After a much shorter gap than last time, I am happy to return with another Game Gallery here at Red Parsley! I have again gone with a shoot 'em up, which is probably the first vertical-scroller I ever really liked. This might be because I was quite good at it (I could even finish it!) but also because it's a genuinely stonking game.
Not only does it feature tons of distinctive enemies, some scary alien landscapes, and a load of cool power-up weapons, but it was also something of a technical marvel for the Master System which was apparently able to throw the game's many sprites around with none of the flicker that had blighted many other games. Behold, the wonder that is surely the MS's best shmup... Power Strike!
Click here for the full review of this fine game.
Round 1: Power Strike Takeoff
Like many platform games, the battle against the 'evil vegetables' begins in a lush green land awash with grass and trees, but confusingly the instructions call it a desolate desert! Hmm, anyway, whatever you call it, it's apparently host to the enemy's 'advance shock troops' on whom you'll have the chance to test out the various weapon power-ups. It's no walkover though.
The 'boss' here, as with all stages, is actually a ground installation type thing, consisting of one large and six smaller guns. Naturally, this first example is the smallest and weediest though, so it shouldn't take too long to eliminate.
Round 2: Deep Forest
Now this stage looks more like a desert, to begin with at least, but the barren, lightly-cratered landscape soon gives way to the greenery of its name. There are more ground-based guns here but it's a pleasant one to play through, with a bit more variety than the first stage. Hope the veggies aren't getting reinforcements!
Guarding your exit from this stage is another ground installation, larger this time, and with more big guns, but just before that you'll face a sub-boss the game describes as a 'mother ship'. It's not as big as the name implies but it can fire wibbly 'revolving shots' and will take a few of your shots to see off while it does so.
Round 3: Great River
I suppose it's appropriate that possibly the bluest stage in the history of videogames has a watery theme. Indeed, the great river of its name is so vast if often takes up the entire width of the screen! When it isn't, the rest of the landscape seems to be made up of more forest which is also blue, so I guess it's either nighttime or whichever planet this is has weird coloured vegetation.
The instructions also state that the 'main enemy forces' are introduced here, but there doesn't seem to be a significant difference. There are lots of them though, including another 'mother ship' - a formidable-looking vessel known as Re-Traiter. Rounding things off is another ground-based (or island-based) installation.
Round 4: Mu-Plant
Definitely getting into enemy territory now. The dominant feature of this stage is apparently the remains of a city, only with spooky alien vegetation growing on and around all the tower blocks and stuff. Even the many 'guns' now take on a distinctly alien-ish appearance too - vegetables spitting seeds of death? According to the instructions, zombie human slaves join in the attack from this point too. Crikey!
You'll also meet a new mid-boss on this stage - a spindly device known, perhaps rather worryingly, as the Maniac-Traiter. Defeat this idiot and you'll find the end of stage is occupied by a substantial bank of guns (or alien pods) nestled atop a big office block! There are probably still some zombies in there too (chortle!).
Round 5: Invaded
Hmm, things are getting scary now. Another barren, rocky landscape scarred with many cracks awaits here, and if you reach it you'll find the cracks soon widen to reveal a vast metallic alien interior, with only glimpses of the once-prevalent vegetation. A varied and challenging stage filled with many evil terrors, including a craft the instruction book refers to as 'the dreaded Ree Torita fighting jet'.
Another new mid-boss awaits here, known as Traiter-Rugg, although it looks similar to the Re-Traiter of the third stage. The gun installations have never been more prevalent than this stage either, with two boss-like encounters before the real foe appears - a giant half-screen-sized bank of metallic cannons. Oof!
Round 6: HQ
The final stage and your chance to rid the world of the heinous evil vegetables once and for all. It's a long stage featuring lots of the mutant plants that populated the fourth stage, with some areas covered by purple panels. Naturally, many of these feature guns of various types and sizes too, including some new ones like the terrifying sunflower patch below. Don't look directly at them!
As often happens in games like this, the final stage features all of the mid-bosses from previous stages, in addition to several boss-like gun installations. The final battle, however, is not against another of these. Well, it is at first, but upon defeat it reveals your true foe - the Master Brain giving life and purpose to all the evil vegetables running amok. Defeat the stupid blob to rid the world of the alien scum for good! Or possibly not, knowing the video game world...
Hooray! Watch your stylish Power Strike jet fighter glide home in triumph, and bask in the adulation of... three people... upon arriving home. Oh well, maybe it was a secret mission, so you might not get parties and parades in your honour, but at least you can go to sleep with the knowledge of a job well done. Tootle tootle!