playstation homepage   Playstation > Whats New > PlayStation Reviews > Staff Review
PlayStation Game and Hardware Reviews




Screenshot No.1
Screenshot No.2
Screenshot No.3



Get your PSX games HERE!



Team 17




1-2 Player

Game Type


Mem. Card

Review Date

Dec 1996

Setting the Scene

Your name is Myer, you are a retired pilot, you have a large open plan office in the middle of town and enjoy life to the full. You have a fast car and an even faster bike, it may have been a few years since you last saw any combat, but that doesn't seem to have stopped you living life close to the edge.

Your communications terminal jumps to life and a message alerts you of a possible invasion by unidentified flying craft. All attempts to communicate with the visitors have been met with extreme force. Earths primary defense craft have been destroyed in a massive show of firepower by the Aliens - only a few small ships survived to tell the tale, but they brought back news of possible weaknesses in the enemy armarda.

Summoned back into active duty, you rush to your car, race though heavy traffic and arrive at the air base with barely enough time to prep your ship before launching into space and into trouble!


I so much wanted to play this game, it has been many years since I have enjoyed the adrenaline rush and test of reflexes that accompanies a traditional shoot em up. Don`t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with the multitude of 3D titles that have swamped the market since the launch of the next-gen.consoles, but I still yearned for a good old side scrolling challenge - just me against the computer, c`mon, give me your best, I can take it!


I cant pass by the opportunity to mention the FMV demo at the start of the game. It truly makes recent intro`s on titles such as Tekken 2 and Formula 1 look pretty lame. The quality of the computer generated animation is up to that featured in Toy Story. Its not a 30 second wonder either, it goes on for ages keeping you glued to the screen from beginning to end. It is one of the very few intros that I have watched every time I have re-started the machine with this game inside. It makes you long for the day when consoles are powerful enough to contain in-game graphics that are as good as the intros.

Once into the game you are treated to a multitude of colorful alien craft, which all move through their flight-paths with grace and ease. It seems that there is no slowdown no matter how big, or how many enemy ships are present on-screen at the same time. The animation of each character is totally glitch-free and the scrolling of the screen is just what you would expect from the guys at Team 17.

What is so immediately striking about the graphics is the size of them - enemies that are so big, you would expect them to be end of level bosses, seem to appear regularly throughout every level. Even the smaller craft are big compared to previous games of this genre.

The backdrops are a little disappointing. They are pretty dull and lifeless and hardly seem to change throughout the whole of the level. You get the feeling that they were thrown in at the last minute, rather than being an integral part of the game design. Sure there are probably thousands of colors in each of them, but none that I saw (levels 1 to 7) were particularly jaw-dropping!

Sounds and Effects

The background music consists of several great techno c.d tracks, they are all similar in style to those on the two WipEout games, but differ in the fact that all are original compositions. Route the sound through your own amplifier and speakers for a truly wall-shaking experience. The sound effects are all appropriate for this type of game. The samples used for the explosions are truly awesome, possibly the best we have heard, they are real speaker-blowers. Team 17 have tried to retain the feel of the old arcade machines by using very synthesized sounds for most of the guns and laser noises.


"Metropolis under fire" is the first of ten levels of the game and provides a good example as to the varying nature of each attack wave that you will have to tackle. Choose one of three available craft, which vary in speed or power, hit the button and get transported right into the heart of the action.

The action takes place above a sprawling city. Sky scrapers are everywhere, some already burning, but most still intact. Search lights scan the sky in the distance, trying to pick out targets without any success. You start at the left of this 2-D environment and you have the freedom to move all over the screen. The enemy usually attacks from the right of the screen and scrolls leftwards, some will stay on screen for 30 seconds or so, others disappear within a few.

The first attack wave consists of yellow spinning craft. They enter the battleground in large groups and pause halfway through their maneuvers, before opening up to reveal rapid fire lasers which are blasted simultaneously to clear the way ahead for them. One good shot is enough to destroy these guys. More easy targets follow and just as you start to think that this is going to be easy, a large flying robot enters the screen (Looking very Similar to a "Transformer") armed with a double barreled laser gun and a backpack that fires guided missiles at you. This beast is over ten times the size of you and so if you think that its going to be killed by just on shot, you are only kidding yourself! You now have the simple choice of avoiding him for 30 seconds or so, at which point he will leave the screen himself, or skillfully pick him off with 50 or more shots. Take the second option and he will leave you a power-up as he explodes, this can take the form of an additional main weapon, a shield, smart bomb, rockets, orbs, lightning and more. Keep collecting the same power-up to improve its effectiveness.

You hardly have time to wipe your brow before being faced with 30 (YEAH THIRTY!) or more jet fighters moving at speed in circular waves, all trying to pick you off. More massive ships follow, these ones don't seem to want to leave the screen and take many shots to kill. They travel in pairs and are fitted with a rotating turret that locks onto your position before firing. Phew, onward we go, faced with wave after wave of space craft, circling you before releasing double laser bolts at you. Spinning space stations trap you with their interconnecting force fields, making them difficult to pick off - again, the bigger and harder the alien the more chance of getting a power up by defeating them. I use one of my smart bombs and manage to kill 3 out of four immediately. One of the power ups is another smart bomb which is quickly used to see of the fourth and final ship. Onwards again, past another transformer type robot, this time its a dragon, with swishing tail and 4 way laser cannon, this guy means business!

Finally you arrive at the end of level boss. In the case of this level, it will try to crush you before opening up and firing a massive laser cannon, two mini lasers and six missive launchers at you simultaneously. You have to avoid its weaponry and fire what seems like hundreds of shots at it before it will explode and let you move onto the next level of the game.

The first level is brilliant, while being difficult, its by no means impossible and you will find yourself facing the end of level boss after only a few games. You will then move onto the "Command Tower", which is based in the desert and has you flying past the pyramids to face giant worms and ferocious wasps, blasting through large rocks which block your way before changing tactics slightly as the screen starts to scroll vertically and the enemy begins to fall from the sky.

"The Belt" is a vertically scrolling stroll through your local asteroid field, followed by the "World of Ice". It is at this point that I notice an annoying fault with the game design, which looking back, seems to be evident in almost every level of the game. You see when I play one of these games I like to think of it as a personal challenge between the programmer and me, he can create as many aliens as he likes and have them firing as much and as often as he likes without bothering me in the slightest, after all who wants to buy a game and then complete it within a day or two of purchase.... No, the thing that became evident, was so annoying that It very nearly stopped me playing the game altogether. Certain parts of the scrolling scenery will kill you on contact, again this would not be a problem were it not for the fact that its too hard to see which bits are just harmless pretty background decoration and which are deadly ship-busting pieces of rock or debris. This means that you not only have to avoid the multitude of lasers, missiles and bombs that are flying around the screen in all directions, you have to look out for practically invisible bits of deadly scenery. The number of times that I lost lives because of this was absolutely stupid. In an effort to get around this problem, I tried the game on several T.V`s which gave mixed results. On a 28 inch T.V and a 14 inch T.V the problem persisted, however when I plugged my machine into a 14 inch monitor, the screen was razor sharp and it was easier to see this annoying scenery. I just wonder if everyone who tested this game did so on monitors rather than T.V`s, because such a niggling little oversight has relegated this game from being a classic, to being just another shoot em up..... roll on X3!

Value for Money

The difficulty curve is steep enough to please dedicated shoot em up fans, however some will find it too hard. The two player option is a great addition to the game and makes your progress through the levels far easier. The Music and sound are good, the intro is amazing and the in-game graphics are as good as most arcade blasters. Were it not for the annoying problem with the backgrounds and foregrounds being too similar, this game would have been the definitive PSX 2-D Shoot-em-up





After reaching level seven, my progress has become slow and frustrating. I keep giving up on this game and then coming back for more!











The first couple of levels are okay but this game soon becomes a mindless blast with just too much going on to be enjoyable.








Get your PSX games HERE!