Arrow Flash (Genesis) review
"The 16-bit era saw the release of one hell of a lot of shooters. This is one of them."
It's probably telling that it wasn't until after I'd finished Arrow Flash -- a Genesis shooter I'd poorly written about many, many years ago -- for the second time that I realized that the ship you control has multiple forms. Apparently, by pressing a button, you can transform into a mech and back again, with the two working a bit differently. Your super-powerful special attack takes a different form, while certain sub-weapons, such as missiles and those mini-ships that flank yours in so many shooters, also are altered somewhat.
That's the sort of thing you'd think a person would instantly notice and almost-as-quickly take advantage of, switching between the two forms when circumstances dictated that one might be better suited to the game's challenges. Not me! I played through the entire game in mech form, so either that's the default or I had an early inadvertent button-press in the first level and never tapped that one again. And I found the mech to be well-suited to just about anything contained in Arrow Flash. In that form, your basic shots might go straight ahead, but your missiles are guided, so it's a well-rounded beast that works well. Even if I was actually aware I could have been switching back-and-forth, I probably wouldn't have because if something is working, why change it?
It also probably didn't help that Arrow Flash is the sort of mediocre and mundane offering that neither requires nor inspires experimentation. It's not one of the 16-bit era's elite shooters, but it also isn't the sort of complete rubbish that inspires reviewers like me to engage in paragraph after paragraph of low-rent stand-up comedy at its expense. It's just there. While some of the stages look nice and a couple of the musical selections sound good, it's not even close to being one of its era's best on an aesthetic level. It's not the most challenging or tricky shooter out there and much of the difficulty it possesses resides in the fact your ship-mech (mech-ship?) is a one-hit wonder that gets crippled all the way back to its default pea-shooter upon losing a life -- a pretty commonplace element in these games.
The mediocre appearance of this game becomes more noticeable when you realize its levels mostly are lifted from the Big Book of Generic Shooter Stages. While there might only be six stages in this game, five of them are divided into two distinct halves, allowing for you to cover all sorts of ground you've covered in basically any other shooter you've played. You start out by flying over clouds and then descend to finish the level over water. Future levels will see you in outer space, a forest, a cavern and a crystal tunnel. While a handful of those locations look fairly nice and are reasonably fun to play through, it's just hard to shake the feeling that I'd seen it and done it all before.
Staff review by Rob Hamilton (September 10, 2021)
Rob Hamilton is the official drunken master of review writing for Honestgamers.
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