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Shoot things, and turn your ship into a Phoenix

Terra Cresta or The Cresta Series is a series of Shoot 'em ups by Nichibutsu, that started with Moon Cresta in 1980.

In each game, you pilot a different ship. The main thing each ship has in common is access to various power-ups that increase your firepower, but often render you more vulnerable due to the increase in the size of your ship's hitbox. However, getting a part hit will not destroy your entire ship: just destroy that part. The drawback here is that Power-ups have to be gotten in a certain order, which can make things a little frustrating for some.

Tropes used in Terra Cresta include:
  • Combining Mecha: A Combining spaceship. Your power-ups are additional pieces of your ship, more often than not.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Averted: if you have power-ups and a enemy shot hits a piece, only that piece will be destroyed.
  • Endless Game: Moon Cresta and Terra Cresta.
  • Nintendo Hard: As is many shmups of the time. You start with a weak ship that carries a peashooter as its only means of attack, enemies like to attack from difficult angles, and while that five-form ship that turns into a phoenix is cool, it takes only one hit to get reverted back to the basic ship.
  • Spiritual Sequel: Dangar UFO Robo. They both are by Nichibutsu, run on the same hardware, have the same art style, and involve modular protagonists.
  • Unstable Equilibrium: The Power-up system is a bit unforgiving.