Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
Time to leap into your bomber for a bit of raiding. As if you hadn’t guessed, this golden oldie is a vertical scroller with the emphasis on destruction. Your mission is set over five stages, each one having it’s own specific enemy target (ie end-of-level Boss!). You are shown a blueprint of the offending hardware, and then it’s off into the wide (but not very blue) yonder.
Your yondering takes you on a low level flight over enemy territory, littered with installations, ships, tanks and masses of airborne craft (but hopefully not for long!).
Give 'im a good tanking!
A stonking great battleship - and it's only level 1!
Your plane is a pretty special bomber in that it doesn’t actually carry any bombs as such (well, not the black, finned drop-out-of-the-sky variety anyway). What it does have though is three cluster bomb devices which fire an expanding circle of little red bomblets across the screen, cutting a swathe through the enemy forces and bringing instant death to the foe. Ha-ha haaa!
For your umpteen billion pounds, though, you do also get an upgradable forward firing blaster plus some bolt-on goodies to make life that little bit easier. But if you want 'em you gotta catch 'em! Shoot Power Pods to release tokens, and collect the tokens for extra firepower: you get the idea...
Having tooled up and become suitably hard, it only remains for you to blaze your way through the five levels, reach the final target (a top secret craft, with destructive capabilities of trouser-browning proportions), blow it to bits - and then start all over again from level 1!
Spinning Power Pods frequently appear on screen, and are blasted to reveal one of three tokens or a baddie...
GREEN P - Catching the P symbols gradually steps up the power of the blaster until it finally releases a wall of fire about 80 Ps later!
GREEN S - Get an S and (as well as the best console mag in the world - plug, plug) you’ll get a partial speed-up. Collect lots and you'll get a pretty nippy bomber!
RED 1 - Collect red tokens to earn yourself up to two escort fighters, flying in formation and firing in unison with the bomber. You can alter the shape of the formation and direction of fire of the two fighters, by shooting the red token as it drops. Each hit cycles through the numbers 1 to 4, and each number represents a different formation:
BADDIE - Nasty pointy spinny thing. Sizzle that mutha' before it bounces around the screen and collides with your plane!
(Image caption) Full firepower and twin fighters!`
It stands a chance that you’ve already got a vertical scroller - so why should you buy this one too? Well, for starters, Bomber Raid has some pretty wild power-ups, heaps of vicious enemies after your neck. In full flow the action gets really intense, and this is heightened by some punchy sound effects.
The opposition is fairly standard stuff, but there are just one or two surprise combos which keep you guessing! The guardian craft are fairly tough, although they just wobble around and shoot- nothing that interesting or unusual. The scenery is well drawn and nicely detailed with enough variety to stop things becoming yawnsome.
Basically, Bomber Raid is a very competent shoot 'em up: tough and plenty of fun. It won’t take that long to finish the final mission, but it does continue again from the first level for all you high score freaks!
▲ Smart backdrops with detailed and varied scenery
▲ Nice animation on your plane as it rolls from side to side
▲ Good explosions - for a change!
▲ Heavy explosion and gun effects really add power to your punch!
▼ Stupidly jolly 'hero-flying-to-his-inevitable-doom' music plods along in the background
▼ One soundtrack for the whole mission, plus upbeat panic-inducing tune during Boss sequences
▲ Five missions, with mid-level meanies and end-of-level Bosses
▲ You need to plan your attack tactically, selecting support squadrons to suit the action
▲ Blood pounding blasting action - with a few novel twists!
▲ The lack of continues means that it should take a while before completing (but not too long)
▲ Plenty of variety in enemy formations, installations and Boss craft to keep you on your toes
▼ First four levels don’t offer any really hefty opposition
Good, hectic blasting action! A snazzy shoot ’em up, which deserves a slot in every blaster fan's collection.