Ads are gone. We're using Patreon to raise funds so we can grow. Please pledge support today!
Google+   Facebook button  Twitter button 
3DS | DS | PS3 | PS4 | PSP | VITA | WII | WIIU | X360 | XB1 | All
Aerial Assault (Sega Master System) artwork

Aerial Assault (Sega Master System) review


"At first glance, a horizontally-scrolling shooter such as Aerial Assault may be thought of as a pretty generic offering, giving the player a bunch of things theyíve seen many, many times before. Locations stretching from overseas to an enemy base to outer space. Giant bombers and ships as bosses. A bunch of small, generic little planes, tanks, boats, etc. attempting to prevent you from reaching that levelís boss. "



At first glance, a horizontally-scrolling shooter such as Aerial Assault may be thought of as a pretty generic offering, giving the player a bunch of things theyíve seen many, many times before. Locations stretching from overseas to an enemy base to outer space. Giant bombers and ships as bosses. A bunch of small, generic little planes, tanks, boats, etc. attempting to prevent you from reaching that levelís boss.

But then you realize this game was released for the Sega Master System and that in all likelihood, most of the games that youíve seen the above things many, many times on were released much later in time. Thatís the sort of thing that will change your opinion of a game like Aerial Assault, isnít it? Not in this case. Sadly, weíre not looking at a game like R-Type or Gradius (other shooters ported to home systems in this era). It is just too flawed to even be considered near the level of such venerable greats.

While this game only has five levels, it will feel like there are many more. The screen scrolls by at the speed of a turtle entrenched in molasses, making each level seem to move by at an agonizingly slow pace. In three of the five levels, this is a major problem because the backgrounds are dull and sparsely decorated, which only seems to make this battle to save humanity drag on for an even longer period of time. Then, in one of the two semi-interesting levels to look at (the enemy base), a good deal of the challenge is effectively removed by the lackadaisical pace of things. Letís face it -- itís not too difficult to navigate narrow corridors while avoiding walls when things are progressing so slowly that you can see potential hazards way before youíre forced to actually confront them. Itís definitely a lot more forgiving than R-Type ever was.

The aforementioned dull backgrounds also detract from what could have been a decent game. Take the first level, for example. It opens with you getting to see a whole lot of sky covering a bit of water with a tiny amount of landscape in the background. And, to make things worse, this is what you see for the entire level. Considering the way this gameís levels seem to drag on for an eternity or two, it doesnít exactly draw you in and make you want to see this quest through to the end, does it?

If you do move on, the second level proves to be the most attractive of the bunch. Now, youíre farther up in the sky, fighting the forces of evil among the clouds. The level starts with the sunset turning the sky red, but as you progress it gradually becomes darker. Unfortunately, that is the visual highlight of this game. Future levels involve the drab wasteland of stage three, the enemy base of stage four (while good, itís not on the same level as stage two) and the outer space location of the fifth stage. Generic 8-bit shooter music doesnít exactly improve this game on an aesthetic level. Itís not that the sound effects are bad, but they do nothing to improve the lack of mood created by the graphics.

Your plane and the majority of the enemy vessels are quite tiny, something that only serves to bring out the barrenness of many of the levels. The enemy ships tend to bombard you in waves. Early on, theyíre easy to predict and shoot down, but by the time you make it to outer space, youíll be constantly bombarded for nearly all angles by an unforgiving legion of quick and aggressive opponents. Bosses can be pretty challenging, with all of them having multiple weapons that must be disabled, sometimes in very close quarters.

In fact, the actual fighting comes close to pulling Aerial Assault out of the abyss of sub-mediocrity. With some fast gun-blasting action with the enemy combined with a nice array of special weapons ranging from lightning-quick laser and missile attacks to a spread shot and a number of others, it can be easy to get absorbed in surviving the enemyís never-ending onslaught. However, like everything else in this game, this aspect has a pretty big flaw.

Sadly, the hit detection is very questionable at times. Take the fourth boss, for example. I had destroyed all the parts of it except one, a little collection of guns that fired thin lasers quite frequently. I snuck down, preparing to dash in front of it and fire a couple of bursts with my weapon before its next blast. Sadly, while there was still a noticeable gap between my plane and the lasers, my ship was destroyed. Now think about it -- you have a number of areas in this game where there will be numerous ships, bullets and other obstacles on the screen AND the radius of your shipís hit detection is larger than the ship itself. Thatís a combination thatís just asking for trouble right there.

Now, I will give the game credit for trying to make up for all these flaws with the power of flattery. Between levels, you get a brief explanation of what lies ahead that always begins with these three wonderful words: ďWOW, AMAZING SKILLS!Ē Maybe the computer is referring to your playing ability or maybe itís referring to your patience in enduring what felt like hours of monotonously flying over water -- it really doesnít matter. All that I cared about was that someone (or something) else was finally recognizing my skills in a positive light. If only that positive feeling could have lasted the entire game....

But it doesnít. Shortly after the message from your base fades away, youíre back to another long, tedious level thatís pretty much the same as the one before, wondering exactly what you were so happy about in the first place. Take my advice -- if you want to play a shooter on the SMS, there are plenty of better offerings than this flawed and unattractive title.

Rating: 2/10

overdrive's avatar
Community review by overdrive (February 03, 2004)

Rob Hamilton is the official drunken master of review writing for Honestgamers.

More Reviews by overdrive
Hercules no Eikou III: Kamigami no Chinmoku (SNES) artwork
Hercules no Eikou III: Kamigami no Chinmoku (SNES)

Data East: Proudly bringing the most frustrating and tedious aspects of retro RPGs straight to your Super Famicom!
The Elder Scrolls V: Dawnguard (Xbox 360) artwork
The Elder Scrolls V: Dawnguard (Xbox 360)

A worthy addition to the Skyrim saga.
Sol-Feace (Sega CD) artwork
Sol-Feace (Sega CD)

Finally! A "generic shooter snake" encounter that doesn't feel, well, generic!

Feedback

If you enjoyed this Aerial Assault review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!

You must be signed into an HonestGamers user account to leave feedback on this review.

Site Policies & Ethics | Contact | Links

eXTReMe Tracker
© 1998-2014 HonestGamers
None of the material contained within this site may be reproduced in any conceivable fashion without permission from the author(s) of said material. This site is not sponsored or endorsed by Nintendo, Sega, Sony, Microsoft, or any other such party. Aerial Assault is a registered trademark of its copyright holder. This site makes no claim to Aerial Assault, its characters, screenshots, artwork, music, or any intellectual property contained within. Opinions expressed on this site do not necessarily represent the opinion of site staff or sponsors. Staff and freelance reviews are typically written based on time spent with a retail review copy or review key for the game that is provided by its publisher.