die, you can just leave the game because you start again so woefully underpowered that you will most certainly die within seconds. Heavy Unit is probably one of the most difficult and unbalanced shooter available for the PC Engine system. You hit this point of utter frustration way too quickly in this game and the amazing level design is not enough to justify the ongoing struggle and pain associated with the task of keeping yourself alive. Heavy Unit could have been a masterpiece.

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