Aero Blasters


Review by Keita Iida



Graphics: ?

Sound: ?

Gameplay: ?

Overall: 8

While I admit that I'm as much of a fan of games featuring fancy weapon systems as the next guy. I mean, it's a heck of a lot of fun being able to wipe out legions of attacking aliens in twenty different ways. However, I don't believe it's the end-all criteria that determines a game's appeal. After all, if that were really the case, we wouldn't be enjoying River Raid or Galaga to this day, right? In fact, it's probably better to be a balanced (and fair) game that has a standard straight-firing shot and which requires skill to conquer than a game with a zillion different power-ups which makes for uneven gameplay.

That being said, there's something refreshing about Aero Blasters, something that reminds us of the wonderful and pure simplicity of classics such as 1941 and Sidearms. While you do have some side weapons, they're not easy to obtain and they're not too useful anyway. No powering up to silly levels, no charging up for a stronger fire, none of that. Most of the time it's just you and your aircraft's basic missile going up against the opposition. And since you can only basically fire in a straight line, you're faced with the necessity of having to meet the enemies head-on and in the line of their fire as well. And man, there are bullets flying everywhere! It's tough on stage one and it only gets more challenging as you progress in the game. The speed in Aero Blasters ranges from super fast to nauseating without a hint of slowdown anywhere, even with a bucket full of cannons flying around on-screen.

Aero Blasters not only plays well, it looks great too. Graphics are exemplary. The full 256 palette of the PC Engine is utilized, and it shows in the beautiful scenery and sharp ship designs. The weapons aren't too flashy, and that's the only area where the visuals take a slight dip. Audio is weak, though. The sound of explosions are lame and the tunes aren't hardcore enough to get one's blood boiling.

Players who are attached to shooters that require grabbing scads of power-ups and blasting everything in sight (Space Megaforce, Radiant Silvergun) might have a tough time adjusting to such a simple shooter. This game is a rarity in the modern shooter era that emphasizes pure technique and quick reflexes over anything else. And trust me... in this case, it's a great thing! Note: Aero Blasters can also be found on the Mega Drive as Air Buster, but it's not nearly as good as the PC Engine original.


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Last updated: Tuesday, May 10, 2005 07:32 PM