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Title screen

Developer: Toaplan
Music: Tatsuya Uemura
Program: Naoki Ogiwara
Art: Person C
Release date: August 1990
Previous game: Same! Same! Same!
Next game: Vimana

For replay videos, visit the Video Index.


OutZone (アウトゾーン) is a vertical freely scrolling shmup developed by Toaplan in 1990. It was published by Tecmo in Japan, Romstar in North America, and Toaplan in Europe.

OutZone never received any home console ports. M2's ShotTriggers division announced in April 2020 that they were developing a new port of OutZone for modern consoles. A PC port on Steam was released in February 2023.

Gameplay Overview

OutZone is a two-button game with 7 stages.


  • A (Press, both main weapons): Fires a shot.
  • A (Press, Super Ball): Launches a ball forward.
  • A (Hold, 8 way main weapon and Super Burner): Auto fires at a fast rate.
  • A (Hold, fixed main weapon): Auto fires but the shots do not repeat very fast.
  • B: Launches a bomb. The bombs in this game generate fire that affects the entire area of the screen. The bombs are screen clearing and repeatedly damage enemy until the fire disappears. The bombed area also cancels all bullets. However, the player is not invincible when bombing and may still die if ramming into an enemy.


You have access to two normal weapons and two special weapons. You can switch between the normal weapons by picking up the C items. The two main weapons can be upgraded by picking up two "P" items.

  • The 8-directional laser fires in whatever direction you're moving, and creates a sweep of bullets as you change direction.
  • The 3-way wide shot always shoots forward.

The two special weapons are used when collecting their corresponding SP item, randomly dropped by enemies.

  • The Super Burner is similar to the 8-directional laser but with shorter range and increased power
  • The Super Ball will rotate around you when you keep the button pressed, and will be launched forward when you release the button


Outzonebombitem.PNG Bomb: Adds 1 to your bomb stock.
Outzoneenergybox.PNGOutzoneeenergyitem.PNG Energy item: Partially fills up your energy bar. In two-player games, two energy items will appear in each container, and can only be collected by the player of the matching color.
Outzonecitembox.PNG Outzonecitem.PNG Change: Changes your main weapon to free range if you have fixed, or fixed if you have free range. If you have a special weapon (Super Burner or Super Ball) when picking it up, you go back to the main weapon you had just before.
Powerup.PNG Power-Up: Dropped by red enemies, increases the power of your main weapon by 1 level. Two are required for full power.
Outzonesuperburner.PNG Yellow - Super Burner: Replaces your main shot with the Super Burner weapon, which can shoot a column of flames in 8 directions and based on your character's position.
Outzonesuperball.PNG Pink - Super Ball: Replaces your main shot with the Super Ball weapon, which has a constantly rotating ball that contact damages any enemies it touches and can be launched forwards with a button press.
Outzoneshelid.PNG Pale Pink - Shield: Gives the player a Shield that allows them to take one bullet without dying. The player will still die if they ram into an enemy or against some attacks such as lasers.
Outzonespeedup.PNG Blue - Speed up: Increases the player's speed.
Outzoneenergyextend.PNG Green - Energy Extend: Increases the player's energy bar, allowing them to survive for a longer period of time without energy pickups. Also completely fills up your energy bar.
Outzone1up.png Red - 1UP: Gives the player a 1up. Very rare item and only present in the first loop.

Hit Box

The player's hit box covers the chest and legs, making the head and gun of the character unaffected.


When dying by a bullet or enemy collision, a large explosion will occur where the player died that covers the entire sprite. This is meaningless when playing solo.


Rank is tied to survival and maxes out in loop 3.


The game will loop indefinitely.


Points are awarded by shooting enemies, destroying item boxes, and blowing up destructible environments like wall columns.

Power Ups and Bombs: Collecting power ups and bombs yields 100 pts each. After you have collected 10 bombs, additional bomb pickups yield 5,000 points each.

End Stage Bonus: 5000 points are awarded for each bomb left over at the end of the stage.

Zero Wing Bonus: These give up to 50k each and can appear 9 times in a loop (1 in stages 2-4, 2 in stages 5-7). So they can give up to 450k points in a loop. They appear in certain spots if you've picked up eight C items at that point. The counter resets back to one if you pick up a ninth C item.

Pipiru Bonus: Appears in Stage 1 and gives 5k points if you destroy it immediately, up to 40k if you manage to bring Pipiru to the Stage 1 boss.


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


In an advanced space era, humanity encountered, traded and formed alliances with many alien races to ensure security. Humanity had been subject to past invasions from hostile outside forces but the alliances Earth forged granted victories in the past. However in the year 2095, Earth had been subjected a to new invasion launched by the alien military force of planet Owagira, with overwhelmingly powerful and sophisticated weaponry than anything Earth's alliance could counter. With the threat of annihilation looming over, Earth's United Nations receive a message from an alien elder within their alliances about the existence of an ultra-elite mercenary unit named "Out Zone" at a remote region of the Milky Way galaxy. Known as "Space Entrepreneurs" and renowned for their fighting skills by other alien alliances, Out Zone takes sides with no one and are willing to fight any wars for the proper price. Under desperation and as a last-ditch effort to counterattack Owagira's military force, the UN requests Out Zone's service, guaranting Earth's entire budget as payment. With negotiations complete, two very powerful cyborg mercenaries belonging to Out Zone volunteer for the mission to fight for Earth. Having ties to Earth and realizing that their homeworld is in great peril, the two warriors rise up to save it from doom and destroy the Owagira Forces.

Development History

Uemura recounted its development process and history in a 2017 interview, stating that it was difficult for him as he could not apply his experience from vertical-scrolling shooters with flying ships, as players controlled the game on-foot and could not design its progress.[1] He stated that the project was fundamentally different due to the lack of forced scrolling, which did not required skills from vertical shoot 'em ups and players could move or stop freely.[1][2] Uemura stated that the intro was written during creation of the demonstration sequence, as the game's world was already established.[3] The team integrated puzzle elements not found in ship-based shooters, which took time to plan out and Uemura stated that the schedule for sound production was constantly being reduced, barely implementing the music during development.[1] When composing the music for the last stage, Uemura wanted to convey the sense of a "decisive battle".[1] Uemura has since regarded the project as "the most difficult product he worked on".[1]

Version Differences

  • JP version contains additional text during the attract mode and after you beat the stage 7 boss.


There is currently only one port of the game 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:

  • 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
  • Online leaderboards, only accessible when not using assists.


The game contains several references to previous Toaplan works, such as

  • Pipiru, Toaplan's mascot, appears in Stage 1 if you shoot a specific area
  • Planes from Hishouzame help you if you shoot some bushes in Stage 2 in a specific order. Their behavior is similar to the helper planes in Daisenpuu.
  • The Zero Wing ship can give you a point bonus if you reach specific areas fulfilling a certain condition (see the Advanced Strategy page.)
  • The ship from Tatsujin will help you if you have exactly 7 bombs upon destroy the door at the beginning of Stage 4. It follows you, automatically fires its signature 3-way shot at a slow rate and blocks bullets. The ship is destroyed after taking 20 hits and it's shot goes through some walls. The ship leaves when reaching the Stage 4 boss if it hasn't been destroyed at this point.


See (Template Page)/Gallery for our collection of images and scans for the game.

References & Contributors

* This template page was assembled by CHA-STG and Plasmo.