The Vasara games were a pair of shmups released back in 2000-2001 by Visco for the arcade. There hasn't been a port of them...until now! While these two games are pretty obscure for shmups, they do have the unique distinction of being both Sengoku-like era shooters, with both having unique twists on the smart bomb formula and how they handles their final levels.
Vasara sets itself apart from most shooters by taking place in a pseudo-Sengoku era setting. (This means an era that had flying warships, fighters, tanks, and mechs.) There are only five levels with about two parts each, and a final level on top of that. But this game is challenging, and not just for your typical reasons either.
You can choose from several warriors, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Some shoot more powerful direct shots, whereas others have various spread shots. There's also the ability to use screen-clearing bombs. The other twists that's shared between the two games is that the final level doesn't let you keep going when you continue. If you die, then you'll have to restart the whole level over again.
On the other hand, Vasara II isn't much different than the first game. The playable characters are different enough for the most part, although they are built practically the same from the previous game's characters in terms of abilities. How it does set itself apart from the last game is that the smart bombs work differently for each character. Some are screen-clearing blasts, others act more like a melee attack that acts more like a damaging shield that can erase bullets but is typically more damaging.
As a collection, the emulation of these two games are great, fun, and very challenging. The way the final level works makes it a bit inaccessible to casual players. Fair warning: there is unfortunately no save state support to get you through that hell! At the very least, there are multiple display options to fit your play-style the best. The games also were localized, a nice bonus considering the many ports M2 have done lately are not. If you want a decent collection of two quirky shmups, you might want to give this a try.
The Good: The translation is pretty good.
The Bad: Dialog text is a bit hard to read.
The Ugly: The final level has a bizarre mechanic that makes it unnecessarily tougher.
SUMMARY: Vasara Collection has two shmups that are indeed classic, but also very difficult!
Eric is a freelance writer and has a podcast called RPGrinders, and you can support their Patreon page here.