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  opened by paleface at 05:04:41 12/08/03  
  paleface [sys=PCB; cat=Shooter_Vert; loc=NA]
A game back from that scratchy period when 3D was just being invented but wasn't quite all the way there yet--a few polygons, maybe, are supplemented by a whole lot of sprite scaling, rotation, and panning effects. Some look good and some look a bit scrubby, you know how that goes.
The guns have a nice way of firing as fast as you can pound the trigger, and once leveled up spit out an impressive stream of fighting energy. Your ship starts too slow, so you have to get speed powerups, which is kind of a drag (especially since if you get too many you'll be all over the place). Then there are two kinds of shots, and it does the Raiden-eque thing of switching the powerup between either type as it trundles erratically around the screen. Somewhat irritating, since if you get the wrong one you're off to power level one with that weapon.
Along with all your own frequent blasts come copious amounts of explosions and debris, all scaley and pixelated of course. A fun visual rush and from time to time distracting. You get to take down some really big ships, I mean ships that are so big they can't even fit on the screen, and that feels nice. Oh, and there are time-limited subweapons to spread additional damage and all-round carnage.
But I don't like the way the game moves. Instead of keeping a fixed view rectangle, with up always up and down always down, the screen pitches ever so slightly to the side when you move left and right. This has the effect of making you dodge double-fast, or thereabouts, but with the several separately-scrolling layers of background, clouds, shots and ships, it makes for something of a wobbly feeling and makes it darn tricky to weave between narrow shot patterns. You don't face many of those, fortunately, really only when going up against a boss, but the frustrating thing is that the patterns are loose enough so that they wouldn't be a problem at all--except that the screen pitches around when you try to dodge, and more often than not I end up oversteering and plowing right in to the next shot over.
Very unsettling, so say the least. I'm sure one could get used to it after enough play, and you have to admit that it adds an extra feeling of motion and dynamism to the game, but I will take steady control over dizzy swerving any day of the week.

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