Silver Eagle (NES) review
"Silver Eagle is an odd game to describe. Perhaps the best retro comparison that can be made is with Quintet’s Actraiser. Silver Eagle is not a 2D-Platformer combined with town-building simulator, but it is similar in the sense that it basically has two entirely different games from two entirely different genres combined seamlessly into one. In short, one half of Silver Eagle is a 2D-esque overhead action game reminiscent of Metal Gear with less stealth and more..."
Silver Eagle is an odd game to describe. Perhaps the best retro comparison that can be made is with Quintet’s Actraiser. Silver Eagle is not a 2D-Platformer combined with town-building simulator, but it is similar in the sense that it basically has two entirely different games from two entirely different genres combined seamlessly into one. In short, one half of Silver Eagle is a 2D-esque overhead action game reminiscent of Metal Gear with less stealth and more action in which you walk around a dungeon shooting down enemies, and the other is a static screen shoot-em-up with only boss enemies.
If that sounds appealing at all, it does have its merits. In the action game segment, you have to walk around four giant enemy bases (something about terrorists) with varying backgrounds and different tunes, each with upwards of twenty room, fighting off guards, fending off wildlife (as odd as their presence in a damn terrorist lair may seem), and destroying robotic drones. The action is fairly simple – you hit the A button, you fire a bullet in the direction you are facing. As stated before, the action is an overhead view much like Metal Gear, so you can see your enemies before they see you, and set yourself up to shoot someone or something in the back. Various power-ups are littered around the dungeons with generous portions that allow you to utilize a machine-gun, a perforation gun, and a bazooka (albeit with limited ammo), restore your health, give you a bomb that can destroy everything on screen, and increase your speed from that of a slug to a more reasonable, human-like pace.
The main character’s objection in each area is to lay down bombs that will blow up after a certain amount of time (aka your time limit). In practice, this means that across each base, there are objects that resemble the head of a bald eagle lying all over the place. You have to physically walk over each of these eagle heads, and you will automatically lay down a time bomb. Once you lay down time bombs at each appointed location (helped out by a handy map for each area), you have to find the exit outside of the base, where you will then pilot the titular Silver Eagle and take on a boss, transiting into the second half of the game.
The shmup portion is actually somewhat nifty, albeit very primitive. You have to move in the four cardinal directions as you have to dodge the attacks of the stage boss, and return fire at it. Whatever bombs and weapon power-ups that you picked up in the first segment also carry over, meaning that if you were conservative with your special attacks, the boss will be easier as a result. And, the final boss is a giant robot in the vein of early Gundam units.
Unfortunately, the game falls flat in some of its technical aspects. When your character starts out, he is literally as slow as a snail, and it is not until three or four speed power-ups later that he can move at a reasonable pace (and if you lose one of your three allotted lives, it is back to square one for you). Secondly, the enemies offer no real intelligence, but rather have the ability to sense you if you are behind them, turn around, and fire a bullet that travels down the aisle with relatively quick speed. The three special weapons do not offer much variety, either; although they have different speeds at which the ammunition travels, they are usually just one-hit kill forward-moving attacks. Also, ecause many rooms are large enough that your screen cannot display it entirely, the screen has to shift as you move away, but it does in a very clunky manner; to boot, multiple rooms have minefields on the floor that you cannot see as a result until you walk into them. Missing even one eagle head means that you cannot proceed on to the next mission, and so you have to continue searching for it, requiring an aggravating run-through of maze-like areas with one-way doors and multiple pathways (made even more annoying by respawning foes), something that you are often unable to afford because of the time limits on missions. Lastly, certain enemies in these levels are actually invincible, even though they will walk around and block passageways and hurt you by the damage on contact rule.
The shoot-em-up is not so hot either in the one area it really lacks; attack diversity. Each boss has a maximum of three attacks (and some less than that), and each attack is either a giant laser beam going straight down the middle from the boss’s location, shooting out a couple of homing missiles that can be shot down, or spitting out multiple pea-sized bullets that can be easily dodged by simply moving left or right as soon as you recognize the attack animation. If you can instantly adapt to an attack after a single trial run and not get hit by it subsequently (as was the case for me), then there clearly is not enough challenge either.
In the end, Silver Eagle is not really that bad of a game, but it certainly is not anything special (and has aged quite a great amount being a Famicom game), and the only reason that it could be considered any more than just slightly above average is because it is probably one of Sachen’s best games. Of course, with the crap that came with unlicensed Famicom publishers, that really is not saying much. And I beat it in an hour.
Community review by darkstarripclaw (February 26, 2008)
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