Friday, May 23, 2014

Game 18: A-Force

Aaaaand we're back! I took a break so long that you could call it broken (such writing, much simile). As it turns out, 720 Degrees was the last game starting with a number, so now we're onto the first letter'd game! Yay!

And thanks to the magic of dashes, our first game in A is not Aardvark Quest or Aaaaaaapples, but the inspiringly named A-Force. According to the title of the ROM file, it's another Sachen beauty, who you'll remember from 2nd Space as a fine purveyor of unlicensed Nintendo software.

(Speaking of 2nd Space, I now think that game may have originally been written as a pornographic game. Usually, unlicensed games that involve slowly uncovering pictures aren't showing you architecture ifyouknowwhatImean)

Anyway, despite the ROM file saying Sachen, the title screen clearly states that Commin® made this game. Maybe this was just a clever trick to steer Nintendo off Sachen's tail, like a banana peel from a pirate kart.


Anyway, the title music straddles the line between chiptune epic and baffling Morse code, with its series of rousing key changes over irritating beepy bursts of noise. Not bad but not good either.

And obviously this was meant for the European crowd, because no self-respecting American would throw an extra U into armor. In fact, I'd prefer it if we just spelled it ARMR FC. Much leaner, more efficient. Saves on ink, you know?

There's also a high score on the title screen of 35,500, so that gives me a good goal to shoot for. I love default high scores for games I've never played. It could be one of those scores that's meant to be beaten the first time I play, or it could be absurdly high and I'll never ever beat it. Either way, I'll be aiming for it.

That's no moon! That's a borg sphere!
Already I have low expectations for this game. What an uninspiring title for a stage - Battle of Moon. Battle WITH Moon would interest me, or Battle ON the Moon, or really anything except this. It's just so generic, like Battle of Street. Battle of Kevin.

Oh, nevermind, totally inspiring. My bad.
That screenshot tells you everything you need to know about the game: space mechs shoot lasers balls at space ships planes and collect powerups. It's got a twist though. Everything is super duper slow. Like, really extra mega slow. Like trying to turn a bus 180 degrees at 5 MPH in the ocean. Like watching a sloth eat pudding with its weird claws.

Those planes take something like 6 hits to kill, too. I get in front of it and just pound on the A button hoping to destroy it before it slowly crashes into me like an iceberg, which it inevitably does because why not.

Luckily, I quickly get a powerup which splits my shots into three. This seems useful, until I realize that there are never more than 2 enemies on the screen at a time. It ends up being literally the same as having no powerup - get in front of the plane and shoot it, except now I'm also missing with two shots.

There are varied types of enemies, to be fair, as well as one other kind of shot that does waayyyy more damage and can kill multiple enemies in a line. So that's pretty cool.

What is it with Sachen and giant deadly flowers?
There also seems to be a special power that activates when hitting the B button. It makes me invincible and I can shoot these super death rays for about 10 seconds, which is also pretty cool. Not sure what the cost is, though, so I stop using it pretty quickly. I think it used some of my energy that I need to survive (as displayed in the damage counter) but I'm not sure.

So far, it's all very samey, and controls like R-type on Ketamine. I can already feel myself growing anxious and bored, like a child watching golf going "but when do the alligators attack?" No alligators, child Clint. Just old men hitting tiny white balls with sticks until they get tired of it.

I accidentally revert back to my original three-way-but-two-of-them-always-miss shot, which is really shitty, and then I encounter the boss.

Oh, uh, I didn't want this moon anyway
Cool, a giant boss. I'm down with that. I wonder if he has any special attacks or anything, like big lasers or creating little ships or something.

Oh, so he just slowly moves to the left, inescapably crushing and mangling my space mech beyond repair? Like a giant space bulldozer? Okay, cool, that's fine I guess. Does he at least have a cool g...oh, he shoots the same bullets as every other tiny ship that do almost no damage?


Well, anyway I get crushed by the boss ship of doom.

Like so
And I get the option of continuing my game or ending it. 

Pet peeve: games that ask me to waste a continue on the first level when obviously it would make more sense to just restart the game and not waste a continue. I don't know of any game that actually handles this well, so I'm not sure what I'm expecting from a pirated Game Boy game, but whatever.

Anyway, I'm not giving up on this one so easily! I start over and breeze through the first level this time...well, less like breeze and more like slowly wade through without taking damage. I get to the boss with the obviously superior weapon, use my special ability to avoid attacks and shoot him with death rays, and after a full 2 minutes of continuous shooting, I emerge...

Ugh. This boss has more health and vigor than a gorilla on steroids eating a low-carb, high-fiber diet. I don't even care anymore, this game is boring and slow. And boring. Did I mention slow?

It's obvious I could have beaten the high score if I'd defeated this boss, so I don't even care about that. I think I'm just going to forget this game ever happened, preferably with the help of copious amounts of white wine. 

A-Force? More like A-Hole!!!! Ahhahahhahahaoiudhdio
On the next episode of No Batteries: Clint goes into a labyrinth to make a starchy salad, and someone dies. Someone always dies.

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