Vapor Trail (Genesis) review
"Blazes no trails"
I played Vapor Trail on a whim with my 7-year-old son in the background playing something else on his tablet. At first he thought it looked cool, but he thought Roblox was a shoot-em-up, so what does he know. (He manages to redeem himself later in this writing--stay tuned.) Vapor Trail does not look cool. It looks like a fairly generic copycat of a fairly generic and overrated classic in the genre -- you know the one, Seibu Kaihatsuís Raiden. Back in the late 80's, Raiden was a huge deal, and Data East must have said, we have to have one of those! And the Sky Fang series was born, of which this title is the first.
Aside from being a mostly ho-hum, vertical me-too military-cum-space shooter, Vapor Trail's claim to fame, if in fact it is known for anything, are its hard-to-make-out digitized voices. Take down that gigantic tank boss thing, and before it goes up in flames, its pilot will utter, "I'm done!" It's not a bad idea, and I'm surprised more shooters of the day didn't try it. Compile's Blazing Lazers had a voice that announced power up pick ups pretty clearly; the same developer's Space Megaforce had comical utterances like the shaky pleading from one boss, "Leave me alone, will you?!" and the over-the-top ominous, "Welcome to the underworld...".
Staff review by Marc Golding (April 17, 2020)
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