Space Megaforce (SNES) review
"Is Space Megaforce the best space shooter ever made? I don't know. Probably not. As much as I like space shooters, I'm no expert of the genre, and I'm sure that plenty of shooter buffs would argue the point. I can tell you, though, that of all the space shooters I've ever played, Megaforce takes the cake. No doubt about it. "
Is Space Megaforce the best space shooter ever made? I don't know. Probably not. As much as I like space shooters, I'm no expert of the genre, and I'm sure that plenty of shooter buffs would argue the point. I can tell you, though, that of all the space shooters I've ever played, Megaforce takes the cake. No doubt about it.
You can go ahead and put Megaforce with Chrono Trigger, Half-Life and Banjo-Kazooie as one of those games that does nothing particularly new yet still manages to be an all-time classic by doing everything near-perfectly. Offering little in the way of innovation, this game scores points by simply doing everything exactly as it should be done. At a glance, Megaforce does nothing to differentiate itself from the gazillions of other space shooters out there. Yet somehow it rises above them in many ways, with perfectly balanced gameplay mechanics and design.
Thing is, Toho knows what a good space shooter needs: Dozens of enemies flying in from every direction, mounted turrets on every wall, hundreds of bullets whizzing by, semi-destructible environments, a fast and seamless pace, plenty of variety, cool power-ups, screen-clearing bomb attacks, catchy music, and huge boss battles that end with enormous, deafening explosions. Megaforce delivers on all fronts. The game is frantic and intense, but smooth and enjoyable. Never once was I not having fun with this title.
Megaforce wastes no time getting started. The first level launches players directly into an iron grip that is never released until the credits roll. This first stage sets the tone for the entire game, and not just with its crisp graphics or upbeat music. Enemies of all types soar in every direction. Gun turrets engage in non-stop fire. Blocks and vulnerable walls must be shot out of the way to clear your path. You'll be in constant motion, and your skill with the SNES's d-pad will ultimately be tested as you weave through literally dozens of bullets at a time. You'll also be given the chance to try out some of the game's power-ups – some of which are great, and others are just plain useless. It all comes to a close with a multi-pronged boss attack – clear it, and you'll be rewarded with the obligatory loud explosion.
By the time you get to the second level, they've bumped it up a notch. Some enemies start sporting energy shields. Others will now attempt to suicide into your little ship. Robots will swarm and outflank you. Bombs go flying. Turrets pop up in every direction. The stage even scrolls backwards on occasion. It is true chaos, and it becomes apparent that this, my friends, is what the space shooter genre is all about. It's about constantly being aware of what's going on around you. You have to think quick, and then act twice as fast. Constantly being on your toes and never feeling truly safe – even for a moment – is the sensation Megaforce so greatly delivers.
Megaforce even manages to avoid one of the genre's biggest pitfalls in that it's never too hard. Some more seasoned players may actually think that Megaforce is too easy, but I say the game's difficulty is executed without fault. As chaotic and frantic as it can be, you'll never feel truly overpowered. The game is never frustrating, but at the same time it never feels quite hand-holding. It's never easier or harder than it should be – it's always just right. An unconventional health system (as opposed to the more traditional one-hit-then-you're-dead method) certainly helps.
The graphics? Colorful, smooth and seamless. The sound? Clear and on-point. The replay value? Limitless. There is virtually nothing negative I can say about this game in any given area, which, to me, is the sign of something special.
That is the verdict. Megaforce is special.
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