First thing you'll notice for this game is the awesome graphics. Obviously it can't compete with an X Box, but as a Genesis game it is pretty cool looking. The colors are bright and the shapes are interesting and well defined. Things aren't boxy and the animation is nice and smooth. The next thing you'll notice, after playing for a few moments, is that you can fly. Pretty awesome, huh? This gives the game more directions to scroll, and I'm therefore unable to call it a mere side-scroller as it scrolls left, right, and up, and down. This adds a measure more interest to the game than there is in a normal side-scroller. The music is really cool as well with a techno sound (who'd have guessed, eh?) and a fast beat, it really gets your blood pumping. This is one of the very few games that I actually enjoy listening to the music.
After that will come the realization that this game is oh so very difficult. While the controls are simple and easy to learn and use, enemies are numerous and with one hit you can be killed. Still, this game is well worth playing and quite enjoyable as long as you don't give over to fits of throwing controllers.
Fact Number One: If you are hit, you are killed. You have no health bar in this game. If just one shot from the enemy hits you, you're toast. Only if you have picked up a special item will you be able to take that hit and keep going. Fear not. Extra men are fairly easy to come by by gaining points.
Fact Number Two: Enemies re-spawn like some sort of evil bunnies. If you backtrack, sometimes even one step backwards, you will run into the enemies you just killed, redux. This makes running very unwise. Stand your ground is my advice.
Fact Number Three: There are one trillion different kinds of enemies. O.K. So maybe I exaggerated just a little bit, but there are a lot of different kinds of enemies. Each one will move and attack in different ways and take a different number of hits to kill. Aiming for the "eyes", the red globes located usually on the front/center of the enemy, is the best (and sometimes only) way of taking enemies out. Some enemies will also be larger than others. One in particular, a round machine with a red eye in the center and fan blades radiating out from it that turns very quickly, may make you want to yell "Oh no, it's the cleaners!" and run for the hills, but calm down. Just running into an enemy (unless it's a boss) won't hurt you. On the plus side, while you are busy bumping into them, they can't shoot at you, but you can still shoot.
During the game you can pick up power ups in the shape of round, red (mostly), crystals that may have some sort of designating number or letter near them. Power ups are as follows:
Red Crystal- 1,000 points
Red and Yellow Crystal- Shield (If you pick up three of these crystals you'll be able to take more than just one hit. These crystals are displayed in the upper right corner of the screen next to the letter C and then as yellow bars beneath it. You won't actually have a shield until you have a yellow bar.)
Power ups with designators:
3-will change your weapon into a blue-ish laser that shoots in three directions (diagonally up, center, and diagonally down) with every shot
F-makes your original weapon's fire larger and more powerful and now able to pass through enemies and kill more than one enemy with each shot
M-explosive missile with very limited range that also destroys enemy fire when it explodes (if it's within its range of explosion), slow to reload, and can be aimed by pressing in a direction while firing
R- rapid fire that allows you to hold down the fire button and shoot very rapidly for about thirty seconds (sounds great, but you can shoot fast without this power up by just tapping the button as fast as you can)
S- (crystal is red and S is on the left side of the crystal) a spread shot of your first weapon that can hit many enemies at once, but is fairly weak
S-(crystal has some yellow and S is on right side of crystal) makes you ultra-fast.
In the end, it's up to you which weapon to use, but, personally, I use the F weapon since it gives me the ability to shoot through my enemy (especially bosses) and hit their eye even if it's on the other side of their body. Not only that, but you can take out several small enemies with one shot. The spread weapon sounds great in theory, but in practise the shots are really too weak to be of much use. Monsters that could usually be killed with one hit now take two and therefore the efficacy of the weapon is ruined. The missile weapon is great whenever you need to direct your shots in a direction other than forward (which will be downright, absolutely, necessary to get past certain parts) or if you need to keep the enemy's fire from reaching you. It does not eliminate all forms of enemy fire, only the shots that are simple red flashing circles. The three way shot can be very useful for those times when you find enemies above and below you or when you are in a boss fight where the eye is just about impossible to hit without an angle shot.
As I've said, hit their eyes. This is the only way to defeat a boss. What are the bosses? Believe me, you'll know them when you see them. They're huge. They almost fill the screen. Thank goodness you aren't in the usual small tunnels when you face the bosses (called governors by the way) or you'd be history. Bosses take many more hits to kill than the run of the mill guys. Each boss will look and behave differently, but I find a general tactic of keeping moving (usually in a circle around the monstrosity) is the best way. The important thing is to have a well stocked arsenal. Pick up every kind of weapon, fill up your shield, and make certain you pick up a speed power up. Remember, when you shoot a power up it will change randomly, and, though this may take a while, you can eventually be carrying everything you want or need (except the rapid fire one which only lasts a limited amount of time and is, in fact, a waste of time, and a waste of a good crystal if you ask me).
After facing a boss you will have to face what I feel is an even worse enemy. Though smaller than the bosses, the next guy you'll have to face will shoot and move very rapidly up and down on one side of the screen. You are separated from each other by a wall of moving rocks. As you (and it) shoot at them they will disappear, leaving an empty space for a shot to get through. One shot will win it for you, if you can manage to just hit him once. Dodge like mad here, and remember, while you've gotten used to moving up and down you can also move backwards. If you see a shot about to hit you, back up while moving up or down away from it. This will make it more apt to miss you. Still, no matter what you do, this part is crazy hard.
Fight your way through each act, killing enemies and avoiding being killed. Eventually you will run into one or more grey hatch doors in the wall. Move over this and you will go on to the next act. Since some acts have several of these doors, an act can look different depending on which door you choose. Not every act has more than one door.
|B Button||Jumps/Changes Weapons|
|Start Button||Pauses Game|
|Directional Pad Up||Fly|
|Using the missile weapon, you can shield yourself somewhat from enemy fire. Now, as I said above, it will only block the red flashing circles, but that can be a life saver. If you find yourself under heavy fire, there are times and places where it might be beneficial to land and then shoot at the ground (by pressing down while you shoot). This will cause the missiles to explode at your feet, creating a blast radius that does not hurt you, but hurts enemies and takes out their fire. While this won't protect you completely, sometimes all you need is a bit of protection.|