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Halley Wars

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Reviewed by Inkhands Halley Wars is a well made overhead shooter for a system that really doesn't have a lot of shooters available. I do not know the plot in this game and I did not learn any background story by the playing the game. You can assume by the settings that someone from Earth is traveling through the galaxy to stop evil. I'm not sure what evil, but there's always a force of evil in games such as these. This game is rather typical in it's setup. You travel through a few different stages shooting enemies and earning powerups. The only options you have at the beginning of the game is to set the difficulty on one of three levels and also decide if you want your weapons to have normal firepower or turbo. The opening stage opens with a very brief shot of you flying over the Earth, but you will very quickly be flying over the surface of the Moon. Later stages have you passing over Jupiter and a space station on your way to the end of the game. Some of the later levels are rather lenghty. The difficulty setting determines how quickly the screen scrolls and how fast your enemies move. The powerups you acquire will turn your simple little laser beam, into a triple beam, and then to an even more powerful triple beam with laser blasts streaming out as well. You do not earn these powerups by killing enemies. You gain them usually by shooting at the many light grey rocks that appear along your path. It takes more than one shot to break open a rock. Not every rock has an item, but you can usually find upgrades to your weapon. You can also pick up a shield item. This shield serves as a good defense, because it allows you a few extra hits before disappearing. The other item you can pick up along the way is a side addition to your ship. One of those little things that will attach itself to your ship and shoot when you shoot. At the most I usually had four of these at any given time. I think that's the limit to how many you can possess at any one time, but it's still a nice addition. It really benefits your ship and it's attacking, particularly if you have the shield item and an upgraded weapon. Your beams will blast all over the screen and quickly wipe out any incoming enemy ships. However, these side weapons will explode when you hit them against either an asteroid or an enemy. This makes for moving through an asteroid field tricky if you want to keep all your side weapons. However, they can also be used as bombs. One button will fire normally, but the other one will release one of your side weapons, and it will sometimes destroy most of the enemies on the screen. Sometimes it doesn't do anything at all for me. For this reason, I usually keep them attached to my ship, as the extra firepower is more valuable than a sometimes useless bomb. If you lose a ship, they will detach and float around in space. If you move quickly enough you can retreive them and keep using them. You are given three ships per continue. When you lose a ship you immediately get a new one and continue from where you lost the previous one. If you lose a continue, you start that stage over. As far as I know, this game has unlimited continues. It doesn't have any way to save, but that's typical in shooters. You earn an extra ship for every ten thousand points you pick up. Also, you have a damage percentage. If you lose a ship or let an enemy pass you by, it will go up a few points. At the end of each level your percentage will drop a point for every two thousand points you earned during that level. Challenge depends on the setting. There is a boss at the end of each stage. They usually aren't too powerful, but they all require a certain strategy to be used. You will have to do a lot of moving and shooting, while memorizing just exactly what your enemy is going to do next. Memory skills is needed for most shooters and this one is included. I felt the game was rather easy, but on hard setting the enemies move faster, shoot more often, and recquire more hits to destroy. The control in this game is rather good though. You hit one button to shoot your weapon and the other to fire the side weapons you picked up. Moving the ship around is not a problem either, as it responds very well. Medium challenge and good control. I don't usually notice the music in video games and usually when I do, I don't much like it. However, this game offered up some nice themes that I actually liked to listen to. They do loop a little too often, but they sound good enough to not get too tiring. Mostly it's inspirational type music you do hear in space movies. There is a song that leads up to the boss battle at the end of each level that is very intense. The boss theme is actually less intense, but still pulsating as you move around the screen. The regular level music is a bit melancholy and features what sounds like something you might relax to, instead of shooting at enemy ships. No rock music here, no guitars, or drums. It sounds more like a synthesized flute. The sound effects are very limited. The regular sounding shots sound like someone hitting a drumstick against a bottle. The explosions are typical kabooms. Sometimes enemies will shoot lasers at you and it sounds like a sword slicing through the air. If you hit a boss in it's weak spot, you will get a booop, instead of the click on other enemies. Overall, I liked the music very much, but I wasn't impressed with the effects. However, I wasn't exactly disappointed with them either. Your little ship looks like a white triangle with a blue dot. All your weapons shoot green laser beams. Your side weapons look like two pronged forks. The enemy ships mostly look like regular ships, with varying shapes. There are a few original enemy designs, such as the floating box that shoots it's middle at your ship when it gets in line with you. For the most part, all the enemies are very small. The bosses aren't exactly detailed or designed well, and are actually quite small too. Of course I suppose that could be expected. The backgrounds are mostly black with white dots for stars, unless you pass over a planet or the Moon. When you do, the backgrounds are quite good. You can see the craters of the Moon and the swirls of Jupiter. There is a stage with dark grey asteroids that you can not shoot open. There is also a stage with a space station setting. What the game lacks in graphics is variety, but it does make up for it by being very colorful. Also, the game moves very well. Nothing to complain about graphically, except the lack of detail some of the ships have, and the empty backgrounds. Just black and white dots, isn't interesting, but the planets are nice looking. This game doesn't offer much in terms of replay value. Play through it once, I don't think you'll play through it again. The game doesn't have any extra modes, it's just a straight forward shooter. One disappointment was the lack of variety in the weapons. You really only have about four levels of upgrades. If you lose a ship, you usually begin with one upgrade lower than what you lost the ship with. I still had some fun with this game and it's certainly worth a few plays. It's not worth buying a Game Gear or putting a lot of effort into hunting the game down. However, if you happen to already own the system and you see this game cheap somewhere, then buy it if you like shooters. It's a nice little diversion and it can be quite entertaining for a whle. Graphics - 7/10 Sound - 7/10 Control - 7/10 Challenge - 6/10 Appeal - 6/10 Game Play - 7/10 Replay Value - 5/10 Overall - 7/10

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