RPO Replay: Heavy Barrel

The Ready Player One Replay is an exploration of the games that inspired the novel Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.


Aech and I had wasted countless hours on two-player classics like Contra, Golden Axe, Heavy Barrel, Smash TV, and Ikari Warriors.

Game Play

Heavy Barrel is a top-down shooter in which one- or two-players blast their way through myriad enemies in a quest to secure all the components to the game’s namesake “Heavy Barrel” weapon. As with Contra, it takes it character design from the Rambo-school of bad assess, and like that game, it’s a great way to burn through virtual quarters.


Heavy Barrel is the first game on the Ready Player One Replay that I didn’t play as a kid. Like Contra and Ikari Warriors, it wasn’t the sort of game I was into in high school. If I was going to blow a roll of quarters on a game, it was going to be Golden AxeBlasteroids, or Off-Road; this sort of game never even popped up on my radar.

That said, there’s another reason I never played it: I never owned a Nintendo NES. Many of these games made the jump from arcade to console … but only for the NES (or pimarily for the NES). At the time, I was more into my Commodore 64/128 (and then Windows-based PC gaming) and I skipped over that generation of consoles. After the Atari, I didn’t really get back into consoles until the Sega Genesis came out. Heck, my first Nintendo hardware was the original Game Boy; I didn’t own a Nintendo console until the Nintendo 64 dropped in the mid-1990s.

As a result, there’s a Nintendo-sized hole in my video game experience (see also: the original Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong … you name it, I didn’t play it). Since then, thanks to re-releases and emulators, I’ve gone back and played some of what I missed, but the hole remains.

As for Heavy Barrel itself … it’s decent enough, and it’s got that mindless shooter vibe going for it. I can see how it would be great to tag-team this with another person, but again, there were other games I’d rather spend my quarters on.


Where to Play


Featured Image

  • Screenshot from Heavy Barrel.
  • Game credit: Data East.


%d bloggers like this: