Thursday, 26 July 2012

Max 330 Mega Chapter 3 - Pie and Chips


Taking an interval from ‘variety’, I continue my Neo Geo round up.

Welcome to Chapter 3 and this is where we take control of a spaceship (most of the time) and use the most sophisticated weaponry created in pixels to blow every enemy and boss to kingdom come before achieving the inevitable tag of being the universe’s savior.

This is shmups - Neo Geo style and while there’s hardly a full magazine to go through, a few shells will be fired.

Unlike a territorial, the majority of which certainly don’t fire blanks.  Three in particular feature rather impressive visuals, will never be forgotten in Neo land and remain fantastic today. 

That’s quite a feat, considering that these were released in the early to mid nineties….

Hyperdrive engaged destination space, target – destroy all sprites that are trying to test out if your shuttle is bullet proof.

(Activate voice computer’s voice recognition unit).

“Computer, commence pixels in space.”

“Confirmed, mission accepted.”

“Additional information - running out of continues or patience must not result in the damage or destruction of any important input devices such as joypads and/or joysticks.”

“Thanks in advance.”

Yours faithfully

The sleek and mean, meg munching killing machine.

We’ll start with Ghost Pilots.

Let’s get this out of the way, let’s say it’s got a likeness to Capcom’s 19XX games.

After a brief intro, when it begins, you choose from two types of bombs (which do become more varied) and away we fly.

Throughout you can expect the usual power ups to add beef to your pea shooter and pointless bonus points.

These dollar signs achieve points appear after you’ve destroyed a full attack wave or formation of enemies.  The power ups appear when destroying certain enemies so that’s incredibly original…

Lives and bombs also can appear if you’re fortunate enough.

There’s not too many enemies that will surprise you (given the theme) so expect numerous types of planes, truck, jets, tanks and boats.

Well it would be pretty lame w/o huge bosses and this is not shy of them.

Expect varieties of meaty tanks, planes, hovercrafts and airships to stand in your way of a journey beneath clouds, followed by a deserved descent to the sea.

The game follows the same boring pattern after every stage which is completed.  For the love of delaying the action, let’s just get on with it.

I believe once, it will allow you to choose the next stage.

Terrain was nice and varied as you’ll fly over jungles, sea, airfields, mountains, volcanoes and runways.

Apart from that irritating mess when finishing a stage, it was really a decent game.

The visuals are very nice, detailed and feature some great touches as grounded enemies will send off by leaving a burning crater, enemies will appear from all manner of places, clouds passing as you soar through the sky.  There’s even some subtle scaling effects to appreciate.

Other effects include enemies catching fire before plummeting to an inevitable explosion.  It would be difficult to complain about pyrotechnics too.

Music and FX is pretty decent too as it suit you sir.

The highlights are the variety in bosses and quite an epic last level as numerous and large artillery stands in your way before becoming victorious.

Overall, you could certainly do a lot worse as it takes a while to play through, offers quite a challenge and for an early Neo game, it certainly looked pretty dapper.

Now I invite you to share some space with Alpha Mission II.

This is what we’re after, a proper shooting game in space with more mech and tech to shame a Manga cartoon.

What happened to the first Alpha Mission, well for that, you have to go back to 1985 and classic SNK arcade hardware….

In Japan, it’s known as ASO (Armoured Scrum Object) so they decided to call the sequel ASO II: Last Guardian.  Okay, I get the ASO part but again I scratch my head as it’s not and never was called Alpha Mission II: Last Guardian, instead just Alpha Mission II.

Why confuse things and what’s the fucking point in adding a subtitle if you’re not going to use it in an international sense.

Back to it, let’s blast off.

It’s sort of like Namco’s Xevious as it features ground and air weapons used specifically to destroy vertigo stricken or ground phobic enemies.

This was good too as it featured highly detailed graphics, a huge variety of enemies, weaponry and big boys as bosses.

Like Ghost Pilots, enemies could appear in an untraditional sense and perform a shrinking descent.

Using G, you could buy different weapons and each area presented some exciting space scenery.

Nicely, enemies could clamp together to form one.

It threw an early surprise as a large mothership enters the frame (that you eventually infiltrate).
Super weapons included Phoenix flames and black holes.

What I liked most is that regular enemies could effectively be bosses in themselves.

Like all good shooters, it also had a great end boss.

Nice!

Andro Dunos is served and after playing it, many would leave their food uneaten.

It was by Visco but unfortunately this was no Data East game…

Let’s dive in.

The basic idea, like so many before it, was to shoot an attack wave of enemies, which would result in a power up left that effectively gave you a choice of weapons as it allowed you cycle through.  A super weapon could also be used in the same way as seen in R-Type.

In attempting to induce a state of disorientation, action was multi-directional which made it mildly interesting.  There was a decent variety of baddies to blast but even then, its main problem was it looked worse than a mediocre SNES and/or Megadrive game

What could save it was the obstacle that stood in your way at the end of each stage but unfortunately, the bosses couldn’t fight their way out of a paper bag.

To be fair some looked okay and the end boss at least had a go at going out with a bang instead of a whimper but overall, a fairly limp attempt of intergalactic attack.

Things could only improve and they did (to an extent) as I next describe Zed Blade.  This was by NMK and was their first and only Neo game.

This was a hundred times better than the former but really, it didn’t have to try much.

 It reminded me so much of Silkworm but was most remembered because the enemies starting off as spherical cubes before becoming their true form.

It also had a nice trippy trance soundtrack, mixing it up with occasional odd speech.

It boasted a fairly great assortment of weaponry which could be beefed up to deal some delightful damage to the alien scum.

What made this a far better shooter than Andro Dunos as while not only looking meatier, I liked the way enemies acted as a shield by protecting the bosses’ weak point.

Bosses are always important and while this wouldn’t blow anybody away, it certainly featured some interesting looking bio-mechanical objects.  The final boss was a female alien with branches as hair.  It was indestructible until you eventually found its power source – a peculiar heart.

Backgrounds weren’t particularly great but did feature nice parallax scrolling.

So while not brilliant, it threatened to be good and well worth a blast or two.

Back to Visco next with the Aero Fighters series, but like Alpha Mission, it skipped to 2 as the first was arcade only.

It was like 19XX so had potential.

BTW, in Japan, this was called Sonic Wings and you could get Sonic Wings Special on PS1, which mixed all three games together.

Aero Fighters 2 is launched.

What struck me as odd was that the pilots of at least one fighter jet weren’t entirely human; a dolphin was available to take to the skies.  I mean, sure dolphins are intelligent but able to fly a jet.  Oh, a ninja hung up his katana for literally a change of scenery.

I guess it was the theme of the game but even so…

So that’s the weird shit outta of the way and this was another that was worth playing.

Enemies were not typical fare as buildings became robots and all kinds of shit would fly at you.

The usual stereotypes featured such as tanks, choppers, submarines, boats and types of plane.

I like odd, as long as it’s good ‘odd’ and this didn’t disappoint.

Bosses included large vehicles, a huge boat and stealth bombers.

Throughout the dodging, you could admire scenery as it included Paris, Hawaii and Australia which of course all feature famous landmarks.  Big wheels would tumble as most things could be destroyed – why not hey?

Graphics and backgrounds were nicely detailed and a nice effect was sparks upon impacting enemies.

It could be rather active and sometimes presented a decent challenge.

In the end though, it all gets rather weird.

The first end boss was a mutant monkey flying a spaceship.  The rest is normal and then after a few lines have been snorted, yeah just shove the ridiculous in.

What made it freakier is that it looked and sounded worried when mini-me’s were fired.

I thought we’d be drifting into Karnov territory but no, not really.

Okay, that’s fucked up but while the actual end boss was still out of sync with the theme of the game, it threatened normality.

Before that though, a due sense of dread preceded this with an audible heartbeat.  The end boss couldn’t back up this apparent fear…

It was an eye which used various amounts of attacks to shoot you down.  The worst was when it literally became a spaceship as the bullets came thick and fast.

The madness didn’t stop there as when it was nearly dead, it could sprout a large human arm…  Yes a floating, solitary eye sprouts a human limb.  I know it’s an alien but come on?

Wait, really come on, after that you think that’s it but no – it starts again and you think, am I playing Aero Fighters or Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts?

Anyway, go through the same shit again and you get a different end boss, even stranger but sadly not as good – a medium sized ghost, or is it a blob with a face?  Whatever, WTF?

So what’s the deal with the third, can we expect mutant chickens in a tutu or rampaging elephants with five legs as the final frontier?

Well let’s find out.

So the final game of the franchise is completed with Aero Fighters 3.

This is done what others have done on other systems, i.e. skip a sequel and/or game of a franchise as that began on another system.  Examples include Star Ocean and more famously, Darkstalkers as that jumped from Darkstalkers to Darkstalkers 3 on PS1, as the sequel was only on Saturn.

So that’s the digression over with, we’ll shoot straight on.

Don’t expect a radical change in ‘direction’ though….

The graphics were better this time (as you’d expect) and the madness in the enemies returned, as did the strange selection of chars.

Nothing original here folks as you soared through various countries dishing out some aerial destruction, fighting typical enemies and huge bosses.

What was disappointing is that some things were merely swapped around or recycled, but it wasn’t all bad as you got typically meaty new hardware which you introduced firepower to.

Odd things were said by your pilot at end of each stage such as “Stupid” and “Looks good, but it’s worthless.”

The game again climaxed in space so all set up for a showdown with a bizarre behemoth.

It didn’t disappoint, this time the monkey returned but this time, it hid on top of a huge, multi-eyed, mechanical black blob.

After a visual assault, we move on to another end boss, a spinning and angled flying saucer.

An ending rolled and like the sequel, you think it’s over but you start over again but this time it boasted different bosses.  Cool, but why just incorporate those into the normal game?

So battle way through the boredom, apart from the occasional new boss, you reach the end bosses again, but this time, they’re just the same.

What a load of bullshit and I’m sorry, the dancing chars during the proper ending just doesn’t cut it.

So overall, these were fairly nice games but smacks of laziness abound.

Next was a truly bizarre creature in Twinkle Star Sprites.  This WAS truly mental and an SNK/ADK hybrid creation.

It’s a shmup and Puzzle Bobble melded into one insane package as it saw combos created amidst the shooting and much would blag your brain.  Take on a string of weirdness, all set against a plethora of wonderful scenery and you have TSS.

The aim was to shoot better than the other which when done well, saw combos and eventually a K.O.  Well okay, it’s even a fighting game too.

Imagine your efforts transferred to the other side and you get idea.

Throughout the madness (and special lasers), exploding a chain of objects reaped a special explosion which can only help in defeating your human and/or computer opponent.

Colourful, crazy and nothing short of exploring the dizziest of minds, this was a sure and addictive winner.

I don’t where to start on this perspective, Viewpoint is a truly brilliant angle to focus on.  We are talking an undeniable classic in all its opulence and omnipotence.

Let’s cut to the chase, while there’s no doubt it was incredible, but let’s not discount its inspiration and that’s Sega’s 1982 elderly classic Zaxxon as that took you through the same isometric angle.

This was 10 years later and there were slight graphical improvements over Zaxxon.  Only the foolish will deny that it still refuses to look the slightest bit mediocre today.

In fact, it still holds up better than a pair of braces.  It’s really that well dressed.

Whatever your take on its gorgeous outlook, Sammy took you through a hellish challenge or sexiness and frustration as its bosses were harder than a matured pair of leather boots.

As a side note, it was Sammy’s only Neo Geo game and what a shame.

So it’s a shooting game, nothing original but my oh my, its looks were more seductive than a model applying that knot to your favourite tie.

It had no story, and really it didn’t need one as this was popcorn served at its most fondness.

Enough of revving it up, allow me to explode into action.

As mentioned, it’s largely in the mould of Zaxxon but with futuristic visual and audio overtones.

You’d swear its graphics were polys but they were actually just sprites.  This illusion didn’t detract from their greatness and all enemy types moved more graceful as a ballet dancer quartet on illegal substances.  Your CRT had never seen such smoothness, and then some.

How they moved was so slick, it was literally phenomenal, please bear in mind that this beast was released in 1992 and considering that it still looks mighty fine now, you can appreciate my excitement.

Towards to climax of Stage 2, dragons erupted from their respective holes and I’m afraid back then, and even now, you had to pick your jaw up from the floor…

Many occasions would see this familiar activity take place.

You could expect to fight a plethora of biological and mechanical malevolence, all intent in sending into a break up of sprite explosion.

The audio nearly matched its narcissism as that was a perfect mix of unrelenting dance, jazz and dreamy happiness.

You’ve got to love the boss music and Stage 2….

A standard pop gun was your main weapon (together with an R-Type charge beam), coupled with a duet of collectable pods.  You were finally helped by a variety of bombs aided you in your pursuit to destroy the baddies.

The bombs ranged from a huge pink explosion, flame walls and homing missiles.  The pink bomb and firewalls were the best as they happily ate the masses of enemy gunfire.  Speaking of enemy gunfire that was at a premium…

Even the levels offered some tactic as you had to shoot contraptions in order to ensure progress; and parts of the backgrounds attacked and flipped happier than a performing killer whale.

So the standard would be surely outdone by the larger stereotypical bunch of end of level pixels, and well, of course it did.

They were of familiar mix but considering they could go through more changes than a bored soap actor, you can imagine they offered interesting challenges.

My hatred extends to the multi-faced head and the butterfly.  I needn’t go into to its friend the caterpillar as this could have been a boss in itself.

The end boss was truly worthy of being an end boss and was inexplicably awesome.

I remember at the time of its AES release that it famously cost £225.  I think that was either in Mean Machines or C+VG, and they said something like, “Well it has the best graphics you’ve ever seen but after all, it is an arcade machine.”

Well despite that boast, it was never worth that much, or was it???

It certainly wasn’t w/o its faults as I have a few minor quibbles.

There were no speed up icons, as instead you had to get used to the maneuverability of your craft and due to its perspective, it did at first seem sluggish.  This was tolerable though.

2P simultaneous was missing (only alternate) and it only had 6 levels.

But while comparing it Last Resort, that only had 5 and to be honest, it felt like about twelve (thanks to those boss battles)…

The credits were rolled nicely like a Star Wars introduction as this was truly out of this world.

In truth though, compared to the game – it was an awful ending.

Its genius remains almost unmatched but there would be one, and I repeat one more Neo game of this type that threatened to dethrone its unparalleled excellence.  That my friends will be revealed.  That mysterious bunch of pixels won by a trot, but not a canter or gallop.

I think we all know what it was but even so….

Conversions followed and some where even okay but one in particular was frankly poop and that was on PS1.

That was the dress rehearsal so we’ll revert back to auditions as that’s very soon as Yumekobo gave us an unneeded sequel of SNK’s classic Prehistoric Isle.

Before we get into this, before Yumekobo, they originally were called Aicom.

Yes this was an 80’s classic and it seemed this was consigned to being an arcade relic that only SNK fans would be aware of, but years later it was resurrected as I suppose an attempt to rescue the Neo as it was released towards the Neo Geo’s demise.

Any new game was a welcome addition and wasn’t particularly bad but the Neo needed a miracle and not mediocrity.

This was just plain unnecessary.

For anybody who isn’t familiar with SNK antiquities, Isle saw you attack a series of largely exaggerated and probable overweight dinosaurs that shot ridiculous firepower.  Those who have played ADK’s Time Soldiers and fought the T Rex will know how ridiculous this was….

Innocents also played a big part.

This predictably also followed a familiar route and struggled to be called anything other than decent.

It took the rendering routine of a sequel (also by Yumekobo) of another ‘game’ and likewise, it didn’t look half bad.

I do have to admit that some backgrounds and sprites did look rather appealing.

Another positive was the large and attractive end boss.

So up there with the good, not the bad and definitely not the ugly.

No amount of surgery could it dream of matching the supreme.

I didn’t really like Psikyo’s Striker’s 1945 Plus; it was basically an upgrade, or apparent upgrade to Aero Fighters.  It was practically the same game and it really didn’t care.

Okay, it looked decent but the originality level deteriorated quicker than a bonfire in torrential rain.

The pros:

As mentioned, the visuals were pretty nice, it was very active and the bosses were two-faced…

The cons:

Watching paint dry was more exciting and we’d seen it all before in Aero Fighters (and obviously in many others).

That includes the bombers, planes, robots and various other bullshit.

As a further whinge, aside their original guise, why does every boss turn into a robot?

What most annoyed me was the ugly interface displaying the usual – lives, score and most stupidly, telling me what game I’m playing so unless I have the memory of a poorly functioning goldfish.  I know what fucking game I’m playing so why does it have to be in my face more than an unwanted set of garish advertisement breaks.

Help me.

Even the obscure shit STG Strike Gunner on SNES didn’t do this shit to me, having said that the music didn’t make me want to drown myself in cement.

I am now in a difficult situation so my Last Resort is keep shooting.

Irem will always be remembered for R-Type and why the heck not, it’s as influential as it gets.  It really did pioneer the genre but like I’ve said before, er SNK’s Vanguard?

So clone or not, its somber mood could depress the happy.

The force was known as the unit and could be moved about to shoot in a fixed direction.  The charge weapon varied the situation slightly as instead of a fireball, you shot the unit off at the angle as it was pointing.

Weapons were the usual peashooters, lasers and missiles.

This was pretty nice so it’s worth spending a bit of time on this one.

What you have to appreciate is some of intricacies in the enemies as some most were extremely detailed and Irem would be proud if this was their creation.

The first stage was quite illuminated with city lights and having shot down alien crafts, you knew they weren’t piloted by extra terrestrials as the drivers where humans as they plummeted to their unseen death.  Its boss was a large robot emerging from a crater.  Cool.

Stage 2 continued the detail as it was the most moody with pouring rain, featuring R-Type snakes and a cool flame throwing boss.

A decent shooter w/o a large battleship is like a Castlevania game w/o cogs and this was no different as the next stage saw you attack a large floating beast.

Eventually you’d reach the boss and this was the coolest of the lot.  Set against an industrial city in glorious sunset, a large mechanical leg would stamp down and after destroying its Achilles’ knee, it wasn’t finished as its body and head would attempt to finish you off.

It featured extremely detailed mecha and excellent design ensured a great boss.

The next level was were it got a bit tasty as the difficulty level was notched up a touch and featured some enemies that caused more than a headache.  The boss wasn’t very good though as it was basically a thing with an eye that extended itself.  What was most awkward is that it had two weak points but you had to swap sides to destroy each.

The final stage was the most spectacular and featured a great mothership and like it or not, you’re going in (and out).

After negotiating your way past that, asteroid field approaching and after some more shit, cue the final boss.

It was an alien head, with a mechanical overtone and a vertically moving mouth.  Protecting it were alien pods (above and below), that annoyingly were capable of regenerating, doing their bit as footsoldiers.

It looked nice enough but I was expecting more of an epic.

The main complaint was that it was shorter than a missing ruler but at least that third boss boosted its credentials…

So this is it, just two more to go and we’re done, but thanks to how stupendous Pulstar is and was, I’m the doctor so an operation is needed.

Pulstar was not just good, it’s really good, it’s actually bloody brilliant.

In 1995, Aicom chose the Neo Geo as the platform to release its masterpiece.  It was certainly out of the blue as many we’re expecting the diet of more fighting games but I would happily starve myself of those as this was one the best shmups ever, on any system.

Yes that includes any Sony, Sega or fanboys machine.  This was truly the shit.

The intro signaled the supreme and although practically pointless, it saw your pilot run and then a gorgeously rendered craft would rotate into view.

Check out those legs, sleek and efficient.

Rendering wasn’t a new graphical technique (even in 1995) as earlier in 1994, Donkey Kong Country on SNES boasted it used Silicon Graphics.  Before that, such graphics was also used in Killer Instinct.

Despite this, it was how solid and smooth the objects were as none threatened to flicker, come apart or look cheaper than a two dollar whore.  If the animation in Viewpoint was smooth, this was sleeker and slicker than the cast of Grease and wow, did it thrive on its looks.

It was pure eye candy and it just got better.

I’d never seen such graphics on the Neo Geo, so to say it wasn’t refreshing would be like saying that a cold beer on a hot day tastes terrible.

A myth still w/o an answer remains.  The first level looks so much like an upgraded R-Type, it’s perverse.  To call it a rip off would be generous so I’m thinking that Aicom were somehow connected with Irem and like Nazca, did employees depart from super company to form their own.

Whatever the complexities, let’s commence.

The basics are what you’d expect.  Usual shoot weapon, force, hovering friends and charge beam.

There were some innovations as using a technique I like to call rubber finger (button mashing to you) on the shot button charged up a better shoot weapon with a greater spread, whereas holding it down resulted in the familiarity of unleashing an energy beam.

Upon receiving the force, (each one looked different) and unoriginally, was indestructible. 

There was however, a few twists and turns.  I remember if you used both buttons, you could fire it off which would unleash a devastating attack (different for each force) to dish out major damage.

One minus side though, using this desperation meant the force was now destroyed, which left you extremely vulnerable.

Use it right and fine, do it not and you’d expect your remains to be scattered throughout the cosmos.

To mix it up, forces didn’t have their own weapon and only made itself known on charging and releasing.  So in other words, if you didn’t charge, all you had was the normal shoot weapon and any missiles you may own.

Again, this was good for strategic purposes.

It didn’t totally rely on blasting everything on screen as strategy was needed to be employed as the later levels were deviously designed to test your mettle (and patience).

When got, small units could be anchored to fire in a specific direction or move freely

As mentioned, there was a main intro and then a different one each stage.

Apart from the first one, I’m fairly sure these were CD exclusives so that’s a bonus.  These were not long drawn out epics, but remained particularly tasty.  These saw your craft enter the stage envions, all gloriously rendered in 3D.

Okay, I wasn’t really taken with the cockpit views but even so, yummy.

While other stuff was great, it’s all about the graphics. There was a wonderful amount of variety and enemies where placed and attacked with more cunning than an experienced fox.

Attack patterns and the predictably of zig zag formations thankfully departed.

There was so much to admire and appreciate and the bosses are up there with some of the best ever seen.  They wasn’t just tough, but almost defeated you with just how good they looked.

This was all thanks to rendering, as they to span, rotated and moved freer than a flock of migrating birds.

Only a few bosses in the game defied rendering and remained entirely two dimensional but that didn’t mean that they looked out of place.

These large bio-mechanical beasts were just to die for.

So the visuals were awe-inspiring so what beeps was set against this work of art?

Well I’m pleased to say that the sound perfectly matched the entire mood of each level as some were cheerful, epic and downright depressing.

FX themselves were competent and beefy with various pings and booms throughout the blasting.  I would suggest that although great, the downsides to each theme is that they didn’t really last long so would loop several times for each stage.

Level design was mighty fine as while it’s obviously all about destruction, there was some thought process needed as some enemies (on purpose) didn’t go down and you had to work out how to get through a seemingly impossible situation.

The difficulty was nicely pitched as it drew you in slowly and then about halfway through, things got tougher than a piece of granite.  Like Ikaruga, it wasn’t unfair but certainly needed some practice and respect.  This was definitely not a stroll in the park.

On CD, you could effectively skip the first three levels which were of course pointless at first but the option was there.  You’d think jumping straight to Stage 4 would make the game easier but if you’re still a novice, this is throwing you in at the deep end as that’s when things can start to get rather tricky.  In reality, this would only save time.

There’s not really too much replay value here as there are no extras but it’s always worth repeating this game just to marvel again at those graphics.

Completing the game rewards you with a very nice end sequence, the rotation is excellent.  You just have to see it.

Like Viewpoint, there are some imperfections.

Again there’s no 2P simultaneous, heavy slowdown and through experience and timing, your force kamikaze can literally take out a boss w/o hardly any effort, which is of course very cheap.

This is not always a guarantee but the odds of doing this are definitely in your favour.

So despite being hyper critical, this is still simply superb and you’d be mad to say otherwise.

Aicom did make a sequel (under their new name Yumekobo) and that was more exciting than a child’s first Christmas.  Well it’s good, but not that good.

The improvements:

You now have four selectable crafts, including the original and each with their own firepower;
2P simultaneous heavy duty action is now available; and

The graphics and most bosses remain excellent.

But:

Tactics are no longer employed which means it’s just all out shooting and the music (while not awful) just gets plain irritating.

The deal breaker for me is the god-forsaken irritant that is the otherwise harmless word - ‘Bonus’, I mean it’s not every so often you are informed of this, it’s virtually constant.

You could argue that choosing a ‘weaker’ ship ensures tactics in itself but the levels are just the same.

The graphics are worthy of Pulstar as rendering is still used but they don’t lack the silkiness and super cool look.  In an odd sort of way, the 'solidness' wasn’t there.  There are some awesome sights to be seen as most where undeniably impressive but I just have to generally favour Pulstar’s giant obstacles.

I didn’t really like the end boss either.

The music is just too ‘happy’ and lacks the grittiness and mood of Pulstar.  It’s okay but it doesn’t quite suit the game.  The audio is a bit like a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

The intro however, was superb – in a cutesy way.

So in short, I welcomed the ‘bonus’ of a sequel but it would have been more of a ‘bonus’ if the look, mood and gameplay of Pulstar was retained.

That brings us to the end of shooting shit in space with a journey that found us discovering a mixture of mediocrity, good eggs and two ostrich eggs.

Andro Dunos is the shooting equivalent of The Legend of Success Joe.  Wow, that game truly offends me.

Viewpoint or Pulstar?  I’d always go with Pulstar but Viewpoint runs a very close second and deserves recognition even today.

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls - a final piece of the puzzle remains.

I am not one to insult intelligence as what follows next is more obvious than the day after tomorrow.

In the meantime, I’m shot to pieces.

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