Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
The Sega 3-D glasses have proved to be an expensive white elephant, with only two games to date utilising the effect (only one if you count the fact that Zaxxon 3D had a secret 2-D option). Nevertheless, Sega continue their spectacle support with the release of Blade Eagle and, in the near future, a 3-D version of the classic Space Harrier. When questioned about a price for Blade Eagle Sega told THE GAMES MACHINE that no figure had been decided on; as soon as we know, we shall let you know.
Conflict arises once again in deep space. This time the robot defence forces in the fortresses on Triton, Proxima and the floating stronghold of Mira have gone berserk and revolted. At the same time, sensing that the defences have collapsed, an alien invasion fleet is attacking the fortresses making it doubly dangerous for any Craft entering the region. Undaunted by these formidable threats, the fighter Blade Eagle sets off to bring peace to the galaxy through the use of maximum force.
The scene is set for what is a straightforward shoot-'em-up viewed from above and behind, but employing the 3-D glasses to create depth. The ship can, at the press of a button, fly 'into' or 'out of' the screen, its shape shrinking or growing depending on attitude. This is not a novel extra but a necessity, as a lot of the aliens attack at different heights, forcing the player to use 3-D to judge their altitude before diving or climbing to intercept. To make matters worse, alien bullets also use the effect, either flying towards the Blade Eagle at a set or alternating height.
Like many other shoot-'em-ups, aliens swirl around the screen unleashing plasma bolts, mutant creatures move up and down in altitude and gun emplacements on each level do their utmost to terminate your mission. Once past the first line of defence on each level, alien mother ships appear, firing plasma bolts and rockets. Rewards for taking them out can be anything from extra speed, lasers or double cannon to a drone ship firing and moving in unison with your own. The drone also serves as a replacement if Blade Eagle is destroyed.
Sega have taken a brave step in incorporating 3-D into an unoriginal game. The backdrop of deep space is a bad choice for creating an illusion of depth, though; it only begins to work (with limited success) when the ship flies down over the planet surface and towers loom into view. Owners of the 3-D glasses are hardly spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing games, so any new release which utilises the peripheral is more than welcome, and that's why Blade Eagle should find favour with Sega shoot-'em-up addicts.
SEGA Price to be announced
Unplayable without the special Sega 3-D glasses peripheral (see screen shot!). The illusion isn't perfect, ghost images appear from time to time and there is very little to distinguish between low and high-flying bullets, making survival difficult. However, the graphics manage to be varied in colour even through the glasses darkly.
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