| paleface [sys=PCCD; cat=Shooter_Vert; loc=JPN] |
|Well-executed vertical shooter that does things a little different than most. Your helicopter's fire angles to the side a bit as it moves left or right across the screen, effectively giving you a much wider field of fire than a conventional straight-ahead shooter, but also leaving you a little more vulnerable head-on if you don't pay attention to what's in front of you.|
You can choose different weapon loadouts for your chopper at the beginning of each stage, and your selection seems like it will expand level by level, giving you a new weapon of mass destruction to look forward to with each new stage. Even the early weapons are pretty nifty: a fairly standard twin laser shot and a repeating rocket shot, but by collecting powerups the shots get either more rapid or heavier--I like being able to see the affect of the powerup immediately, and not having to worry if I got the wrong one, because both are good (although there's another one, "S," and I'm not sure what this did--might have given me another bomb).
Oh, and the starting bomb isn't really a bomb, it's an "ECM," and activating it doesn't hurt any enemies but destroys any of their shots that happen to be in midair at that instant. Very cool, it takes the concept of defensive bombing to its logical end.
What else. Large and pretty tough bosses await at the end of each stage, it appears, and during the stages you fight a nice mix of unpredictable land, air and water attackers, with heavier targets mixed in amongst the cannon fodder. Never really a dull or overly repetitive sequence so far, the two stages I've got through have seemed well planned out.
Yeah, I've only got through two stages--this game is tough! In another innovative move, you don't have multiple lives, just one life with a four-section health meter. Well okay that isn't really innovative, but it seems to work well with the pacing and difficulty here, and your ship flashes unmistakably to show when you've taken a hit. Annnnd you get all your health back at the beginning of each stage. Nice, eh? You'll need it against those bosses though, at least the first time because they have some rather surprising patterns.
An impressive anime/slideshow intro shows the backstory of nuclear apocalypse and, I suppose, explains why your helicopter is going around shooting everyone, althought it is of course in Japanese so I can't understand it. That's okay though, the action pretty much speaks for itself. A very solid shooter, not too flashy up front but gets the important things right and dishes up a pretty good challenge once you get into it.