| paleface [sys=PCB; cat=Shooter_Horiz; loc=NA] |
|Reference added: 124|
"Games with ragtime music."
Highly original shooter from Data East in which you fly your biplane over various vaguely 1930's era miniature animated settings. The plane trails a large hook, which you can twirl around your plane by moving the plane in the opposite direction, a very clever and rare use of kinematic physics in a 2D game. The hook deals damage by smashing in to things, it can also pick up a wide variety of objects (bombs, crates, statues, robots, elephants) and drop them on enemies for impressive damage.
But that's not all! No, if your plane gets blowed up your little dude jumps down to the ground and can carry on on-foot, run-and-gun style. He's really tiny and outgunned of course, and sort of spastic to control, but you can hope to find a wide variety of land vehicles that he can pilot for increased firepower, such as tanks, the aforementioned elephant, giraffes, odd flying machines, and pogo sticks. If your ground vehicles bites it you jump out and continue to run along.
But wait, it gets even more insane. With two players you can sort of combine your firepower by having a player in a plane hook a player on the ground, thereby carrying the ground player around on the plane's hook, leaving them free to concentrate on blowing stuff up.
And then the final touch of insanity: ragtime music. Yep. You had thought, perhaps, that only Hermie Hopperhead (entry 124) dared to inflict the charmingly offbeat sounds of ragtime on video game afficionados. Sadly, you were mistaken. Boogie Wings, in fact, is sometimes known as "The Great Ragtime Show." I suppose the designers felt that ragtime fit right in with the sepia-toned 1930's theme and in a way I suppose it does, but in another, more important way, it is evil. Fortunately for the most part it isn't very loud during gameplay.
In limited play so far this game has been too insane for me. Your character is incredibly small and fast, with rather weak firepower (unless you pick something up and hurl it, but this is tricky), and the stages are frequently very claustrophobic, forcing you through tiny little hallways and things--sometimes even dividing the screen vertically, so you're either stuck in the upper or lower floor of a building, both of which are packed, naturally, with heavy enemy artillery. The enemies take a lot of hits and often seem to attack in patternless swarms, and they fire fast, small shots that are hard to anticipate.
Graphically there is a ton of sprite action and a stupendous amount of variety in the backgrounds. You'll frequently be bombarded by fleets of airships, tanks and enemy paratroopers simultanously. The activity is impressive but frequently results in painful slowdown. Also, although I like the detailed backgrounds, the detail in itself can be confusing when everything is happening so quickly, and most of the sprites aside from the gigantic bosses are very small and hard to make out without looking at them closely.
I think with time I would learn to appreciate this game more--it's quite a handful to take in at first. Right now I feel like a little more firepower for the player would make things a bit more enjoyable but I'll admit that I have quite a ways to go in getting good at picking things up and throwing them, which seems to be a key element.
And damn that ragtime.