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Koutetsu Teikoku: Steel Empire
  opened by paleface at 23:18:15 10/24/04  
  last modified by paleface at 23:29:18 10/24/04  
  paleface [sys=GBA; cat=Shooter_Horiz; loc=JPN]
Reference added: 110
  "Steel Empire's steampunk style is similar to Gunbird."
Ported from a Megadrive game (original by "Hot-B"?) to GBA by Starfish. I've never played the Genny version so I'll just have to reviewitate the GBA version as its own game. Fortunately, it can take it.
How about this: this is at least the second best shooter on GBA, aside from Gradius Galaxies (see entry 634). And since there are way more than enough Gradii as it is, and not very many Steel Empires, personally I give this game the nod. Sure it has some vicious slowdown in specific parts, like cave-ins in stage 2, but the intricate steampunk art design (similar to my own beloved Gunbird (entry 110), in a tinier way) still looks great and the forward/backward shooting (A shoots forward, B shoots backward) really makes for fun, hectic yet stategic gameplay, sorta like R-Type's forward/back (see entry 240), but more responsive because you just have to tap a button to shoot the desired direction.
The user-friendly weapon design doesn't stop there. It shoots and bombs for you with a single button. Powerups are always good, never bad. And bombs always hit everything on the screen, so when you want to bomb, you just hit BOMB and don't have to worry about placement. Very freeing, really.
The bosses so far have been big, nasty, trainlike affairs, with lots of guns. Just as bosses should be, really.
You can pick from two different planes, a tiny, fast, but weak airplane and a big, slow, tank-like zeppelin. The airplane has stronger bullets, the zeppelin stronger bombs, or something. Anyway they're quite distinct and give you a lot more to play with if you think you've mastered the game with one ship. I'm in no danger of that as the game is very hard for me.
It saves high scores for you. Yay! Bring more games like this to GBA please!
Oh I forgot, in one unusual sequence in stage 2, after beating a boss the scrolling suddenly reverses (you're now going right to left), the background goes reddish, and you zoom along really fast having to avoid rocky outcroppings in a mad dash for the exit. Hard! But neat at the same time, I don't think I've ever seen that kind of plot twist in a horizontal shooter before.
  paleface 23:26:16 10/24/04
Download added: blimpfight.jpg (19966 bytes)
  "Fightin' blimps. Only one shall live!"
Reference added: 240
  "R-Type and Steel Empire let you shoot either backwards or forwards."
Oh, this is a health-meter game, so it's kinda messy with bullets everywhere and so forth. I suppose purists might not like that, and sometimes I don't, but it works pretty well here. You can certainly tell when you've been hit as your craft goes kinda semi-transparent for a bit.
· Gunbird 2 (DC)
· R-Types (PS1)

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