Every cloud has a SEGA lining

MOUNT Gyogo is a very weird place. A high mountain range dotted with Buddhist temples and some very strange creatures.

This beautiful mountain provides the scrolling terrain for Cloud Master, the latest horizontal shoot-em-up for the Sega. At first glance it is easy to get the impression that you are looking at an Amiga or ST game - so sharp and colourful are the graphics. This sharpness is created by a black line around all the objects on screen, giving the impression of cartoon animation.

The enhanced graphics and depth of game play are due to a new more powerful type of cartridge with greater memory, now being used by Sega in some of the latest Master System games.

The game itself offers nothing new, apart from its weird characters and the addictiveness of its game play. A tough shoot-em-up with the ubiquitous end of level nasties that seem to absorb endless amounts of Cloud Master bullets before blowing.

Our red hairded Japanese-looking hero - bearing an uncanny resemblance to Wonder Boy - sails through the five levels of the game aboard a fluffy white cloud

About half way through level one Cloud Master comes up against an adversary on a cloud. Almost impossible to blast off his cloud without at least two power-ups this nasty has the annoying habit of doing a fly past - guns blazing - every time he gets the better of you.

Get past this mid-point and a window opens up in the upper floor of a Buddhist temple. Go inside and take your pick from a choice of four super weapons. Whatever you pick, the computer comes up with "ah, yes, a very good choice".

I found the four revolving balls of flame to be the most effective in your encounter with the first end of level nasty, which follows shortly after your visit to the temple.

This nasty will crack you up. A giant hen, beautifully drawn, and again graphically superior to many other end of level guardians from 16-bit games. This hen is no chicken (Sorry), very tough in fact, spitting mouthfuls of darts at you and taking several hits to kill. To best the end of level baddies you need to manoeuvre constantly to avoid the flak as well as continually pumping the fire button. Nice and tough, just as it should be.

There are five levels in total. Mount Gyogo is followed by the River Kwo, and then then three other levels of increasing difficulty. As you float though the levels on your cloud you are far from lonely as you as machine gun toting pigs take pot shots at you - and someone, or something, is flinging pigs and cats heads at you from the right of the screen, just out of view.

This is a welcome addition to the Sega's shoot-em-up catalogue.The only other decent horizontal blaster is R-Type - which was a bit glitchy and perhaps too much for the SMS to handle. Cloud Master is just right - fast, pretty, and tough.


Eugene Lacey

Predicted Interest Curve

Addictive shoot em up that will take some time to clock.

£24.95dk OUT NOW

ACE magazine

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