Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Zero Wing - Arcade

Someone set us up the bomb!

All your base are belong to us, Gentlemen make your time and a whole host of other such bad translations are what plagued the Megadrive/genesis version of this game, but now we have just the arcade version which features solely the gameplay and no shoehorned plots and cut scenes that the console version has.

In AD 2101, War was beginning

With that, what we have is a solid, if a little long, scrolling spaceship shooter. Bright and colourful graphics adorn the gameplay while you're zipping through space collecting powerups, speedups and massive bombs while negating around weapons, enemies, projectiles and some VERY large bosses.

CATS: How are you gentlemen!!!

For plot, there's little to realise in Zerowing beyond you leaving an exploding space station and... That's it, you're off! Into the large black abyss that is "The Space" and you're flying from left to right and taking on all comers in a massive battle royal of you vs. everyone else. On your way you have the lovely little ability to shoot and use a sort of tractor beam that lets you capture small and medium sized enemies and then launch them at others or use them as a shield.

Operator: We get signal

Zerowing's powerups come in several flavours of primary light colours, red for spread shooting, blue for lasers and green for homing shots. Get enough of the same colour and you'll power up through levels of 3 shot, to 5 shot and then 7 shot (except for lasers, they just get fatter) while your 2 pods will also stop most attacks and even destroy smaller enemies for you. You can be seriously kitted out in a short amount of time.

You are on the way to destruction!

Which you'll need for Zerowing as the levels can be extensively long and it's not until you destroy the 2nd boss-looking monster that you're actually told it's the next level. Bosses are not introduced with any fanfare, the music doesn't change, they just turn up and you're fighting them while usually the normal enemies are still trying to swarm you. It's almost as if someone added bosses and then forgot to recognise them as bosses.

Take off every 'ZIG'

The controls in Zerowing are fairly responsive though you do have that issue of trying to control a spacecraft that's going too fast if you're not careful in picking up those bonus items. However, there's the issue also of the dying and being grossly underpowered as a result of not having the firepower needed to take on the onslaught of multiple weapons from a myriad of opponents.

CATS: Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha...

The music for Zerowing is a little simplistic and repeats throughout each level but has the good sense and grace to change with the levels. Sadly some of those levels are EXTREMELY long, take up 2-3 bosses before being defeated or can be won out within a single simple boss. There's an inconsistent pattern about the design and it shows.

Captain: ... For great justice

There's flaws in the game, there's great aspects too with the level design and the fairly constant difficulty curve that's in place. There's plenty of challenge and given the age of the game, quite an extensive set of levels and gameplay on offer for the studious and hardworking gamer. Certainly worth a play just to see some of the bigger bosses and inventive designs for them.