Vulcan Venture (titled Gradius II - Gofer in the Japanese side of the operator's manual) is a superb side-scrolling space shoot'em up from Konami, the third game in the Gradius (Nemesis) series. Graphics (2-layer parallax plus text layer), sound and gameplay are all pretty much first-class.
The game hardware is very high-tech, with lots of VLSI ASICs. The game code runs on two 10MHz 68000s, and audio is run by a Z-80A, with a Yamaha YM2151 and a large custom Konami chip that I believe to be a wavetable synthesizer of some kind. The hardware even supports stereo audio. (As with most Konamis, you need to defeat a watchdog timer in order to record the music). It's very interesting to see the technological gap between Gryzor (copyrighted 1987) and Vulcan Venture (copyrighted 1988) - Konami must have put in a lot of R&D.
Game action, as mentioned above, is a side-scrolling space shoot'em up. There are lots of powerups, which you can "buy" at any time by collecting credit tokens and pressing the third button to buy the currently selected powerup. Note that this game is VERY HARD. After hours of play on the easiest difficulty setting, I have yet to complete the second level!
Unfortunately, the graphics of this game mostly consist of smallish foreground items against black (space) backgrounds, so they are very difficult to photograph. Mostly, it's just stock little space-creature sorts of graphics, metallic/rocky/icy levels, &c. - however, there is one very special section towards the start of level 1. Your ship is navigating through a maze of huge flaming suns, a quarter of the screen in size. Huge, sinuous dragons come twisting out of these suns, spitting flaming meteors. All the flames and other graphics are beautifully animated.
Vulcan Venture uses a horizontal low-res monitor, one or two 8-way joysticks with three buttons, and it has a standard JAMMA pinout. DIP switch settings are as below:
DIP Switch Bank 1
DIP Switch Bank 2
DIP Switch Bank 3