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Power Strike II (Game Gear) artwork

Power Strike II (Game Gear) review


"For a hand-held game, it’s pretty top-of-the-line, but I’ve never felt that portable systems and shooters were the best match. There’s no way to even come close to duplicating that magical arcade feeling on a screen the size of a potato. Instead of being so enthralled by this very respectable title that I was able to instantly unleash the shooter review to end all shooter reviews....I found myself wishing I’d scrapped the whole idea and just played M.U.S.H.A. again. I liked the game, but by the time I was done, I merely felt I’d played a good hand-held shooter, as opposed to a good shooter, period."



“When inspiration fails, desperation takes over,” I thought to myself while blankly staring at my computer. For about the umpteenth time, I’d sat down to write something, anything remotely resembling a coherent stream of thoughts about Game Gear shooter Power Strike II and for the umpteenth time, my brainstorming session was descending into chaos -- with me far more interested in listening to an old Iron Maiden concert online while fantasizing about hot chicks. I’d usually wind up doing this for some time, until I’d used all my mental energy and needed a nap. Obviously, something had gone wrong as far as my ability to focus on things.

Yeah, my problems could have been caused by the two most likely suspects -- either a concentration-wrecking personal issue that recently came to a head or the blissful state of euphoria I found myself under after amazingly showing actual effectiveness, as well as no small amount of inner fortitude, to dispose of that issue's cause. I usually don’t roll like that, so the shocking discovery that I might actually have a spine put me more in a “get lit up like a Christmas tree” mood than a “sit quietly and type another shooter review” one.

Or maybe it’s nothing so complicated and I should just admit that Power Strike II (or GG Aleste II in Japan) just didn’t do much to motivate me. I’ve played a lot of shooters and reviewed a good number of them over the past couple of years and, after a while, I start to feel I’m just saying the same things in (slightly) different ways. You know, the tried-and-true, “Power Strike 2 is a very good hand-held shooter -- far better than the first GG Aleste. There’s some cool bosses and a good choice of weaponry. The action’s pretty fast and the only real problem I had was that most of the bosses were pretty easy to overwhelm with my fully-powered Neo Napalm attack.” Thrilling stuff. All I need is to add a “rent/buy” section for this 13-year-old game's review to truly enter the realm of the ridiculously banal.

So that’s where the concept of “inspiration” comes in. I planned (and even mentioned in at least one IM) that I was going to revolutionize the way shooter reviews were written, so even jaded pros who’ve seen commentary on every great (and poor) game of note would be AMAZED at my skill, wit and ingenuity. I’m a fairly creative person when I want to be, so I was confident I could come up with something new and exciting. So, I sat down and waiting for that perfect idea to slam into my brain with sledgehammer-like velocity!

..........
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Damn! Inspiration had failed me. Maybe I’d overestimated myself or maybe I’d just enlisted the wrong game to assist me in the task of altering my writing style for an entire genre. Because, while Power Strike II is a solid game, it’s not capable of unleashing the inner greatness of an ordinary man. For a hand-held game, it’s pretty top-of-the-line, but I’ve never felt that portable systems and shooters were the best match. There’s no way to even come close to duplicating that magical arcade feeling on a screen the size of a potato. Instead of being so enthralled by this very respectable title that I was able to instantly unleash the shooter review to end all shooter reviews....I found myself wishing I’d scrapped the whole idea and just played M.U.S.H.A. again. I liked the game, but by the time I was done, I merely felt I’d played a good hand-held shooter, as opposed to a good shooter, period.

And this was where desperation set in. In searching for that elusive burst of inspiration, I found myself running low on motivation once again. But I had to come up with something, didn’t I? Fortunately, for low-level journalists like me, things like “pressure” and “desperation” are two of the more endearing elements of my job. Now, I was finally in my element. I feverishly hunched over my keyboard and started wildly typing, forcing myself to imagine a J. Jonah Jameson-like boss screaming in my ear about how my ass was history if I didn’t get my assignment done -- YESTERDAY!

Yeah, that sort of thing’s really not good for my mental health, but it did get the job done. Desperation proved to save my ass when inspiration unexpectedly went on vacation. And so, dear reader, here we are -- at the conclusion of desperation’s fruit; a rambling 850-word essay where, despite my best efforts, I actually did spend a smidgen of time talking about the game I was reviewing. It might not be the catalyst I was looking for as far as reinventing the shooter review, but writing it did eat up the final two hours I needed to work to get my 40 in for this week, so I’m satisfied!

Rating: 6/10

overdrive's avatar
Staff review by Rob Hamilton (August 20, 2006)

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

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