ININ Games, Tozai Games, and Irem today announced the Irem Collection Vol.1 for Nintendo Switch, PS4/PS5, and Xbox. It will be part of a new five-volume series of Irem collections from the three video game companies, with the first volume featuring the classic vertical shoot-em-ups Image Fight, Image Fight II: Operation Deepstriker, and X-Multiply.
This will likely be great news for retro fans as not only will it present a more affordable way to play both Image Fight and X-Multiply, but it also marks the first time Image Fight II has officially been made available in the West in physical form (it did, however, get a Virtual Console release on the Wii U back in 2018).
Alongside the announcement, ININ Games published a quick history for each game on its website, in case you're in need of a quick refresher on what to expect.
"Known for its challenging and fast-paced gameplay, this vertical scrolling arcade title was first released in 1988. It became the most successful table arcade game according to several magazines, with a rating of 7.60 in December of 1988. Despite it’s success Image Fight never found its way out of Japan as an arcade game. (Writer's note: As some have pointed out this doesn't actually seem to be the case with UK magazine reviews and firsthand testimonies suggesting otherwise).
Set sometime in the future, Aliens have destroyed bases on the moon and began an offensive against other military space areas. Humankind built the “OF-1 Daedalus”, a spaceship that is meant to destroy Alien invasion. Each pilot goes through a training process before officially boarding OF-1 Daedalus to defeat the invaders and earn eternal glory.
This collection also includes two versions of Image Fight (the NES and PCE Engine versions) that have never before been released outside of Japan!
Image Fight II: Operation Deepstriker:
"Released in December 1992 after the immediate success of Image Fight on arcade, Image Fight II: Operation Deepstriker made its way to PCE engine super CD-ROM. Only ever being officially released in Japan, ININ Games is proud to bring Image Fight II to Western audiences!
In Image Fight II, play as pilot Sho in the new OF-3 Garuda spaceship to fend off the new attacks of the alien invaders and save the world. This sequel promises improved animations, detailed lore (learn more about pilot Sho and his family), new visual scenes, and a timeless soundtrack by Takashi Hiyamata and Hiroshi Kimura.
Get lost in the world of alien invasions and keep an eye out for IREM easter eggs! References to R-Type and Carpenter’s Gen-San can be found in this iconic title.
Experience the same thrilling gameplay as in Image Fight with 7 new weapons!"
"Originally released in 1989 for M27-Arcade and ported to PlayStation and SEGA Saturn later in 1998, X-Multiply is a timeless side scrolling shooter.
In 2249 AD, settlers on the planet Stan caught a mysterious disease. Scientists discovered that alien parasites were taking over human bodies, and so the micro fighter ”X-002” was injected into an infected body to fight biological warfare and save humankind. Taking place in a humanoid body, players control a miniature ship that slowly gets ‘infected’ and uses tentacles to fight alien parasites that try to destroy humankind. The underrated title uses a unique combination of science fiction and biological elements to become a standout title in the shooter genre.
Get immersed in the world of the human body and sci-fi elements seemingly inspired by H.P Lovecraft. From the dark color scheme to the unparalleled art design and captivating soundtrack, players will find themselves diving deeper and deeper into this title."
The three companies have partnered with Strictly Limited Games to put together a special Collector's Edition box for the release. This will feature the soundtrack, a visual compendium, stickers, posters, flyers, and mini replica boxes, among other things. We'll keep you posted once we know more about a potential release date.