Turbographix memories- chapter one- Keith Courage in Alpha Zones… It’s all about the pack in.

Hey Arcaders!

Now that we have talked about the history and the system itself, I thought I would go through the games that pulled me into the system.

I was a a little late to the Turbo party. I found mine for sale in the classifieds in my local newspaper back in 1996. And my first Turbographix 16 system… was actually TWO! Including the Turbo CD! And tons of HUcards and CDs! For $200- I couldn’t pass it up!

The first game I’m going to talk about was the pack in game is probably the most divisive. Not just because of the game itself, but it was the pack in game for the system in the US- Keith Courage in Alpha Zones.

Via VG Legacy-

“Keith Courage in Alpha Zone is a science fantasy action platformer developed by Advance Communication Company and published by NEC for the TurboGrafx-16.  The game originally released in Japan as Mashin Eiyūden Wataru in 1988 for the PC Engine and was an adaptation of the anime television series of the same name, Spirit Hero Wataru.” How it came  to be on the Turbographix is And how it was translated is an amazing story, and GTV Japan tells it so well.

Now that we have talked about the history of Keith Courage- why not play a round or two?

To be clear- I don’t think that Keith Courage is a bad game. But I don’t think it was good enough to be a pack in game. The issue is- anime wasn’t the powerhouse it would become a few years later. If the show (and the toys) had been released in the states- no doubt it would have been a success- and the game would have done very well as a standalone release. But not a pack in game. Turbographix needed a known hit  as the pack in game to compete with Nintendo and Sega.

Take a look at this picture. It represents the games available at the Turbographix 16’s release. If you were the one in charge at Hudson- which one would you would pack in with the system? Everyone’s answer will be different, of course, and please let me know in the comments- which game would you put in?

Most of these games have strengths. but out of the nine- I would go with either R-Type or Vigilante, settling on R-Type. The answer is simple- they are arcade ports. If you don’t have an established franchise or mascot title- go with the strength of arcade recognition in the late 80’s. And with the Turbographix- It could have meant more sales out of the gate, helping them get a foothold in the market- and possibly turning their tides quickly and allowing them to survive. Their first mistake was the one that did them in- in my opinion. The Turbographix could handle a really good arcade port- let’s check these games out.

First R-Type. and check out the most excellent use of  rapid fire from the Turbopad! Shmups are the absolute bomb on this machine!


Now- lets look a Vigilante. It’s a pseudo- sequel to Kung Fu Master- with more detailed backgrounds, tougher enemies, and weapon pickups! The Turbopad comes in handy here too! Love this game!

So- what do you think of Keith Courage in Alpha Zones? Did you like it? Hate It? Never played it? I say… Give it a chance! It has solid gameplay- very reminiscent of Wonderboy in Monster Lair!

Let me know in the comments!

Keep Playin’ Like It’s 1981!




One comment

  1. I did get a chance to play it, though I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. It was when you got into the Nova suit that was when I really got into the action. 😀

    But yes-the system was definitely the go-to for shmups. 😁


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