Hyper Duel is a horizontal scrolling shooter video game developed by Technosoft. It was originally released in 1993 for the arcade in Japan; however, it was later released on November 22, 1996 for the Sega Saturn console in Japan. The game is not widely known because it was not released elsewhere. Hyper Duel largely resembles the Thunder Force series that was also developed by Technosoft.
The game’s story is not well-known as there is no English translation, but apparently it follows the archetypical shooter plot. A militant/alien group is threatening Earth and in response, Earth sends a unit of elite machines dubbed "Buster Gears” in order to defend itself. Thus, you assume the position of one of three pilots: Keith Spader, Lisa Rowling, or Dr. B. Lloyd. You then embark to defend the Earth through a series of several battlefields.
The Buster Gears are seemingly the typical fighter spaceships with various upgradeable weapons systems in the “Fighter” mode, but they can transform into an “Armor” mode, a humanoid warrior robot with several heavy fire arms. The Fighter mode is easily maneuverable, small, and fast; it also shoots straight in front of it. The Armor mode, on the other hand, is slower, bigger, and less responsive; it is capable of shooting up and down at a 45 degree angle, as well as straight. The firepower of the Armor mode is also superior. The weaponry of both modes can be upgraded by collecting P items which appear from defeating enemies. The ships can also acquire helper units by collecting either the T or G items. The Tracer unit is similar to the Fighter mode and it shoots forward when closing in on an enemy, while the Gunner unit is similar to the Armor mode and it homes on enemies. Both units also act as destructible shields.
Buster Gears change mode by pressing the alternate button. There are two buttons, one for the Fighter mode and one for the Armor mode. Pressing both buttons results in the activation of a special attack, involving two units that appear above and below the Buster Gear. In Fighter mode, they are stationary and shoot in a circular manner. In Armor mode, the units rotate around the ship and provide forward cover fire. This special attack depletes the special attack meter and when it runs out, the units stop firing. The meter is filled up by unit inactivity and by collecting B items.
Gameplay is similar to other Technosoft scrolling shooters, particularly the Thunder Force series. There are 8 stages in total. Stages consist of traveling through a scenario infested with enemies, which drop the various items aforementioned. Sometimes, there are minibosses, but there is always a rather large boss at the end of the stage. Defeating these bosses requires quick reactions and exploiting an inherent weakness. Enemies that are defeated yield points and upon completing a stage, several point bonuses are awarded. Extra lives are gained by acquiring a certain number of points. Unique to ‘’Hyper Duel ‘’is a ranking system, based upon how many P items have been acquired. The higher the number of upgrades the Buster Gear collects, the higher the number of bullets and shots on the screen.
Source: Wikipedia, "Hyper Duel", available under the CC-BY-SA License.