Master of Weapon (Genesis) review
"If that didn't make things easy enough, then reveal in the hailstorm of power-ups that drip from the screen every time you manage to shoot down one of the many lime-green penile-shaped ships that explode upon the merest of bullet grazes. These power-ups will literally outnumber enemy projectiles and offer you the substandard upgrades such as making your standard laser suddenly fire in double or triple spread shots. "
Few games reach the low that Master of Weapon reaches. The 16bit generation is supposed to represent the heyday for scrolling shooters, and indeed, it's easy to pluck genre staples straight from that time-line. Look to your Bio-Hazard Battles, your Gaiares, your Thunder Force 4s -- look at all these games to help further avert you gaze from Master of Weapon.
If you can't fly through the first level without incident, it's time to trade in your flying goggles for a stroller. Presented with two levels of targets, both air-bound and ground based, you'll find your in-flight foes are gunned down via your typical ship's cannon, or mashed with free-flowing bombs. You nuke ground targets as such with the help of a bright green cross-hair that remains forever fixed an inch in front of your craft's nose, creating the impression of layered game-play offering two differing sets of targets to deal with. But, seeing as you can -- and will! -- simply hold down both triggers and initiate both guns and bombs at the same time, you can mosey through the level spewing infinite streams of both. This effortlessly overwhelms the small numbers of foes that sail haphazardly into certain doom or scurry incompetently into DEATH FROM ABOVE below you.
If that didn't make things easy enough, then reveal in the hailstorm of power-ups that drip from the screen every time you manage to shoot down one of the many lime-green penile-shaped ships that explode upon the merest of bullet grazes. These power-ups will literally outnumber enemy projectiles and offer you the substandard upgrades such as making your standard laser suddenly fire in double or triple spread shots.
The problem is, you lose the ability to shoot straight forward when you get this 'upgrade'. Not that this is a problem, of course, as the targets display a lemming-like need to leap into certain death.
Consider the obligatory end-of-level boss for the first level. It's a Japanese-inspired sculpture of a trio of races formed from a huge, floaty rock-face. It sways slowly from left to right at the top of the screen, never changing direction until it bounces off the boarder and never picks up any differential of speed. It spews a tri-shot of glowing red balls. These move slowly and in the same pattern without fail. With still a continuous rain of power-ups pouring down upon you, you need only stay in a safe spot -- i.e.: 90% of the screen -- and plug away at the health of the boss.
Surprisingly, the boss has a fair amount of health. I guess if you're going to by slow, predictable and about as dangerous as a warm diet coke, you need to be tough.
But ol' stoney will fall and you'll find yourself quickly assaulted by more of the same. Master of Weapon is a lot of things, but before it's anything else, it's uninspired and flat. It's a failure snuggled amongst a host of successes.
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