The more you play, more exciting it gets!
— American advertising slogan.

Black Tiger was one of Capcom's early arcade releases, hitting the arcades in August 1987. The game was a slightly re-worked and tweaked version of the Japanese game, Black Dragon, edited for the American release to make item collection significantly easier and provide more methods to avoid damage taken from boss battles. The game was created as a spiritual successor/installment in the Ghosts 'n Goblins franchise. Players take the role of The Black Tiger, a barbarian character named only in the promotional materials, who must use his chain-whip and various upgrades to battle a never-ending horde of monsters in large, open levels filled with secrets to discover and collectibles to find.

The game was well received at the time, and is consistently ported to other consoles in Capcom's various re-release strategies, such as the Capcom Classics Collections or the Capcom Arcade Cabinet.



The Black Tiger faces the Black Dragon in advertising art.

Black Tiger is a 2-D side-scrolling hack-and-slash platformer. Players navigate large levels both horizontally and vertically, fighting numerous enemies with their flail-like chain weapon. Scattered across the maps are frozen statues of old Wise Men, who can be rescued by walking into them. Once freed, this Wise Men may offer advice on the level or enemies, a sum of Zenny (in-game currency) or access to the shop, where players can spend their Zenny to obtain more powerful weapons and temporary armor upgrades. Armor increases the players overall health, and is destroyed permanently after taking enough damage, while flail upgrades are permanent. Other items to collect included keys, which could be dropped by certain enemies or bought from shops, and could be used to open up chests which could include anything from armor to more keys, and potions, which could be used to restore life.

The Japanese version has a few changes that makes it more challenging than its American counterpart. Several of the "falling rock" obstacles were added in this version. Additionally, the prices of many of the items are higher. But perhaps the biggest difference is related to fighting the later bosses (the three dragons and the dual sword-wielding foes at the end of stages 5 and 7). In the American version, it is possible to duck and avoid taking damage when the bosses touch the player's character as long as one of their projectiles does not hit him. In the Japanese version, the player is not able to do this.


Long ago, in a fantasy kingdom, the legendary Black Dragon and its two lesser Dragon allies razed the lands and took them over, releasing an evil horde of monsters and causing great chaos and suffering. A Barbarian hero, known only as the Black Tiger, must rise up to defeat them. Flail in-hand, the Black Tiger fights through hordes of monsters, demons and beasts- including the villainous Firebrand before confronting the dragons, one at a time, and killing them, bringing a new era of peace to the kingdom.


Black Tiger was received fairly well- enough so that it is considered notable enough to continue to receive new ports to other more modern pieces of hardware while other games from the era are ignored.


  • U.S. Gold released a port for Amstrad CPC, Commodore Amiga, Atari ST and ZX Spectrum in 1989.
  • Softworx ported the game to the Commodore 64 in 1990.
  • Black Tiger was one of the games ported to the PSP compilation Capcom Classics Collection: Remixed.
  • It was later made available for the console version of these collection on Playstation 2 and Xbox in Capcom Classics Collection Volume 2.
  • A Wii Virtual Console port was created for Japan on December 7, 2010, for PAL regions on January 21, 2011 and in North America on January 24, 2011.
  • Black Tiger was the first game made available for the 2013 Capcom Arcade Cabinet- it was released in a pack alongside Avengers and 1943: The Battle of Midway for the Xbox 360, but was offered for free on the Playstation 3.