Elevator Action: For Old Times’ Sake


How many times have you walked in an elevator and starting thinking you were in the 1983 Taito game, Eleveator Action? Never! Really? It must be me, I am strange like that.

Since Elevator Action is turning 30 this year, I thought it was a good opportunity to have a game, for old times’ sake. So, how does it stack up after all these years – is it still fun to play? Read on.


For those that have never laid eyes on this game, the protagonist is Otto, or Agent 17. Otto is tasked with collecting secret documents from rooms (behind red doors) within the 30-floor building. He makes his way between floors via the elevator (hence the title – d’oh) and on certain floors, he can use the escalators. To make things interesting, enemies appear at the most inopportune time to get Otto and derail his whole secret mission.


Otto is no slouch when it comes to defending himself. As a secret agent, he is armed and dangerous. His trusty gun can fire three bullets per shot. If that doesn’t work, the enemies can be kicked. By far the most satisfying way to eliminate the bad guys, is by shooting a light on the ceiling while in the elevator, dropping the light onto the baddies. The byproduct of a dropped light is that the hallways become temporarily dark which makes the enemies harder to see – makes the heart rate go up a notch too. Another way to get kills on the board is to crush the bad dudes with the elevator – gee I’m a sadist.

After Otto collects all documents, he has to make his way down to the basement where he can escape via his getaway car. For some inexplicable reason, Otto proceeds to another building for more secret document hunting instead of driving off in the sunset. Ah, once an agent, always an agent.


The controls are four-way (up, down, left, right) with two buttons, one for firing, the other for jumping/kicking – Taito catered for right and left-handed players by having these buttons on either side of the centred joystick. The game can become hectic, with the timer ticking down and enemy spies that pop-up just when you don’t want them to. Even though the action may seem limited, the game is still as much fun to play now, as it was 30 years ago. The graphics and sound could do with a spruce up, but back then, it was all about instant playability – which Elevator Action has in abundance.

Graphics Very basic in this department – enemies wear the traditional black suit with top-hat to match. Documents are hidden behind red doors, and the elevator is cool to watch go up and down.


Sound Run of the mill bleeps and blops. Nothing to tune your ears into.


Playability Taito plonged the joystick in the middle, with buttons on either side – catering for both right and left-handed players. Pick your buttons, and away you go being a secret agent.


Lastability The gameplay may feel limited, but this is not a game to play for hours on end. It is great to play in short bursts from time to time.


Overall Up, Down, Left, Right, Jump, Fire. No, not the Konami code, just the control mechanisms for a secret agent. Great game to kill 10 minutes of your time.



elevator_action_machine_ausretrogamerManufacturer: Taito
Year: 1983
Genre: Platform
Number of Simultaneous Players: 1
Maximum number of Players: 2
Gameplay: Alternating
Control Panel Layout: Single Player
– Joystick: 4-way [up, down, left, right]
– Buttons: 2 [Fire and Jump]
Sound: Amplified Mono (single channel)





R-Type: PC-Engine

Platform: PC-Engine
Format: HuCard
Developer: Hudson Soft / Irem
Released: 1988 (Japan) / 1989 (US)
Genre: Shoot’em Up



Irem’s legendary side scrolling shoot’em up is regarded as one of the PC-Engine’s most accomplished arcade conversions. This was (and still is) the PC-Engine’s ‘killer app’. The game-play is simple, pilot your R-9 fighter to wipe out the evil Bydo Empire.

Your R-9 fighter is equipped with a small gun which can only shoot down the smallest of enemies without firing several shots. But, if you hold down the fire button long enough, you can load up your shot so it releases a massive burst of energy, eliminating all but the strongest enemies in its path.  To assist in bringing down tougher Bydo enemies (and help you get further in this tough game), there are souped up weapons that can be collected along the way, like the diagonally firing lasers and the mega powerful circular red laser. When combined with the homing missiles and orbs that protect you, your R-9 becomes a Bydo blasting behemoth.

There aren’t enough superlatives you could use to describe how great this game is. From the music, to the graphics, the stage layouts, the enemies – they are all perfect in this coin-op conversion. Even the difficulty is spot on (it’s tough) ! This is as close to a perfect horizontally scrolling shoot’em up you can get on the PC-Engine. Do not miss it !

Graphics As close as possible to arcade perfect.


Sound Your ears will thank you.


Playability Easy to pick up and play, but tough to beat and master. The difficulty is just right.


Lastability You will be playing this for years to come. All side-scrolling shoot’em ups are judged against this game.


Overall If you have a PC-Engine, this is your killer app. Go and get it !