First released in arcades in 1986 as a spin-off to Gradius, Salamander is a game that brought with it many innovations to the Schmup genre. Building on the success of Gradius, Salamander saw players introduced for the first time to two player co-op gameplay, a simplified power-up system, and both horizontal and vertical scrolling stages. In fact, with many of these elements becoming staples of the Gradius series, Salamander can justifiably be seen as a milestone title in the Schmup genre, even if it doesn’t get the praise Gradius does.
As such, it’s obvious why Konami had planned to celebrate the game’s 30th anniversary in style, with a HD Remake for mobile devices. Unfortunately though, whilst we still haven’t reached the game’s 30th anniversary, it would seem as though Konami have quietly cancelled the project for reasons unknown. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean that we’ll never get to play this tribute to a classic shooter of the 8-bit era.
You see, despite the cancellation order from Konami head office, it would seem as though one developer at Konami’s Shanghai studio wasn’t quite ready to give up on the Salamander HD remake. As such, rather than accept the order to cancel, one unnamed developer has not only decided to finish the remake, but also decided to unofficially leak it online for retro gamers worldwide. This comes in form of a downloadable .APK file which can be installed on any Android device, as long as the device is set to allow unauthorised devices.
Unfortunately though, given that the game was being developed in China, players will find that the game contains very little English text. Furthermore, as the game was planned to be a freemium release, the game does contain numerous free to play mechanics which may or may not work. Despite all this though, once players get into the gameplay, they’ll be treated to some classic retro Schmup action, served with a side of visually impressive graphics.
Salamander is an iconic game of the 8-Bit era, even if it is a little under appreciated and largely unknown by many. That’s why the cancellation of this project really was sad news indeed. However, every cloud has a silver lining, and it’s nice to hear that gamer’s will still be able either see or try this remake out for themselves. If you don’t fancy that though, there’s always the classic original, a game that every retro fan owes it to themselves to play at east once.