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Strikers 1945 (PS1)

Strikers 1945 II PSX
Genre: Action
Perspective: Side view, Top-down
Visual: 2D scrolling
Gameplay: Arcade, Shooter
Interface: Direct Control
Vehicular: Flight / Aviation
Published by: Agetec
Developed by: Psikyo
Released: 2001
Platform: PlayStation (PSX, PS1)

When I launched Strikers 1945 II for the first time, I experienced a slight sense of confusion. Knowing in advance about the advanced age of the game from Psikyo, I nevertheless did not expect to see a tiny painted airplane gliding along a flat background.

A less curious person in my place would surely have silently turned off the console, without knowing how something like that could have appeared on a 32-bit system in 2002. But I decided to go to the end, and it turned out that the Strikers are a rather respected series of arcade scrolling shooters. Psikyo, who developed it (a studio specializing in developing games of this class), in the mid-90s released the original for the NeoGeo gaming machine.

In this case, we are dealing with the second representative of the Strikers family, which was transferred to the console from Sony in an almost original way. Looking at the screen, you will not find any signs that the game is running on the PlayStation hardware. What is happening fits in a narrow vertical strip, bounded by black edges in the shape of the display arcade machine. Those who have missed the era that gave birth to the Strikers 1945 II are given a chance to experience what gamers lived about ten years ago. In those days, with one simple game, they sometimes sat for days, training their fingers and honing the reaction. Those wishing to succeed in Strikers will have to do the same.

There is no story here at all. One thing is known: the Second World War is going on, and you, obviously fighting on the side of the Allied forces, must make a fiery hail of the fortifications of the Nazis, whose technologies more closely resemble science fiction films. You also get one of the six flimsy-looking fighters (the models presented here do exist), the arsenal of which would be envied by a squadron of missile carriers.

On the playing field, which scrolls from top to bottom, you look down. Moving on the screen in the same plane, you must shoot hordes of enemies and dodge their bullets. The weapons available to you are different, but it can be divided into three general classes. The main thing - it is a machine gun, which should not fall silent for a second. Along the way, you pick up capsules that increase its power. The second type of attack is associated with a scale at the bottom of the screen. The more often you hit a target, the faster it fills up. Having “painted” the ruler to a certain mark, you can use your individual weapon, the power of which depends on the amount of stored energy. The last and most effective remedy is the call of the allies. Arrived planes will cover you, causing great damage to the enemy. The number of such summon'ov, of course, is limited.

Enemy activity depends on the selected level of difficulty. But in any case, the opponents will not be almond and open fire from all guns. As is usually the case in arcades, projectiles fly relatively slowly, but in full clouds. You only need one single thing to lose your life. Do not worry, several attempts, plus an endless continue. “What is the problem then?” You ask. Yes, the fact that the loss of all lives at first clears points, and at the later stages drops to the top of the zone. Survival will help skills that can give only enhanced training. To learn how to dispel enemy fire and wade through dense labyrinths of bullets, you need to fall into a state close to trance. Timely and competent application of a special arsenal can also help to get out of the most hopeless situation.
One or more times during the mission you will encounter a boss - a modest metal monster armed to the teeth. The main enemy is always known in advance, since its image precedes the beginning of the level.

Strikers 1945 II has several additional options. On the title screen, you can choose one of two methods by displaying the background. In the first case, it moves uniformly in one direction, and in the second, it slightly scrolls back and forth depending on the movements of the fighter. This in some way affects the gameplay, allowing you to adjust your own speed. Psikyo introduced support for a memory card, but you can only use it in the main menu, and the main goal of save'a is to save record points.

So we got to the sensitive issue of graphic design. Attacking Strikers 1945 II with a storm of criticism does not make sense, because the game was released in 1997 for the NeoGeo submachine gun. Nevertheless, the owners of the PS1 has the right to rely on a more digestible image. Something like that would look organically on SNES or SEGA Genesis, but not on the PlayStation, especially when there is an example of numerous fully 3D projects (Philosoma, Einhander).
The appearance of the bosses - this is probably the only thing that deserves praise. Unlike ordinary enemies, they are constantly transformed and at the same time well animated. Although, on the other hand, if you do not have any particular complaints about the Metal Slug picture, then you will not suffer much from Strikers 1945 II either.

Music is expressed by a set of sample melodies that are easy to listen to and just as easily forgotten.
The sound is below average: monotonous shooting and inexpressive muffled explosions.

Do not think that I am trying to defame the Strikers 1945 II in the eyes of the reader, I would just like to give an idea of how the game really looks like. However, making a verdict, you should not evaluate its appearance from the point of view of modern standards. Before us is an old vertical scrolling shooter for NeoGeo, in which you can now play on the PlayStation with support for analogue control. Nevertheless, the authors of Psikyo, I am ready to slap a fat count for laziness. On the console from Sony, their creation could look much better, if they put a little effort.