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Irem
アイレム

Irem deserve a special mention. Best known for the R-Type series, they are also responsible for a string of unforgettable arcade titles.
From the pioneering Moon Patrol (1982) and Spartan X (1984) to the exquisite design work of Image Fight (1988) Daiku no Gen-san (1990) and Kaitei Daisensou (1993) their work was always delivered in a style that was uniquely their own.
From their humble beginnings in the 70s right through to their 'rebirth' in 1997, Irem are still going today - but only just. With a bit of luck, they might still have a bit of the old magic up their sleeve.
             
 
HISTORY
A quick look at Irem's origins and arcade chronology
 
GOODS
A small selection of Irem-related merchandise on sale
 
SOFTWARE
The complete Irem home consumer software catalogue
 
             


IREM HISTORY

 
Irem was founded in 1974 as 'IPM Corporation' in Hakusan, Japan. Like most of their contemporaries, the company's initial purpose was to produce and rent out leisure machinery to various sections of the booming electronic entertainment industry.
With the advent of arcades and the Space Invaders (1978) boom, Irem opted to quickly move toward developing and manufacturing their own titles. They hastily released their own 'invader clone', the aptly named IPM Invader (1978).
IPM Invader was a crude and shameless copycat of Taito's milestone, but yet the rapidly expanding arcade business saw the game sell well regardless, convincing the company that games were a viable business opportunity.
In 1979 they changed their corporate name to Irem Corporation, an acronym for 'International Rental Electronics Machines'. This would stand until the mid-80s, when it would then be changed to 'Innovations in Recreational Electronic Media'.
For their first few years, Irem's output was average at best. If anything it could almost be considered poor: random invader clones and poorly produced action games disappeared amongst the numerous other titles of the day. It wouldn't be until the arrival of Moon Patrol (1982) that Irem would make any mark of their own.
 

 

IPM Invader (1978)
 

Moon Patrol (1982)
 

 
As Irem's only release of 1982, Moon Patrol made a huge mark for itself: it was a sharp, fun, and addictive side-on racing game that involved guiding a small lunar buggy across a dangerous terrain, while avoiding and gunning down a variety of obstacles and flying saucers. It was an instant hit, that was rapidly picked up by US game company Williams for distribution in the US.
1983 also proved to be a fruitful year for Irem: 10-Yard Fight and Zippy Race became cult hits in Japan, and in 1984, Spartan X made sure that Irem's name would be on the map for good.
Released as 'Kung Fu Master' in the West, Spartan X was loosely based on the Jackie Chan film of the same name - and following a hugely successful run in the arcades, went on to become a massive worldwide hit on the Famicom, converted and distributed by none less than Nintendo themselves.
The success of Spartan X was rapidly followed by Irem's clever licensing of Broderbund's Lode Runner (1984) and Spelunker (1986) for arcade distribution, both of which would become massive hits for Irem.
Well off the mark in the arcade market, Irem swiftly moved into home console development, becoming one of the Famicom's leading publishers thanks in great part to a hugely successful 1985 port of Spelunker. Irem were building up to a massive crescendo - the late 80s would prove to be the company's golden years, and the main reason why they are featured on this site: between 1987 and 1990 they would release no less than 8 arcade masterpieces.
 


R-Type (1987)

 
R-Type (1987) is widely acknowledged to be one of the most important shooting games of all time: its clever gameplay design, sumptuous visuals and tense atmosphere make it the definitive shooting game of the 80s, a benchmark that few managed to equal. It is hard to fault it in any way, except maybe that its extraordinary success managed to overshadow Irem's other two shooting games of the period, the quirky Mr. Heli (1987) and the excellent Image Fight (1988).
Irem also struck gold with Vigilante (1988), a sharp, violent and entertaining successor of sorts to Spartan X and the sumptuous Saigo no Nindo (1988), a smooth and phenomenally playable action game that went on to become a huge worldwide success as 'Ninja Spirit'.
 

 
And it just didn't stop: Irem continued to produce excellent work: Legend of Hero Tonma (1989) is a criminally under-rated action platform game, R-Type II (1989) delivered on every front, and 1990's Daiku no Gen-san became a massive worldwide cult.
Known as 'Hammerin' Harry' outside of Japan, Gen-san's clever architecture and memorable characters won hearts the world over. Irem would go on to produce no less than six home releases based on the character - but then never relased them outside of Japan.
And that marked the first of a series of very bad decisions made by the company, that sadly would cause them to crumble and fall in the space of a few years.
 

 
TO BE CONTINUED...
 
1978
IPM Invader
IPMインベーダー
IPM Mahjong
IPM麻雀
Color Circus
カラーサーカス
Star Dust
スターダスト
Table Block
テーブルブロック
Nyankoro
ニャンコロ
Power Block
パワーブロック
Piccolo
ピッコロ
Line Ball
ラインボール
1979
Commander
コマンダー
Mahjong DX
麻雀DX
New Block X / New Block Z
ニューブロックX / ニューブロックZ
Space Beam
スペースビーム
Space Command
スペースコマンド
Andromeda
アンドロメダ
1980
Panther
パンサー
Sky Chuter
スカイ シュター
Ginga Teikoku no Gyakushū
銀河帝国の逆襲
Green Beret
グリーンベレー
1981
Demoneye-X
デモンアイX
Oli - Boo - Chu
パンチングキッド
Red Alert
WW3
1982
May
Moon Patrol
ムーンパトロール
1983
Tropical Angel
トロピカルエンジェル
1984
The Battle Road
ザ・バトルロード
Wily Tower
ワイリータワー
1985
Battle Bird
バトルバード
Horizon
ホライゾン
Sep
Lot Lot
ロットロット
1986
Feb
Spelunker
スペランカー
May
Yō Jyu Den
妖獣伝
Oct
Spelunker II
スペランカーII
23の鍵
Dec
Kaiketsu Yanchamaru
快傑ヤンチャ丸
1987
1988
June
Meikyu Jima
迷宮島
1989
1990
Air Duel
エアデュエル
Major Title
メジャータイトル
Pound for Pound
パウンド・フォー・パウンド
1991
Gunforce
ガンフォース
July
Cross Blades
クロスブレイズ
Hasamu
覇沙夢
Ken-Go
剣豪
Thunder Blaster
サンダーブラスター
1992
Hook
フック
Major Title 2
メジャータイトル
2
Mahō Keiditai Ganhooki
魔法警備隊ガンホーキ
Quiz F-1
クイズ F1
1993
Air Assault
エアアサルト
Fire Barrel
ファイヤーバレル
Perfect Soldiers
パーフェクトソルジャーズ
Yakyu Kakuto League Man
野球格闘リーグマン
1994
Dream Soccer '94
ドリームサッカー'94
Geo Storm
ジオストーム


IREM GOODS
 
Irem Arcade Classics
アイレム アーケード クラシックス
SEGA SATURN
DETAILS
Format Sega Saturn
Released 26 Apr 1996
Publisher I'MAX
Product ID T-22403G
Size (cm) 14.2 x 12.4 x 1
Weight (kg) 0.10
PRICE
STATUS

Celebrational 3-in-1 'Arcade Classics' compilation that features:
- 10-Yard Fight (1983)
- Zippy Race (1983)
- Spartan X (1984)
All three games are arcade perfect, the only downside is that there is no backup / save feature for high scores.

CD case, Sega Saturn CD-ROM disc, 20-page colour booklet, spine card.


Irem Arcade Classics
アイレム アーケード クラシックス
PLAYSTATION
DETAILS
Format PlayStation
Released 26 Apr 1996
Publisher I'MAX
Product ID SLPS-00341
Size (cm) 14.2 x 12.4 x 1
Weight (kg) 0.10
PRICE
STATUS
The PlayStation also gets its share of classic Irem action, with three timeless arcade gems from the 80s:
- 10-Yard Fight (1983)
- Zippy Race (1983)
- Spartan X (1984)
Again, no memory card feature. But aside from that this is a great package, that has steadily been gaining a little more value than its Sega Saturn counterpart.

CD case, PlayStation CD-ROM disc, colour booklet, spine card.

Irem Retro Game Music Collection
アイレム レトロゲームミュージックコレクション

SOUNDTRACK
DETAILS
Format Audio CD
Released 29 Sep 2010
Publisher TEAM Entertainment
Product ID KDSD-00367
Size (cm) 14.2 x 12.4 x 1
Weight (kg) 0.10
PRICE
STATUS
Retrospective soundtrack compilation featuring 5 classic Irem scores:
- Image Fight (1988)
- X Multiply (1989)
- Dragon Breed (1989)
- Gallop (1991)
- Kaitei Daisensou (1993)

CD case, 74-track audio CD, booklet, spine card.

 





IREM SOFTWARE
 
Featured below is a detailed chronology of every Irem home consumer release!
Click on an icon below to skip to a certain format:
 
------------
----------------
 
Don't forget!
If you are searching for a specific title,
use your browser's CTRL+F function anytime to search
 


IF-01
18 July 1985
Racing
IF-02
30 Aug 1985
Sport (US Football)

Released in
US & Europe
IF-03
Spelunker
スペランカー
7 Dec 1985
Platform / Puzzle

Licensed from Brøderbund

Released in US
IF-04
Sqoon
スクーン
26 June 1986
Shooting

Licensed from Homedata

Released in US
IF-05
Mashō
魔鐘
15 Dec 1986
Action RPG

Licensed from Lenar

Released in US as
'Deadly Towers'
IF-06
Spelunker II - Yūsha e no Chōsen
スペランカーII 勇者への挑戦
18 Sep 1987
Platform / Puzzle

Licensed from Brøderbund
IF-07
Kaiketsu Yanchamaru
快傑ヤンチャ丸
2 Oct 1987
Action Platform

Released in US as
'Kid Niki Radical Ninja'
IF-08
Guardic Gaiden
ガーディック外伝
5 Feb 1987
Shooting

Licensed by Compile
Released in US & Europe as 'The Guardian Legend'
IF-09
Napoleon Senki
ナポレオン戦記
18 Mar 1988
Strategy

Licensed from Lenar
IF-10
Hototogisu
不如帰
19 Aug 1988
Strategy

Developed by Tamtex
IF-11
Nishimura Kyōtarō Mystery
Blue Train Satsujin Jiken

西村京太郎ミステリー
ブルートレイン殺人事件
20 Jan 1989
Murder Mystery
IF-12
Holy Diver
ホーリーダイヴァー
28 Apr 1989
Action
IF-13
Major League
メジャーリーグ
27 Oct 1989
Sport (Baseball)
IF-14
16 Mar 1990
Shooting

Released in US
IF-15
Gekitotsu Yonku Battle
激突四駆バトル
17 Nov 1989
Racing
IF-16
Shinsenden
神仙伝
15 Dec 1989
RPG
IF-17
Nishimura Kyōtarō Mystery
Super Express Satsujin Jiken

西村京太郎ミステリー
スーパーエクスプレス殺人事件
2 Mar 1990
Murder Mystery
IF-18
Meikyū Jima
迷宮島
29 June 1990
Action

Released in
US & Europe as
'Kickle Cubicle'
IF-19
IF-20
Perman
パーマン
14 Dec 1990
Action
IF-21
Jūryoku Sōkō Metal Storm
重力装甲メタルストーム
24 Apr 1992
Action

Released in US
IF-22
Kaiketsu Yanchamaru 2 - Karakuri Land
快傑ヤンチャ丸2 からくりランド
30 Aug 1991
Action
IF-23
Spartan X 2
スパルタンX2
27 Sep 1991
Action
IF-24
15 Nov 1991
Action

Released in Europe
only (not US) as
'Hammerin' Harry'
IF-25
Perman Part 2
Himitsu Kessha Madodan o Taose!

パーマンPART2 秘密結社マドー団をたおせ!
20 Dec 1991
Action
IF-26
Taiyō no Yūsha Fighbird
太陽の勇者ファイバード
11 Jan 1992
Shooting
IF-27
Ai Sensei no Oshiete - Watashi no Hoshi
愛先生のO・SHI・E・TE わたしの星
26 Mar 1993
Quiz
IF-28
Kaiketsu Yanchamaru 3 - Taiketsu! Zouringen
快傑ヤンチャ丸3 対決!ゾウリンゲン
30 Mar 1993
Action
IF-29
22 Oct 1993
Action
IFD-KIN
Kineko
きね子
28 Nov 1986
Puzzle

Licensed from
Sadato Taneda
IFD-KI2
Kineko II
きね子II
15 Feb 1987
Puzzle

Licensed from
Sadato Taneda
IFD-SLR
5 Mar 1987
Platform / Puzzle

Licensed from Brøderbund
IFD-MJK
Mahjong Kazoku
麻雀家族
4 Aug 1987
Mahjong
IFD-YOK
Yōkai Yashiki
妖怪屋敷
23 Oct 1987
Action


IM-01
Spelunker
スペランカー

1986

MSX
Platform / Puzzle
Licensed from Brøderbund

IM-02
1986
MSX
Sport (American Football)
IM-03
1987
MSX2
Platform / Puzzle
Licensed from Brøderbund
IM-04
Dec 1988
MSX
Shooting


IC01001

Vol.1
14 Jan 1989
Action
IC01002

Vol.2
1 Dec 1989
Shooting
IC02003

Vol.3
27 July 1990
Shooting
IC02004

Vol.4
6 July 1990
Action
aka 'Ninja Spirit'
IC03005

Vol.5
13 Mar 1991
Action
IC03006

Vol.6
19 July 1991
Racing
IC04007

Vol.7
Gekisha Boy
激写ボーイ
2 Oct 1992
Action

ICCD1001

20 Dec 1991
Shooting

ICCD2002

18 Dec 1992
Shooting

ICCD3003

Eiyū Sangokushi
英雄三国志
26 Mar 1993
Simulation

ICCD3004

Sol Moonarge
ソル モナージュ
7 Jan 1994
RPG


IX68-01
June 1989
Shooting
IX68-02
14 Dec 1990
Shooting


DMG-MAA

IG-01
Shisenshō
四川省
13 July 1990
Puzzle
DMG-SXJ

IG-02
11 Dec 1990
Action
DMG-REA

IG-03
19 Mar 1991
Shooting
DMG-RDJ

IG-04
28 Feb 1991
Racing
DMG-YMJ

IG-05
Ganso!! Yanchamaru
元祖!! ヤンチャ丸
11 July 1991
Action
DMG-TYJ

IG-06
Taiyō no Yūsha Fighbird GB
太陽の勇者ファイバードGB
20 Dec 1991
Shooting
DMG-DIJ

IG-07
31 July 1992
Action
DMG-NWJ

IG-08
Noobow
ぬ~ぼ~
11 Dec 1992
Action
DMG-QGJ

IG-09
Kizuchi da Quiz da Gen-san da!
木づちだ クイズだ 源さんだ!
18 Dec 1992
Quiz
DMG-RZA

IG-10
11 Dec 1992
Shooting
DMG-IFJ

IG-11
Shuyaku Sentai Irem Fighter
主役戦隊アイレムファイター
30 July 1993
Strategy
DMG-UJA

IG-12
18 Dec 1993
Action
DMG-UZJ

IG-13
10 Dec 1993
Strategy
DMG-D9J

IG-15
25 Mar 1994
Action


SHVC-SR
13 July 1991
Shooting

Released in
US & Europe
SHVC-DW
Dino Wars - Kyōryū Ōkoku e no Daibōken
ダイナウォーズ 恐竜王国への大冒険
17 July 1992
Action

Released in US
as 'DinoCity'
SHVC-GU
GunForce
ガンフォース
27 Nov 1992
Action

Released in US
SHVC-MT
Major Title
メジャータイトル
4 Dec 1992
Sport (Golf)

Released in US as
'Irem Skins Game'
Europe 'Major Title'
SHVC-NP
Nitro Punks - Might Heads
ニトロパンクス マイトヘッズ
30 July 1993
Action

Released in US
as 'Rocky Rodent'
SHVC-ER
10 Dec 1993
Shooting

Released in
US & Europe


SLPS-00588
Gussun Paradise
ぐっすんぱらだいす
22 Nov 1996
Action

Released in
US & Europe as
'Yoyo's Puzzle Park'
SLPS-01236
5 Feb 1998
Shooting

Released in
US & Europe
SLPS-01688
19 Nov 1998
Shooting

Released in
US & Europe
SLPS-02164
Sanyo Pachinko Paradise
三洋パチンコパラダイス
29 July 1999
Pachinko
SLPS-02389
Sanyo Pachinko Paradise 2
Umi Monogatari Special

三洋パチンコパラダイス2 ~海物語スペシャル~
18 Nov 1999
Pachinko
SLPS-02633
Sanyo Pachinko Paradise 3
Wan Wan Daikōshin

三洋パチンコパラダイス3 ~わんわん大行進~
9 Mar 2000
Pachinko
SLPS-02935
Carton-kun
カートンくん
21 Sep 2000
Puzzle
SLPS-02988
Sanyo Pachinko Paradise 4
Sushiya da Gen-san!!

三洋パチンコパラダイス4 ~寿司屋だ源さん!!~
12 Oct 2000
Pachinko
SLPS-03190
Sanyo Pachinko Paradise 5
Uki Uki Tairyō Hata

三洋パチンコパラダイス5 ~ウキウキ大漁旗~
10 May 2001
Pachinko
SLPS-03312
Shinsō Kaiten!! Wan Wan Umi Monogatari
Sanyo Pachinko Paradise DX

新装開店!!ワンワン海物語
~三洋パチンコパラダイスDX~
25 Oct 2001
Pachinko


SLPM-20091
Gekisha Boy 2 - Tokudane Daikoku Nippon
激写ボーイ2 ~特ダネ大国ニッポン~
31 May 2001
Action
SLPM-20102
Sanyo Pachinko Paradise 6
Ginpani Daisuizokukan

三洋パチンコパラダイス6 ~ギンパニ大水族館~
28 June 2001
Pachinko
SLPS-25113
Zettai Zetsumei Toshi
絶体絶命都市
25 Apr 2002
Action

Released in US as
'Disaster Report'
Europe as 'SOS - The Final Escape'
SLPS-20194
U - Underwater Unit
-U- アンダーウォーターユニット
2 May 2002
Action

Released in US as
'Sub Rebellion'
SLPS-20203
Sanyo Pachinko Paradise 7
Edokko Gen-san

三洋パチンコパラダイス7 ~江戸っ子源さん~
27 June 2002
Pachinko
SLPS-20261
Sanyo Pachinko Paradise 8
Shin Kai Monogatari

三洋パチンコパラダイス8 ~新海物語~
27 Mar 2003
Pachinko
SLPS-25247
17 July 2003
Shooting

Released in
US & Europe
SLPS-25249
Sanyo Pachinko Paradise 9
Shin Kai Okawari!

三洋パチンコパラダイス9 ~新海おかわりっ!~
6 Nov 2003
Pachinko
SLPS-20375
Sanyo Pachinko Paradise 10
Gen-san Okaeri!

三洋パチンコパラダイス10 ~源さん おかえりっ!~
27 May 2004
Pachinko
SLPS-25363
Sakurazaka Shōbōtai
桜坂消防隊
10 June 2004
Action
SLPS-25455
Sanyo Pachinko Paradise 11
Shin Kai to Saraba Gintama no Ōkami

三洋パチンコパラダイス11 ~新海とさらば銀玉の狼~
24 Feb 2005
Pachinko
SLPS-25457
Ponkotsu Roman Daikatsugeki Bumpy Trot
ポンコツ浪漫大活劇 バンピートロット
30 June 2005
RPG

Released in US as
'Steambot Chronicles'
SLPS-20443
Blokus Club with Bumpy Trot
ブロックス倶楽部 with バンピートロット
17 Nov 2005
Table
SLPS-25574
Pachi Para 12
Taikai to Natsu no Omoide

パチパラ12 ~大海と夏の思い出~
15 Dec 2005
Pachinko
SLPS-25606
Zettai Zetsumei Toshi 2 - Itetsuita Kioku-tachi
絶体絶命都市2 -凍てついた記憶たち-
30 Mar 2006
Action

aka 'Raw Danger!'
SLPS-25682
Pachi Para 13
Super Kai to Pachi Pro Fu'unroku

パチパラ13 ~スーパー海とパチプロ風雲録~
26 Oct 2006
Pachinko


ULJS-00068
Blokus Club Portable with Bumpy Trot
ブロックス倶楽部ポータブル with バンピートロット
21 Sep 2006
Table
ULJS-00105
Mawaskes
マワスケス based on "Carton-kun"
19 July 2007
Puzzle
ULJS-00111
20 Sep 2007
Strategy
ULJS-00130
Ponkotsu Roman Daikatsugeki Bumpy Trot
Vehicle Battle Tournament

ポンコツ浪漫大活劇バンピートロット
ビークルバトルトーナメント
10 July 2008
Action
ULJS-00141
Ikuze! Gen-san - Yūyake Daiku Monogatari
いくぜっ!源さん ~夕焼け大工物語~
15 May 2008
Action
ULJS-00159
Sengoku Efuda Yūgi - Hototogisu Ran
戦国絵札遊戯 不如帰-HOTOTOGISU- 乱
13 Nov 2008
Trading Card
ULJS-00191
Zettai Zetsumei Toshi 3
絶体絶命都市3 -壊れゆく街と彼女の歌-
23 Apr 2009
Action
ULJS-00177
Narisokonai Eiyūtan
Taiyō to Tsuki no Monogatari

なりそこない英雄譚 ~太陽と月の物語~
23 July 2009
RPG

'Legend of Hero Narisokonai'
ULJS-00233
10 Dec 2009
Strategy
ULJS-00326
Sengoku Efuda Yūgi - Hototogisu Tairan
戦国絵札遊戯 不如帰 大乱
9 Sep 2010
Trading Card




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