I'm looking to identify a vertical shooter from the 80s.

The setting is futuristic, with the main ship being able to get upgrades based on the floating bonus which is a letter. One of the was a flamethrower, another was a six shooter. When taking the letter, parts were combined into the ship to give the upgrade. The letter "P" would give an extra life, unless it was a brown colored "P" which would instead instantly kill you.

The first boss was a ship with some sort of long "tentacles" made of circles sprites.

I played it around 1982 or something like that.

EDIT: it was an arcade game that I used to play in a pizzeria near my house. It was way before the time of Xenon 2, the next year my parents bought me a ZX spectrum 16K

  • Could it have been Xenon 2? On which platform, was there music or sound effects?
    – Justme
    May 13, 2021 at 9:40
  • 3
    Arcade? Console? Home computer?
    – Alan B
    May 13, 2021 at 11:05
  • @alan b sorry, please see my edit
    – ChatterOne
    May 13, 2021 at 13:45
  • Terra Cresta (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terra_Cresta) comes to mind for the ship upgrades, but I don't remember the boss having tentacles made of circle sprites - but then I was never very good at tyhe game. It's from 1985, but it's a sequel to Moon Cresta from 1980,
    – LAK
    May 13, 2021 at 14:25
  • 1
    I know terra cresta very well (the phoenix is easy to remember) , it was a completely different game unfortunately
    – ChatterOne
    May 13, 2021 at 14:35

1 Answer 1


It's a little later than 1982 but I think this is SNK's 'Alpha Mission', also known as 'ASO : Armored Scrum Object'.

It has standard pickups for power-ups but also brown versions which are 'power downs'. The ship has various armour sets that you can switch between, changing the appearance. The stage 1 boss is a round sprite tentacle affair.

  • Very nice find! There is even a 'P' extra life powerup, and brown ones are de-powerups. No mention of a brown P that kills you, but that could be a misrememberence.
    – LAK
    May 14, 2021 at 16:28
  • Yep, you're right, I had the year wrong (by 3 years, but that's a lot in videogames). Thanks a lot for this 😊
    – ChatterOne
    May 14, 2021 at 19:29

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