Life Fortress Volcabamba

When playing Volcabamba for the first time you may think this is another oldschool shooter made to look like a MSX 1 Gradius game. You may be right but not entirely ...

This game is an hybrid between The classic Konami game, Hellfire by Toaplan and W Double Ring by Naxat Soft.

Graphics and music look like a crossover port of W Double Ring and Gradius on the MSX 1.
Backgrounds are in darker tones than the foreground and every dangerous ship or bullet are in brighter colors. On the other hand the scrolling is choppy like it was back in the eighties. To not be annoyed by this you may play in windowed mode or, if played fullscreen, be far enough of your monitor.

Music are not ripp off but are clearly in the same tones as W Double Ring : happy melodies with sometime a tint of melancholy and panic when needed.

Before the first stage you have to choose one of the two types of control of your shots :
- when the shoot button is released move in the direction you want your shots to be, it is fixed when you press shoot again
- 1 shot button and 1 change direction button. In this mode you may choose 8 ways or 4 ways.
Shots are always fired in two directions and look like those of Toaplan game Hellfire : front and back or up and down.
There are no upgrades to be found.
The pause key is F1.

There are 6 stages, each with a boss. Each one has distincts enemies and bosses.

Another node to W Double Ring are the hidden Volca stones foud between stages 1 to 5. You have to shot a specific place for them to appear (but it seems there are no hidden levels this time). Found Volca sphere found are highlighted at the bottom of the screen. Each ones add between 100 and 1000 points to your score.
The first extend is at 20000 points then the next ones are at every 50000 points.

This game is a pure memorizer and is brutal ! If you can bypass the really oldschool design you may find a shmup to break you teeth on again and again.

If you want to play fullscreen just tick the box in the v_config.exe.

Warning : the video is a full run, if you don't want to be spoiled, stop before the end ! Otherwise you'll see a manic, hard as nail shmup !

Update : another 1lc is available from shmup player yrcnois. This time it's in full HD ! Check his blog for more promising 1lc !

Originally posted on 3/14/11, upped to add the yrcnois 1lc.


  1. Dear Sir, i like your blog 'n your effort to show other people REAL Japanese or just Asian games. This shooter is especially great. I'm going to record a 1lc. If you are interested - please track my blog or my Yt channel. Cheers and happy shmuping or else :)

  2. Thanks for the input !

    Yes this shooter is a great mix of new/old school shmup. I'll add your HD 1lc in the review ! You're not far from the high score in the previously posted video !

    Cheers !

  3. Yesterday was a great day. For the first time I 1lc'ed Life Fortress Volcabamba. I'll be very glad if you update my video on your page.
    And thanks for supporting my site- link 'n vid :)

  4. Maybe in the sequel, becasue ending of the game's incomplete: NEXT - AREA EARTH... To Be Continued.
    And thx again- this time for my vid update!

  5. Nice play ! Thumb up !
    If there were a leaderboard you'd be the king !

    I hope there's a sequel but japanese people are busy people and, this game being a total underdog, I don't place my hope too high.

  6. I just saw a cheat on the developper's page : press M on the title screen for invincibility !