Steel Talons

From Sega Retro


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Steel Talons
System(s): Sega Mega Drive
Publisher: Tengen
Distributor: Domark (EU)
Original system(s): Arcade boards
Publisher(s) of original games: Atari Games
Developer(s) of original games: Atari Games
Genre: Simulation[1], Shooting[2]

Number of players: 1
Release Date RRP Code
¥? ?

Sega Mega Drive
¥6,800 (7,004)6,800e[4] T-48103
Sega Mega Drive
Sega Mega Drive
Sega Mega Drive
£39.9939.99[5] T-88046-50
Sega Mega Drive

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Steel Talons (スティールタロンズ) is a helicopter combat game originally released in arcades by Atari Games. It was later brought to the Sega Mega Drive.

Sega also distributed the arcade version in Japan.


Steel Talons is an early 3D shoot-'em-up, in which players pilot a helicopter tasked with destroying a certain number of enemies on the map (combat missions) or enemy helicopters (head to head). As an arcade game (as opposed to contemporaries such as LHX Attack Chopper) the controls are greatly simplifed, and while a "real heli flight" option exists to bring more lifelike helicopter physics into play, by default the player can pick a height and expect to always remain at a fixed position above the ground.

A fires missiles, B fires the cannon, and C adjusts the height in Z. All of the weapons in the game automatically lock on to enemies if in short range.


Steel Talons was designed for much more powerful hardware than any home system available in 1991/1992, and so compromises were made for every platform the game was ported to; the Mega Drive, Super NES and Atari Lynx (with an Atari Falcon030 version appearing later in 1995). No home versions match the arcade game's performance, screen resolution or polygon count.

While the Mega Drive renders a true 3D world (versus the occaisonal simple polygon on a 2D gradient seen on the SNES), its version of Steel Talons was critically panned at release for its very low frame rates, often to the point of being unplayable. Conversely the Lynx version, designed for a much weaker handheld system, is a more accurate port with a smoother frame rate, and the Super NES, while looking very different to the arcade, also avoids many of the huge performance dips.

In complicated scenes, it is not uncommon to see the Mega Drive version drop below 5FPS.

Magazine articles

Main article: Steel Talons/Magazine articles.

Promotional material

SteelTalons MD US PrintAdvert.jpg
US print advert
Print advert in Sega Visions (US) #10: "November/December 1992" (1992-xx-xx)
also published in:
Print advert in Mega Force (FR) #18: "Juin 1993" (1993-0x-xx)
Print advert in Beep! MegaDrive (JP) #1993-07: "July 1993" (1993-06-08)

Physical scans

Sega Retro Average 
Publication Score Source
48 [10]
56 [11]
45 №237, p39
51 [12]
57 №23
60 №1993-07, p44
55 №6, p26/27
55 [13]
45 №4, p12
68 №13, p66-68
29 [14]
27 №39, p54
69 №16, p36/37
62 №18, p67
74 №4, p40/41
62 [15]
80 №2, p12
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Based on
17 reviews
Mega Drive, JP
SteelTalons MD JP Box.jpg
SteelTalons MD JP CartTop.jpg
SteelTalons MD JP Cart.jpg
Steel Talons MD JP Manual.pdf
Mega Drive, US
SteelTalons MD US Box.jpg
SteelTalons MD US Cart.jpg
Steel Talons MD US Manual.pdf
Mega Drive, US (cardboard)
SteelTalons MD US cb front.jpg
Mega Drive, EU
SteelTalons MD EU Box.jpg
SteelTalons MD EU Cart.jpg
Mega Drive, FR

Steel Talons MD FR Manual.pdf
Mega Drive, KR
SteelTalons MD KR Box.jpg
SteelTalons MD KR Cart Back.jpgSteelTalons MD KR Cart.jpg

Technical information

ROM dump status

System Hash Size Build Date Source Comments
Sega Mega Drive
CRC32 10e4ec63
MD5 4523a96042e40b0d1ad24cc80be72c37
SHA-1 b4f0a13646c13911be5550103301af25827fcd0c
512kB 1992-07 Cartridge (US/EU)
Sega Mega Drive
CRC32 04f388e6
MD5 edfa7b1d6ce95725d2803b8f82e01b90
SHA-1 93c51ec9fcc56d858642018905b3defc17442c26
512kB 1993-06 Cartridge (JP)
Sega Mega Drive
CRC32 c4052f18
MD5 8821e3b3bb6c1bda06f419527b3ef820
SHA-1 c3edd1f6b9f4fb16104d09c17b66feebb3785f4e
512kB 1992-07 Page