Side Arms (サイドアーム), also known as Side Arms: Hyper Dyne, is a side-scrolling shoot-'em-up originally released by Capcom as a coin-operated video game in 1986 The game was also released to the TurboGrafx-16, as well as to various home computer platforms. In Side Arms the player takes control of a flying mecha suit who must battle an alien army. Side Arms uses a two-directional attacking system similarly to Capcom's previous shoot-'em-up Section Z.
An evil alien empire known as the Bozon are launching a full-scale attack on Earth. As either Lt. Henry or Sgt. Sanders, the player must pilot a giant space mecha known as a "Mobilsuit" to defeat the aliens. Up to two players can play simultaneously.
The controls of an eight-way joystick for moving the Mobilsuit and three action buttons. Side Arms uses two shooting button, one for shooting to the left and other to the right. The third button is used to change between the weapons acquired by the player. There are five types of power-ups that can be acquired by the player: a speed upgrade, an orbital bit that will provide additional firepower with the standard gun, a shotgun with shoots in a fan-shaped range, a 3-wayshooter, and a mega bazooka launcher that fires a laser beam. The player can choose what power-up their mecha will receive by shooting the power-up icon until getting the item they want. All of the weapons, as well as the mecha's speed, can be upgraded up to two or even three levels depending on the item. There's also a speed downgrade that will reduce the Mobilsuits speed by one level. There also two "Auto" power-ups as well shaped like the enemy characters from Vulgus: one is shaped like the "Yashichi" and allows the player to fire continuously with either firing button held down; while the other, which is shaped like the "Sakichi", allows the player to shoot upwards, downwards and forwards at the same time, but at a slower rate than the regular shot.
In addition to the standard power-ups, there are two special combination power-ups shaped like the Greek letters α and β that will combine the player's Mobilsuit with an ally. This allows the player to do an eight-directional attack at the same time as their regular attack. When two players are playing this power-up will combine both players' suits instead. One player will move the combined suit and perform the regular attack, while the other will provide the eight-directional attack. If the combined suit gets shot by an enemy soldiers, it will revert both ships into their regular separate states.
Side Arms was released for the TurboGrafx-16 on July 14, 1989 in Japan by NEC Avenue. This port was published in North America during the same year by Radiance Software. This version differs from the arcade game in which it allowed player to change weapons through a sub-menu while pausing the game. However, the TG-16 version lacks the 2-player feature from the arcade game. A CD-ROM2 version titled Side Arms Special was released on December 15, 1989 exclusively in Japan. This version featured an arranged version of the original soundtrack composed by Alph Lyla. In addition to the standard game mode from the TurboChip version, the CD version also features a "Before Christ" game mode that changes the game's rules completely. In BC Mode, the player can only change their weapon upon picking a power-up, only Combination Alpha is available, and the Mega Bazooka Launcher can only be used by holding down either fire button to fill the Laser gauge below the screen and launch it.
Appearances in other games
A "chibi" version of the player's Mobilsuit, called "Mobichan", appears in the game as a power-up item that gives the player an extra life. Mobichan has appeared in many console games released by Capcom during the early 1990s as a mode select cursor such as in the Super NES version of the original Street Fighter II. The arcade game Warriors of Fate features a hidden ending sequence for completing the game on one credit which shows Mobichan and its Player 2 counterpart fighting against each other dressed Ryu and Ken and using their special techniques against each other.
In Namco X Capcom, the two nameless soldiers from Forgotten Worlds are accompanied by the Mobilsuits from Side Arms, who are named Side Arm α and Side Arm β in the game.
- Side Arms at Capcom's arcade game gallery (waybacked) (Japanese). Capcom.
- Promotional brochure of Side Arms at The Arcade Flyers Archive.
- Capcom. Side Arms. (Romstar). Arcade. Level/area: Operator's manual, page 5.