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Space Megaforce (SNES) artwork

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.

Suskie's avatar
Community review by Suskie (July 06, 2007)

Mike Suskie is a freelance writer who has contributed to GamesRadar and has a blog. He can usually be found on Twitter at @MikeSuskie.

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Masters posted October 24, 2008:

Nice job. It's funny -- there's no middle ground with this game. People either love it or hate it. I get the impression some people even hate it because others love it. But you are totally in the cool book for loving it (assuming this isn't a joke review, in which case I feel like a fool).
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psychopenguin posted October 24, 2008:

This review was a quick read and very well written. And I disagree with you on the point that people either love it or hate it, Masters. There's definitely a lot of varying opinions, like seemingly every popular SNES game has nowadays, but there are people like me that just found it to be another average space shooter. :)
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Masters posted October 24, 2008:

I stand corrected PP. But in my small circle, it seemed as if people were either saying "wow this is a rocking SNES shooter!" or else "SNES shooters suck, and here's the best proof". I guess there are you indifferent folks too! ^_^
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Suskie posted October 24, 2008:

This isn't a joke review at all. In fact, I received so much flak when I first posted this here (on the very basis that I -- gasp -- liked the game) that I figured this thread would just be another potshot. Thanks for proving me wrong, and for the comments. I wrote this review at least two years ago and I feel I've grown a lot as a reviewer since then, but this is one of the few reviews from my pre-HG days that holds up fairly well.
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Masters posted October 24, 2008:

Ha, I would think you'd know I wouldn't be potshotting anyone. Especially considering when you came out with your praise review, my 10/10 review for the same game was already up. I've been catching flak with my score for even longer, sadly.
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Suskie posted October 24, 2008:

I wouldn't expect it from you, no, but I first saw this thread on the front page and didn't know who wrote it. So I saw it and thought, "Oh boy, here we go again..."

I knew you'd written a 10/10 review as well, but that was before my time so I wasn't sure if people had been giving you a hard time about it as well. We're in this together, you and I.
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Masters posted October 24, 2008:

Yeah, lots of folks had this big hate on the SNES campaign going back in the day which is only now subsiding. They derided it for its use of Mode 7 and its popularity and the level of intelligence of its 'drooling fans'. Space Megaforce was one of the more popular targets as far as the SNES's actually library went.
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EmP posted October 24, 2008:

And a fair target it is.

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