Override kind of snuck up on me. First impressions were that the graphics were sort of generic and blocky, and that the constant weapon switching was distracting. Then some friends of mine played it... and played it, and played it. They couldn't put it down, and I began to think that maybe there was something to this Override game after all.
It moves fast all the time--stuff whips on and off screen like lightning, even the powerups, with never any slowdown in sight. Music drives right along with the subdued but handsome landscape below, the bosses are big and ugly, and the weapons get pretty darn impressive when powered up.
The powerup thing takes some getting used to. Your main gun gets more powerful with "P" powerups, but then there are these colored gem-like powerups, six different colors or something, and the powerup cycles through them slowly as it boogies down toward the bottom of the screen. They give you powerful secondary weapons, and to power up the one you have currently, you of course have to catch the gem when it matches the same color. Here's the nefarious part: the gem movement and color cycle is set such that the color you need to power up your current weapon is always the very last one that comes up, right before the gems goes offscreen. These gems come along constantly, so for most of the game you're dodging wrong-colored gems while trying to snatch up the right-colored gems just before they drift offscreen.
It sounds like a lot of work, and it is, but most of the weapons get pretty darn cool once powered up three or four times. Besides these and your normal gun, your ship packs a final special surprise: an auto-charge shot. Don't press fire for a few seconds and green energy starts to spark around the front of your ship; hold off for a few more seconds, then press fire to unleash a massive, screen-filling horde of hot death. Fun stuff. Surprisingly, the second button just toggles through movement speeds (even the slowest is darn nimble).
So you go along juggling powerups and blowing stuff up. Later levels start to get pretty nasty with ships popping up out of the ground right on top of your, or obstacle courses with all kinds of laser turrets and things. See how much I've typed up about a game I didn't think much of at first? Good game.
This game isn't really that hard--you can take three hits per life, plus you gain lives with incredible rapidity--I think I gained about three or four in this play-through. Then again, it gets really darn hard in that obstacle course level, and if you hit an obstacle wrong you take all three hits almost instantly.