Remember when Konami made games that you wanted to play? I know it has been a while and the Konami of today seems to not care about video games. However, in the 80s, 90s, and 2000s they made some great games! They also made Bayou Bill, but whatever.
Stinger is one of the many great games that Konami released on the NES. It was also a game that I didn’t know about until the internet became more widespread. It is hard to explain how much fun it used to be to find a game like this.
This is a shoot-em-up that alternates points of view. It’s also a cute game that feels a little like an acid trip. Stinger is one of those games that might give you a contact high when you play it.
TLDR: Stinger is a fun game. It throws many strange things at you and plays like drugs played a big part in the game’s development.
Stinger is part of the TwinBee series of arcade games. It was released in 1986 for the Famicom Disk System as Moero TwinBee. It was later released in 1987 in North America and 1993 on the Famicom.
Stinger is the second game in the series. The third game was released in 1989. There were a lot of other games released in the series.
It doesn’t seem like many of them were released in the US. This is a shame because I liked Stinger!
There were many other things associated with the series. TwinBee has Manga, Anime, and a Radio Drama adaptation. The last one was probably the most interesting to me! This is something that I don’t usually hear about.
Like many shoot-em-ups from the 80s and 90s, Stinger is a 2D shooter. How it alternates between a top-down and side-scrolling view makes its gameplay different. You didn’t see many games do that.
The only game that I can think of is Thunder Force II. Even that isn’t a good comparison. Stinger is like someone took 1942 and Gradius and mashed them together.
It can be a little jarring to alternate between perspectives like this. You get used to side-scrolling in the first level; then, in the second level, the game is a top-down view. If Stinger weren’t so charming, this would be a bigger problem!
The power-ups confused me a bit. You shoot clouds or pick up random items on the ground, and a bell pops up on the screen. Then you have to shoot the bell to change it from orange to either blue or white.
- Orange gives you points
- White is a weapon power-up
- Blue is a speed boost
- Pink gives you a laser
- Flashing White/Blue gives you a protective shield
- Flashing Pink/White gives you a mirror ship for more firepower
I didn’t see the Pink or flashing bells. It can be easy to miss them, though. You have to shoot the bells to get them to change color, and this can make it hard to get the one you want. It was tough during the top-down view.
The Bells can be a little annoying. Like many of these games, the power-ups feel a little like a trap. I have another word for it, but I’ll keep that out of this review. I don’t feel like swearing here.
It does add to the challenge of the game. If you focus on the power-up and getting the one you want, you risk being killed. While it can be frustrating, it only adds to the game.
The controls are very simple. The B button shoots and the A button shoots a heart from your ship. I had no idea what the heart did at first. Later, I learned that it could help to keep the Bells floating longer. There is a sentence I never thought I would write.
I should point out the continues and lives. Like many other shoot-em-ups, Stinger gives you three lives. Unlike its contemporaries, this game has unlimited continues! This is great because you can keep playing and not have to deal with having to start all over.
When you get a game over and continue, you do start the level over. There are no checkpoints in the levels for you to continue from. You will continue right where you left off when you die in the game. Only losing all your lives will cause the level to start over.
There are seven levels in Stinger. Three are side-scrolling, and four are top-down. It can be jarring to the player when you alternate between them, but it isn’t too hard to get your bearings.
Then there is the art style. Stinger is a cute game. It is also a strange game that has a bunch of bizarre enemies in it. I was fighting coat hangers at one point for some reason!
During the side-scrolling stages, there are a bunch of random items that you can pick up. They seem to be for points or random things like killing the enemies on the screen or dropping more bells for you to collect.
The bosses are a whole different thing. I’m used to fighting bizarre stuff in my shoot-em-ups. I had thought that Fantasy Zone was the peek of strange things, but Stinger is right up there with that game.
It doesn’t have the same look as Fantasy Zone, but it does look close to it. Even your little ship looks a bit like Oppa Oppa from Fantasy Zone!
Stinger is like many of the shoot-em-ups in from the 80s. It is more of an arcade game than a console game. This game needs a lot of memorization, but it isn’t as tricky as R-Type or similar shoot-em-ups.
Having unlimited continues helps Stinger stand out a little. It was always frustrating to start over in a game like this.
8/10. A very good shoot-em-up that does a few things to stand out from a crowded field.
The more I thought about Stinger, the more it reminded me of Fantasy Zone. I was thinking of different shoot-em-ups to compare to it, and from a graphical standpoint, I think Fantasy Zone fits the best.
Other games match up with the gameplay. However, the graphics line up the best with Fantasy Zone.
This is one of those games that I wished I had played when I was younger. I didn’t even know about it. I also wished that we had gotten the arcade games as well. There is something fun about finding a game that I hadn’t played when I was younger. Stinger is a great game, and I’m glad I finally found it and the Famicom sequels.