Codex Gamicus

Vulgus (バルガス?) is a vertically scrolling shooter developed and published by Capcom in Japan in 1984, and was later released in North America by SNK the same year. The word "Vulgus" comes fom Latin and means "common people", people of lower layers of society. Unlike Little League and Fever Chance, Vulgus is Capcom's first arcade video game. The game was also included in Capcom Classics Collection and is also now available as freeware.


The player controls a spaceship with a single objective: destroy incoming enemies. The vessel has two different weapons: a primary weapon with infinite ammo and a limited supply of bombs. By picking up the "Pow" icons, which sporadically appear throughout the levels, he/she can replenish supplies. In contrast to most other titles of this genre, the game does not have distinctive levels. Instead, the background alternates between the surface of a planet and a space field. The game repeats with increased difficulty until the player has lost all his/her lives. Thus, the game can be considered (in terms of gameplay) somewhere between a fixed shooter and a scrolling shooter. Because the player's ship is destroyed if hit only once and there is no continuation feature, it is generally a better strategy to avoid enemies than to try destroying them.

Ports and related releases[]

A fully complete quasi-sequel/port was made for the Nintendo Entertainment System titled Titan Warriors, featuring new music and several new features, but was ultimately unreleased.[1]

Vulgus is available in the compilation title Capcom Generation 3 for the PlayStation and SEGA Saturn. The game was also included in the Capcom Classics Collection for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox and in Capcom Classics Collection Reloaded for the PlayStation Portable.

In 2001, Capcom released Vulgus as freeware for IBM PCs and PDAs. The port was done by Hanaho, makers of the Hotrod joystick.

Captain Commando duly notes Vulgus' position in gaming history as Capcom's first game in one of his Marvel vs. Capcom win quotes.

Capcom's first game was Vulgus, made in 1984!

The Pow icon is re-used in many other Capcom games, like 1941: Counter Attack, Bionic Commando, and Exed Exes. Likewise, the Yashichi enemy has made later appearances in many Capcom games, usually in a more benign role as a power-up. Valgas, a boss character from Power Stone series, has his name based on this game.


  1. Titan Warriors at

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