Konami preps PSP shooter comps

Japanese gamers to get collections for the Life Force, Twinbee, and Parodius series early next year.

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Earlier this year, Konami stoked the nostalgia of many a classic shooter fan with its Gradius Collection for the PlayStation Portable. Now the company's delving further into its back catalog of old-school shoot-'em-ups with a trio of compilations for Sony's handheld. This week's issue of Weekly Famitsu reveals that Konami is planning to release three PSP shooter compilations--covering the Salamander, Parodius, and Twinbee series--each with four complete games from the late '80s and early '90s.

The Salamander series, which alternated between vertical and horizontal scrolling, was a popular spin-off of Gradius in Japan. It was sold under the name Life Force in the US, but somewhat confusingly, this was also the name given to a reworked arcade version of Salamander in Japan. As a result, Salamander Portable will contain PSP ports of Salamander, Life Force, and Salamander 2. As an added bonus, Xexex, a one-shot arcade game by the staff that created Gradius II, will be making its first console appearance ever.

Parodius is a lighthearted, horizontally scrolling shooter Konami created to poke fun at its own games. It enjoyed popularity among Japan's hardcore shoot-'em-up fans but saw very limited exposure in the West. The Parodius Portable collection will include Parodius Da, Gokujou Parodius, Sexy Parodius, and Jikkyou Oshaberi Parodius.

Twinbee is another game that was popular in Japan but not aggressively exported. It too is a shoot-'em-up with cuter, more kid-friendly graphics. The second installment of the game was released in the US for the NES under the title Stinger. The Twinbee Portable collection will consist of Twinbee, Detana Twinbee, Twinbee Yahho, and Pop'n Twinbee.

All three titles are scheduled for release in January 2007. Each collection will retail for 4,179 yen, or about $35.

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