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>> SHOOT THESE

Sorry about the quality of the caption headers, but it's a good tip for novices to the genre. Mayhem abounds plentifully in 19XX, right from the start. Pictured right is some mayhem.

One thing I always liked about the 19?? series is that there was always a lot to shoot, often overlooked in many shmups which feature screens of nothing and not much else. Are you listening, Silpheed2, you vacuousity?

Most shots will connect with a baddie of one sort or another giving the taxpayer good value for money. I can't help but admire the pretty pink hue of the little planes, a bit like the sort of single fighter Barbie would be proud to own. Wouldn't it have been nice to have a dolly of your own without pinching your wee sister's? Fortunately my daughter lets me play with hers.

 

<< KILL THIS.

All the levels start by showing you a location where the end of level baddie is hiding. This one's the Ayako Special, and a small handy red arrow in case you missed it.

Here's a wee clip of the animation when the level starts - small black stealth ship and two of his mates sneak up on our bomber/ carrier... Luckily we escape and wreak revenge in our plane of choice. Yes, player 2 can escape and do some wreaking too for a small fee.


>> SMART BOMBING

I've just let off a big one here, clear the decks. Good old smart bombs, a hugely amusing addition to any shootemup, especially if done right. Well, these are done right, with a new kink to them. A quick press of the bomb button will effect a screenwide deathly blast of lovely springflowerlike explosions, ridding your immediate vicinity of bullets and baddies.

However, hold the button down a bit and you can actually powerup the bomb to different levels, 3 being the max. Let go and step back, and enhanced pyrotechnics unleash themselves. Simple and effective, wonder why it hasn't been used much before. You can work out the gameplay implications of this yourself... there's both pros and cons of this feature. One 'disadvantage' is quite cunning - I always seem to die whilst holding the bomb button down just because of sheer greed for a bigger effect.

 

<< AND TANKS MIGHT FLY

Extreme sports have nothing on this. Parachuting tanks as you can see quite clearly. What's not so obvious is that in this level there's bugger all land about. Look, see, "Water water everywhere, and now my tank will sink". Happily, this little bit of artistic license bodes well for the rest of the game, with some great twists on the usual enemies you get in a 19?? game.

Those blue streaks are subdimensional rips in the space-time continuum, watch out for them as the demon angels can pop through them and you're into an alternative universe, a la Dangar.

Oops, sorry I was mistaken, they must be lasers. At least I got a link in to another review though, eh?


>> MISSION EMINENTLY POSSIBLE...

On completing a level (even shmup virgins ought to have got this far), you get a quick outro, and the oft-missing stats screen, showing you various shootdown rates and scores - as well as the simple imformation about what actually happened to the boss.

Here it was shot down, but sometimes if you are too slow, it'll get away, and you will be treated to a different animation. LEVEL 2

 

<< FINALLY, THE AYAKO SPESH

Quite a good length of a level you'll find, lots to do and shoot and just as its getting a tiny bit wearisome, up pops the bosses. None of that tiny level stuff that strikers 1945 and Aerofighers games have. This is the point where you realise the graphics are rather lovely, being very flat shaded, high detailed masterpieces. It's got a clean, handdrawn look, a sharp bas-relief effect similar to Xevious, and I like it a lot. Many games since have gone for super intricate and confusing visuals - the contrast between this, and say In The Hunt, or Blazing Star is refreshing. The level of detail is amazing, bits falling off and very trim paintjobs all round. Have to hand it to the enemy, some good looking machinery out there.

 


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