Night Striker: An extremely rare 1989 release by Taito with only 300 units produced.
The game looks like 3-d with fast moving, sprite-scaled graphics. Players must guide an armored hover car through a number of levels - destroying waves of enemies in the process - in an attempt to rescue a scientist who has been kidnapped by a terrorist organization. A large guardian awaits players at the end of each level, with each one taking several hits to destroy.
Instead of having a set number of lives, the player's vehicle is equipped with a shield that depletes whenever the player is hit by enemy fire or has collisions with either enemies or scenery. The player's shields are recharged at the end of every level. Gorgeous graphics and a great sound track!