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Full user review
This review was originally posted on VersionTracker.com.
This game will 1) raise your blood pressure, 2) keep up 'til the wee hours trying to overcome some of the obstacles and bosses, and 3) shake your walls with the sound. (I keep the music off, but the combat sounds are incredible.) This ain't your father's sidescroller--and I'm old enought to be your father (well, MOST of you--nearing 60), so I remember even more than some of our young whippersnappers (anyone under 40).
The graphics are unbelievable--and they work perfectly on my outdated 20-in iMac G4 1.25 gHz with 10.3.9. You can change the paint job on your fighter, which can have a practical purpose, as some of the backgrounds can make it hard to see the fighter. (I found that I was hitting the terrain in one level until I changed the fighter color.)
The enemies--air, space, ground, underwater (yes, there's a level that's underwater)--are colorful and have a great variety of behaviors. On the air-to-ground missions, killing an airborne enemy causes it to fall, causing devastation below--sometimes to the point that I don't use the bombs very much. The bosses can be especially diabolical. Some are straightforward--shoot 'em with the heaviest weapons you have, while others require maneuverability and timing to avoid collisons and weapons fire.
There is a vast array of weapons (and a way to try them out)--guns, mortars, lasers, bombs, missiles, and others that are hard to describe. One of the cheapest and neatest is the automatic machine gun. It mows down infantry, machinery, trucks, and more. It works as well installed in the one rear slot as it does in the front, so it leaves a slot for more powerful weapons. Once you have enough cash, you can get a weapons controller that allows you to have two configurations. That's especially useful with some bosses, as they will sometimes be behind you. You can shift a powerful weapon to the rear slot and continue shooting.
The fighter, itself is upgradeable. You start off in a dinky job, then find the "real" fighter. You can upgrade maneuverability (very useful in levels where you're travelling through a maze of steel structures, underwater caves, and alien lairs), cooling (the weapons heat up and can stop shooting if they get too hot, which prevents just holding the shoot button down all the time), hull integrity, engines, etc. There are special devices that can come in handy on some levels.
The game has a way for you to learn how to win a level: you can abort, going back to its starting point, or restart, which takes you back to the last checkpoint. I use restart to try out different tactics (and to recover from stupid mistakes!) and abort to try out weapons combinations. You get these options when you're "killed" OR you can hit Escape and choose any time. There is no limit on the number of times you can attempt a level.
One point: do NOT attempt this game using the keyboard and/or mouse! A gamepad really helps. I found that the movement was automatically set up for the left analog joystick of my MacAlly iShock II. Setting up the other buttons/commands is fairly easy, though the game doesn't directly support all the buttons on the iShock II.
I haven't yet used the developer's boards, but I will soon. I need to to figure out how to finish one level: I defeated the boss, but can't get out.