Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
Religion is a wonderful thing - but not in this case! The God of Destruction, Emperor Bios, has created eight unpleasant gods to help him rule the universe. However, Bios' idea of "ruling" involves killing, torturing, raping and even introducing the poll tax!
This conversion of the arcade classic features the hero flying over horizontally-scrolling landscapes shooting anything that moves and even things that stay still. His weapons of destruction fire continuously, and the two buttons rotate his disher of doom left and right. Most creatures transform into cash bubbles once zapped, which can be collected and spent in the shops located on each level to buy weapon upgrades, extra lives and health.
Each level differs graphically, with ruined lands, spaceships and Egyptian temples forming the backgrounds. At the end of each level a huge guardian blocks the way and only skill - and firepower - will allow progress. With only one life to begin with, the player better watch the life meter carefully or it's curtains for blue eyes.
Early on in each level, a shop appears. Once inside, the hero has a choice of a number of death-dealing goodies and life-aiding devices Here's a peek...
The big beasties in Forgotten Worlds come in a host of shapes and sizes. The first one, Paramecium, is a big blob of evil, spitting gobs of death and surrounded by a protective satellites. The Egyptian God of War is next, who pummels the heroes with huge fists and zaps bolts from his eyes. After that, things start to get difficult...
The Megadrive version of Forgotten Worlds was one of the first games to be released officially in the UK. It's a great conversion, with arcade quality graphics and sound, but suffers from a similar problem to this Master System version insomuch that it's a bit too easy, and skilled players can complete it within a couple of days.
Although the Megadrive version was very polished, it suffered from being too easy. The Sega conversion also has this problem, and that definitely weakens the lasting appeal of the game. The graphics are of a very high standard (especially on the later levels) but the music is dire and distracting. It's not by any means a bad game; it just isn't that good either, and it's a shame that the two-player option has been lost. With Xenon II due out in the near future (see the preview in this ish) I'd recommend that you wait for that game, as it's a far better blast.
Sporting graphics that bear a remarkable resemblance to the original arcade machine, Forgotten Worlds is an enjoyable blasting game with plenty of action. However, it has one bad flaw - it's too easy. Within a couple of sittings you're right Into the game, and it doesn't take much practice to get to Bios and kick his head in. Had the gameplay been tougher, this would be highly recommended. As it stands, only those who are completely new to the shoot em up scene will get any challenge and long-term play out of it.