Kyuukyoku Tiger

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Kyuukyoku Tiger.png
Kyuukyoku Tiger
KTiger title screen.png

Title screen

Developer: Toaplan
Music: Masahiro Yuge, Tatsuya Uemura
Art: Kōetsu Iwabuchi
Release date: 1987
Previous game: Hishouzame
Next game: Tatsujin

Kyuukyoku Tiger / Twin Cobra

Shooting game from Toaplan. 1987. Published by Taito. The sequel to Tiger-Heli. Known outside of Japan as Twin Cobra.

Gameplay Overview

Kyuukyoku Tiger is a highly rudimentary game with a barebones control format and marathon-like game loop. There are ten stages in the game, with the latter five games serving as re-arranged versions of the first five stages. The game loops infinitely, with each loop increasing bullet speed and enemy aggression.


  • A: Fires your Weapon. There is no auto-fire functionality in the game.
  • B: Fires a Bomb. Bombs have a brief delay before they become active, and the player is not invincible at any point during the bomb.


There are four weapons to choose from in Kyuukyoku Tiger, each one identified by the color of the weapon pickup. Every weapon has several power levels that offers increased firepower and slightly varies the weapon functionality.

Item  Description 
Vulcan (Red)
Fires a straight shot. Concurrent upgrades increase the number of bullets shot at once, and very marginally increases the horizontal range of the weapon.
Spread (Blue)
Fires a series of blue bullets that increase in size and amount with upgrades. When upgraded twice, the weapon gains a 3-way spread fire, which then upgrades to a 5-way.
Laser (Green)
A variation on the straight shot that features increased power and refire rate, but a narrower bullet range.
Four-Way (Yellow)
Fires a multi-directional shot. When upgraded to level 3, it begins firing from the left and right of the helicopter, as well as from behind.


Item  Description 
KTiger Star.png
Awards 100pts. Tallied at the end of the stage for bonus points.
KTiger-Red.png KTiger-Blue.png KTiger-Green.png KTiger-Yellow.png
Weapon Pickup
Switches the weapon the player is using based on the color. Awards 2000pts on collection if the color is the same as the shot already used, 100pts otherwise.
KTiger Power Up.png
Power Up
Increases the player's weapon power level by 1. Once the player is fully powered up, the item is replaced by the Weapon Pickup.
KTiger Bomb.png
Awards a bomb to the player. The player can hold up to 7 bombs, and the item will be replaced by the Weapon Pickup if the player already has a full bomb stock.
KTiger 1up.png
Awards an extend to the player.


Kyuukyoku Tiger, like many early Toaplan shmups, features an infinite loop, allowing the skilled player to play the game forever as long as they're able to keep up with the scaling increase in enemy bullet speed and general ferocity.


Scoring in Kyuukyoku Tiger is extremely basic, with each enemy and item offering a flat amount of points. Like most Toaplan games, Kyuukyoku Tiger loops infinitely, and scoring is essentially done by clearing several loops. There are, however, a few details that can improve the player's score on a given loop. However, most of the scoring will come from dying as little as possible.

End-Stage Bonus

The player is awarded 3000pts for every P-Star they collected in the stage. If the player dies in a stage, any Stars collected on that life are lost.

Weapon pickup

If the item is collected while its color is the same as the shot the player was already using, they are awarded 2000 points. Otherwise, they only get 100 points.

Infinite pattern

The final boss doesn't time out, while enemy tanks will appear infinitely. By using the yellow shot type (four-way) and staying in a safespot while shooting, it is possible to destroy the tanks as they spawn without damaging the boss, making the score slowly increase. Players aiming to record their high scores on public leaderboards are discouraged from using this sort of exploit to earn points.

Not bombing

If the player has a full bomb stock (7), any item drop that would have been a bomb will be replaced by a weapon pickup, and therefore with the opportunity to get 2000 points.


See Kyuukyoku Tiger/Strategy for stage maps, enemy and boss descriptions, walkthroughs, and advanced play strategies.

Weapon choice

The blue weapon is universally considered the best weapon at high power. It has great coverage when the player has collected a few power-ups, and can deal extremely high damage when pointblanking a boss. Considering the fact that enemies in this game tend to spawn in corners of the screen, the blue weapon's spread makes it perfect to deal with such threats.

The red weapon is acceptable at low power. With only 2 or 3 power ups, it is the most convenient solution for pointblanking bosses, as the player doesn't have to stay too close. However, outside of this niche use case, the player should aim to switch to the blue weapon as soon as possible.

The green weapon can deal high damage to a boss, but has terrible coverage and will struggle for stage portions. It has to be used with extreme caution.

The yellow weapon is considered the worst in the game. The way it shoots means that pointblanking is impossible, and this weapon will struggle to damage any middle-sized enemy or boss.


Autofire is greatly recommended for this game, and modern ports come with appropriate options.

The player can make great use of a 30hz (1 frame ON, 1 frame OFF) button in order to deal with bosses, and will have to stay close to them in order to take advantage of the high firing rate.

However, 30hz is not optimal for stages, because the game's shot limit prevents the player from having more than 4 volleys on screen at a time. If using 30hz all the time, all the volleys will be grouped together, but will leave big gaps before the next 4 volleys are fired, exposing the player. To mitigate this, the player can either start by tapping manually in order to spread their volleys, then start using 30hz, or simply use another autofire frequency (close to 8 or 10hz), which will leave smaller gaps between volleys and should deal with all the smaller threats.

Bomb usage

In typical early Toaplan fashion, bombs should be considered a secondary weapon that the player may want to use in order to deal with the most dangerous parts of the game, namely bosses. Since the player cannot hold more than 7 bombs anyway, and because the point penalty for using a bomb is extremely low (the player would only lose the opportunity to score 2000 points), it is recommended to use bombs for the parts a player would struggle with.

It should be noted that many bosses can be killed quickly by using a bomb for safety, then moving up close and shooting them down with 30hz autofire. Considering how difficult bosses in this game can be, the player may want to allocate bombs specifically for some bosses.

Stage 7 Boss

This boss is a massive wall for newcomers, and is arguably the hardest in the whole game. There are two common ways of dealing with it.

The first one requires the player to bomb and pointblank one of the two halves of the boss, destroying it as soon as possible. Then, the player has to move in circles around the boss, dodging the aimed bullets. From there, the player can simply keep dodging until the boss time outs, which happens fairly quickly, or move below to destroy the other part. This approach is unreliable in higher loops, as the boss' movement is seemingly random, and bullets much faster.

The second one is a pacifist approach, which is actually consistent and will see the boss moving in the exact same way every time. The player should absolutely not shoot in order to not destroy the junction between the two tanks. Then, it is simply a matter of moving left and right, tapping slowly, and finding opportunities to move to the other side.

Development History

During the development of Slap Fight, the developers at Toaplan had already developed the "shot + bomb" structure of Hishouzame and Kyuukyoku Tiger, intending to focus mostly on "the simple thrill of shooting and dodging".

Kyuukyoku Tiger was received well both in and outside of Japan, quoted as being Toaplan's "biggest hit".

Version Differences

The international release of Kyuukyoku Tiger is known as Twin Cobra, and it features a few key differences that separate it from the original game, and make for an overall easier experience. Aside from the extend setting, all international Twin Cobra versions are assumed to be functionally the same.

  • Kyuukyoku Tiger features a checkpoint system, where Twin Cobra simply respawns you instantly on death. This change can allow you to fly past troublesome sections, but can also heavily affect routing and death recovery, as you can end up going a very long time woefully underpowered.
  • In Twin Cobra, if the player dies against a boss, the boss will see its HP greatly lowered. Generally, only a few shots will be needed to finish it.
  • The overall flying speed of the heli in Twin Cobra is faster than in Kyuukyoku Tiger.
  • Twin Cobra reduces the number of shots you can fire at once to three, whereas Kyuukyoku Tiger allows four.
  • Twin Cobra allows two players to play simultaneously, while Kyuukyoku Tiger is limited to one player.
  • The extend thresholds in default dip switches are different from version to version. In Kyuukyoku Tiger, the first extend is awarded at 70k points, then every 200k points (270k, 470k...). In World Twin Cobra, the first extend is awarded at 50k points, then every 150k points (200k, 350k...). In US Twin Cobra, only 1 extend at 100k points is awarded. It should be noted that while the default dip switches in MAME are set at 50k/150k for both US and World, the manual for US arcade operators states that one extend at 100k points is considered the default setting.

PC Port

A PC port of the arcade version is available on Steam, released by Bitwave Games on February 14, 2023. Aside from autofire, This version provides an assist feature and other quality of life improvements in order to make the game significantly easier:

  • Includes both versions of the game.
  • Auto-dodging
  • Instant slowdown button
  • Health: Allows the player to take a select number of hits before dying.
  • Hitbox size modification
  • Hitbox display
  • Rewinds
  • Savestates, up to 10
  • Practice mode
  • Widescreen Mode
  • Online leaderboards, only accessible when not using assists.


See Kyuukyuku Tiger/Gallery for our collection of images and scans for the game.


  1. "Toaplan Developer Interview -- Gamest, September 1990, translated into EN by Shmupulations |