Sunday, September 5, 2021

Game 34: Airforce Delta

 It's Konami! That's what I thought when I started this game. I like Konami games! Classics like Kid Dracula, City Bomber, and Whoo Yarth Taar, the gambling game explicitly for kids. Yes, Konami is a classic of gaming, and I'm sure they'll always be remembered as such.

These intros get harder every time, I'm not gonna lie. I really like to ensure that I get beneath the picture with the text, so I have to type quite a bit of introductory stuff. But y'know what?

This is a game where you fly a plane and shoot stuff.

And it's fine! I have some criticisms but I enjoyed my time with it somewhat. It's definitely not as interesting as "Australian puppet what looks like Jim Henson threw up during a bender."

I'm gonna be riding high on that one for a while.
Plane joke

Look at this game though. It's friggin gorgeous, and it looks even better in motion. The 3D effect is really...effective. I'm assuming it's a fairly simple color cycling animation for the ground and sky, but it works. Each level also has unique palettes for the sky and ground's just cool as hell.

What you're actually doing is far less interesting, unfortunately. fly a plane and shoot stuff. Each level has a specific mission involving destroying a set amount of planes, tanks, missile batteries, or trucks. Your plane has an endless machine gun and a limited amount of tracking missiles. You constantly move forward and enemies come at you...basically forever. Or until the time limit runs out, I suppose.

The machine gun is kind of interesting. It has a sort-of lock-on system, where the enemy closest to where you're pointing gets a little cursor around it, and as long as you hold fire, your plane will slowly gravitate towards it. You can nudge this in the right direction to speed this up, or you can just hold A until the enemy eventually lines up with your bullets. It's...okay?

They say that Paul Bunyan swatted an F-18 Hornet out of the sky using his Paul Bunyan-sized flyswatter. 

Between missions, you can purchase new planes (or more stock of existing planes). Gunning down enemies gives you money, and you can also pick up extra money as powerups in the stages. I never really had a problem with money.

Enemies will try to kill you by shooting homing missiles at you. This is a neat mechanic - dodging them involves basically changing your direction at the last second, and takes a bit of practice to get right. Unfortunately, after a little bit of time this can be a little too easy, meaning that the one tool enemies have is nullified with a little effort.

That little orange thing is a missile. Honestly it looks way better in motion.

There are also bosses, which are planes but big. These generally involve shooting 5 weak points (in order, you can't pick and choose) and dodging missiles at the same time. This is a lot more challenging since there are way more missiles than in a regular level. Honestly a boss rush version of this game would be more my style.

Get wrecked

And that's about it! Do missions, sometimes kill a boss, buy a new plane, repeat. 

The biggest issue I have with this game is that it's boring. The missions are always things like "destroy 10 trucks" or "destroy 8 planes of this specific model" and it ends up being a lot of "waiting for the game to generate the kind of enemy I need to shoot, and shooting it." It's not very interesting!

I also ran into a much bigger problem on level 6, which was fuel. The white bar at the top is the amount of fuel left, and once it's gone, your plane explodes. I'm not sure what kind of mechanisms one puts into a vehicle to make it explode when all of the combustive material is already gone, but apparently this plane is equipped with it.

Science has failed us once again

You can refuel, but to do it you have to randomly get a powerup from destroying a plane or vehicle. I saw my fuel was at about half and decided to refuel, and spent five full minutes just shooting down planes and hoping a fuel can would pop out. Nada. Nothing. Zero.

So not only is the game boring, the main challenge seems to be defeating a random number generator to extend your life, or miraculously getting all the right enemy types to complete your mission very quickly. It's a strange decision!

We'll be seeing partial cloud cover until Thursday, at which point a high pressure planefront will move in from the northeast and blow up all of the other planes

As usual, I have saved the research portion of this for last because I hate preparing.

For whatever reason, I played the Japanese version of this - it has an English version with the same name though! Oops! Maybe that would have helped.

Also, it turns out this is a GBC port of a Dreamcast game, which I bet is much more complex and interesting. Honestly this might be one of the better ports I've seen, since it's both visually interesting and...well, playable. 

There were 3 sequels, one of which was a Japan-only mobile game. I bet that one's the best one. It seems like this series falls solidly in the "fine" camp across the board though, at least according to video game reviewers.

Yeah, I dunno. I definitely get a "fine" vibe off of this. It functions as a game, it has decent music (lots of arpeggios!!), and it certainly kills time. Hard to say anything interesting about it though! 

That's what I would have called this game

Next time, we'll be diving back into the world of "games I don't have any chance to understand whatsoever due to cultural barriers, illiteracy, and lack of anime/manga knowledge," which is a major theme of my life come to think of it. Seen you then!

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