Tozai Games and ININ Games have announced the modern release of the arcade games of legendary Japan game developer irem called irem Collection with several volumes worldwide. With that said, Strictly Limited Games has announced that it is also releasing a special physical release on Nintendo Switch, PS4, and PS5 of irem Collection, and pre-orders for the first volume, Volume 1 are now live for interested players. The whole collection will be released in several volumes and so far, only Volume 1 has been revealed and the remaining volumes will be announced at a later date.
You can check out the trailer for irem Collection Volume 1 below to see what you can expect from it when it launches later.
As part of the irem Collections, some of the greatest and most requested arcade action games will be available to modern gamers. With iconic titles such as R-TYPE, Air Duel, or Hammerin’ Harry, irem shaped the gaming industry back in the 1980s and was considered a leader in the arcade era. So far, very few of those titles have been released for modern consoles, and tons of their games have never seen a modern physical release to date. ININ Games, Tozai Games, and irem are teaming up to change this and will aim at launching different volumes which will bring these iconic arcade gems to modern players on modern gaming platforms.
After their release, some of irem’s arcade video games were used as benchmarks for others in the genre which makes the upcoming volumes an exciting experience for both modern retro enthusiasts and casual players looking for new and unknown gaming adventures. The volumes will be of great value to collectors of retro games since irem shaped the arcade scene back in the 80s so anyone adding these volumes to their collections will be adding some great pieces of video game history and culture. For making this possible, Strictly Limited Games will be releasing several Limited and Collector’s Editions for upcoming volumes of irem Collection.
The first volume of the irem Collection is an updated homage to the Japanese-exclusive ‘Arcade Gears’ series (released in the 1990s on Sega Saturn and Sony PlayStation) and comprises three legendary shoot ‘em games Image Fight, Image Fight II, and X-Multiply. The official press release describes the three games as:
- Image Fight first appeared in 1988 as a vertical scrolling Shoot ‘em Up. It became one of the most successful table arcade games at that time in Japan and is still being regarded by many fans as one of the best shmups ever made. In addition to this arcade version, the upcoming volume will also include the PC Engine/TurboGrafx version as well as the NES version from 1990. The game is set in the year 20XX, the moon collapses after an explosion caused by aliens which proceed their offensive against mankind. To settle the situation, the player must go through an eponymous training process called “Image Fight”, before they are allowed to join the combat to fend off the invaders and earn everlasting glory.
- Image Fight II was released in Japan in 1992, after the success of the first part. Unfortunately, the game never made it to the West (except for a Wii Virtual Console release, that is). It is set in the year 2051, the alien forces try once again to exterminate humanity. The player must take over the role of pilot Sho, the main character in the story, switching to a new generation of ships. The story is really outstanding in this game, the introduction of visual scenes reminiscent of animes especially intended for the PC-Engine SUPER CD-ROM version strengthens the story and adds depth and a second dimension to this game, shaping Sho as a real hero in this unequaled approach to building a SHMUP storyline.
- X-Multiply is a side-scrolling shooter originally released in 1989 for arcade (M72). The combination of science fiction and biological elements makes X-Multiply extraordinary even though it flew under the radar of many gamers: The player is controlling a miniaturized ship getting ‘injected’ in an evidently humanoid body and is using tentacles attached to his ship to fight alien parasites killing humans in detailed as sinister designed stages located inside that corpse.
Strictly Limited Games will be releasing special Limited and Collector’s Editions for irem Collection – Volume 1 which will include the above-mentioned three titles. The Limited Editions will be unique to all three platforms, PS4, PS5, and Nintendo Switch. They will cost $34.99 and will include Image Fight, Image Fight II and X-Multiply, an exclusive tilesheet design, and an English manual. There will be 4,000 individually numbered copies for Nintendo Switch and 1,500 copies each for PS4 and PS5.
For hardcore fans and collectors, Strictly Limited Games has the irem Collection – Volume 1 Collectors Edition which will be limited to just 2,000 individually numbered copies for Nintendo Switch and 999 each for PS4 and PS5. It will cost $89.99 and will ship with tons of goodies including:
- The premium Collector Box will be realized in format 4:3 as an homage to the screen ratio at that time. The print quality and the magnetic closure collect all the items in a suitably exclusive way.
- The Original Soundtracks will be realized on 3 CDs sitting in a Digifile. The format gives room to every game and its unparalleled music.
- A Visual Compendium will include backgrounds on the games, their history, feature unique insights and lay out level and character designs, from pixel sprites to context art.
- A Collector Coin in a separate box will make another nice link between the different volumes of the irem collection. The design is inspired by classic arcade coins and includes not just both logos and key elements from the games‘ visuals.
- A package of Retro Print material will complete the collection. Next to reprints of flyers from back then which are now getting localized the first time into English, there will be mini-DIY reproductions in the style of the NES game box, a marquee sticker, a foil catching the vibe of arcade light panel designs, and posters showing the key visual in impressive size.
Alongside Volume 1, Strictly Limited Games will also offer bundles of both Limited and Collector’s Editions including the upcoming volumes 1 to 5 of the irem Collection in an exclusively designed slipcase. The Limited Edition bundle will be limited to 3,000 individually numbered copies for Nintendo Switch and 1,000 copies each for PS4 and PS5. It will cost $159.99. The Collector’s Edition bundle will be limited to 1,000 individually numbered copies for Nintendo Switch and only 500 units each for PS4 and PS5 at a price of $429.99. If you want to place your pre-orders, you can head over to the official website of Strictly Limited Games right now. Previous releases by Strictly Limited Games include Snow Battle Princess Sayuki and Jim Power: The Lost Dimension.
What are your thoughts on irem Collection – Volume 1 and is it something that you will be interested in adding to your retro collection? Let us know in the comments section below.