The Museum Monster presents:
a WEIRD MOMENT IN VIDEO GAMES.
About halfway through the arcade version of Star Force, a prominent early shooter made by Tehkan (later renamed Tecmo, and now half of Tecmo-Koei) something weird happens.
Shooters were in a kind of odd phase right then. The enormously influential Xevious was fresh in memory, and it presented, as a striking and memorable background element, the Nazca lines from Peru. It lent the game an air of mystery that impressed many Japanese players.
Perhaps inspired by that, Tehkan’s developers put something similarly bizarre in Star Force, but it’s a lot better hidden. First, you have to get about halfway through the game. Once there, on the ground of the weird space continents that float by serenely beneath your craft, you can spot a coelacanth, a whopping-great space fish.
Then, if you aim your ship’s guns at the spot at the right side of the screen that it’s looking at, and fire your guns a whole bunch of times, you’ll make the golden head you can see in the above screenshot appear. Then, fire at it a whole bunch more. If you’re relying on autofire it won’t do, you must actually pound away at the fire button yourself to have any hope of unloading as much firepower as needed to destroy it. If you do, this happens:
Here is a recording I made of this being done in gameplay. Note, I had an invincibility cheat on, because not only is the game extremely hard at this point, but unloading enough shots into it requires you to stay in one place for a while. In a real gameplay situation your only hope is to encounter Cleo during the lull between enemy waves.
Huh. So, what is that about anyway? It like triples your score! There is no mention of Cleopatra anywhere else in the game, and no hint as to what she’s doing sleeping on a big purple island floating out in deep space. This doesn’t occur anywhere else. It just a thing that happens.
A VERY WEIRD THING!