Pleiads is a classic arcade game that was released in 1981 by Japanese game developer IREM. It is a space-themed shoot 'em up game that was popular during the early years of the arcade gaming era. In this blog post, we will explore the history, gameplay, and legacy of this classic arcade game.
History of Pleiads
Pleiads was developed and released by IREM, a Japanese game developer that was founded in 1974. The game was initially released in Japan in 1981 and later released in the United States by Centuri in 1982. The game was also released under different names, such as Planet Wars and Pleiades.
The game was developed during a time when space-themed games were popular in the arcades, with games like Space Invaders, Galaxian, and Asteroids dominating the market. Pleiads was one of the first games to add a storyline to the traditional space shoot 'em up genre. The game's storyline involves players defending the planet Earth from an alien invasion that comes from the Pleiades star cluster.
Pleiads gameplay is a classic example of a space-themed shoot 'em up game. Players control a spacecraft that must shoot down various enemy spaceships and avoid obstacles. The game consists of five different stages, each with a unique theme and boss enemy at the end.
The gameplay is split into two main modes, the attacking mode and the defensive mode.
The attacking mode involves players shooting down enemy spaceships, while the defensive mode involves players avoiding enemy fire and obstacles.
The game has a unique feature where players can switch between the two modes by pressing a button, allowing players to switch between attacking and defending on the fly. This feature adds a layer of strategy to the gameplay, as players must decide when to switch between modes to avoid enemy fire and obstacles while still attacking enemies.
The game also has a power-up system, where players can collect power-ups that increase the speed and firepower of their spaceship. These power-ups are dropped by certain enemy spaceships and can be collected by flying over them.
The cabinet of Pleiads is a classic upright arcade cabinet design with a colorful and vibrant marquee that features the game's logo and artwork. The cabinet is made of wood and has a tempered glass screen that protects the game's monitor.
The game runs on a Z80-based main board with a dedicated sound board that produces the game's audio. The monitor is a CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) display with a resolution of 224 x 256 pixels and a refresh rate of 60 Hz. The game's graphics are rendered in colorful pixel art, typical of games from that era.
The game uses a custom-designed arcade board that is specific to the Pleiads game, and it is not interchangeable with other arcade game boards. This means that the arcade board is unique to the game and cannot be used in other arcade games.
Overall, the Pleiads arcade cabinet and internal hardware represent a classic example of the arcade gaming era, with its colorful artwork and vibrant graphics, simple yet effective controls, and dedicated arcade board designed specifically for the game.
The game's controls consist of a joystick and two buttons, one for shooting and one for switching between the attacking and defensive modes.
The game also features a dedicated button for inserting coins and starting the game, as well as a button for player selection in two-player mode.
Legacy of Pleiads
Pleiads was a popular game during the early years of the arcade gaming era, but it did not achieve the same level of popularity as other space-themed games of the time, such as Space Invaders or Galaxian. However, the game has developed a cult following over the years and is still remembered by many classic arcade game enthusiasts.
The game's unique switching between attacking and defensive modes has been cited as an influence on other games, such as Konami's Gradius series, which also features a power-up system and switching between attacking and defensive modes.
Pleiads has been re-released on various platforms over the years, including the PlayStation 2 and Xbox 360 as part of the IREM Arcade Hits compilation. The game has also been included in various classic arcade game compilations, such as the Capcom Classics Collection and the Taito Legends 2.
Pleiads is a classic arcade game that is still remembered by many classic arcade game enthusiasts. The game's unique switching between attacking and defensive modes and power-up system has influenced other games in the shoot 'em up genre. While it may not have achieved the same level of popularity as other space-themed games of the time, it remains a classic example of the space shoot 'em up genre and a beloved classic arcade game.