Tiger Heli is a 1942-style vertical scrolling shoot 'em up. The game was developed by Toaplan from Japan. Tiger Heli debuted in the Arcade and later made its way to the Nintendo Entertainment System. Taito published the game in Japanese arcades; as for the NES, Acclaim and Pony Canyon distributed the game in the US and Japan respectively. Banpresto would eventually release it on the PlayStation as Toaplan Shooting Battle 1: a compilation of Tiger Heli and its sequel Twin Cobra.
The gameplay is relatively simple: Shots by enemies are one-hit kills. Players have an unlimited supply of missiles that go as far as about half to three quarters of the screen length. They also have two bombs that take out all enemies in a circular area around where the bomb is dropped. These bombs can be shot and destroyed by enemy fire, but the player can replenish them by picking up the green cross power-ups. There are two other cross power-ups that give the player mini-helis that either shoot parallel or perpendicular to the heli's main fire. A red cross gives the player the sideways shooting helis and white crosses shoot straight ahead.
Enemies and terrain vary from tanks to other helis, and from urban settings to battle ships. The game was notorious at release for its high level of difficulty. Almost everything in the environment is destructible and gives the player points which will yield extra lives every 20,000 and 80,000 points.
This is the first Shoot-Em-Up to use the smart bomb concept.