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 Post subject: Strikers 1945 III (Arcade - Android - Nintendo Switch)
PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2020 8:23 am 

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Joined: 11 Oct 2008
Posts: 286
Location: Autobot City, Sugiura Base
F-22's in space, 8 years before Michael Bay.

With the announcement of Strikers 2020, i guess its a good idea to take a break from all those indie shooters and focus on some arcade shootouts. For this review, we will see Strikers 1945 III/Strikers 1999.

Since the game takes a leap from the alternate World War II era to a more modern day setting, the prop planes are replaced with more advanced aircraft. So, let's take a look at what this game has to offer.

The "I want to be the new Tomcat". Tom Cruise not included.

McDONNELL DOUGLAS / BOEING F/A-18E SUPER HORNET: The All-Rounder Balanced Type jet. Tagged in game as "F/A-18" The "E Model" Super Hornet features a blue spread shot backed up with by its Homing Missile subweapon, which locks on any enemy in sight. It's Supershot is the Rapid Missiles, which fires a fast volley of missiles capable of destroy many enemies easily even on level 1. However, the Super Hornet's strength lies on its bomb, the Super Tomahawk, which summons a Tomahawk missile that creates an explosion with a considerably long burn time, resulting in a very useful weapon for both defensive and offensive purposes.

Man-made UFO according to space paranoids.

LOCKHEED MARTIN F-117 NIGHTHAWK: Simply named as "Stealth", this is "The slow and strong" of the group. This jet features a 7 way purple laser spread shot combined with the Heat Mine, which releases slow but powerful mines that damages anything in contact. It's Supershot, the Sonic Wave, is a devastating attack that makes the pods that follow your jet generate a constant pulse of energy so lethal that can kill bosses without being on level 3. It's bomb is the Thunderbolt, which releases a satellite-based laser attack.

Product does not convert.

LOCKHEED MARTIN F-22 RAPTOR: The modern day jet of the group, this jet fires a green fast-linear shot backed up by the Baryon Laser which fires six frontal lasers like the Wind Laser in Axelay, and the Valiant Laser in Natsuki Chronicles.
Its Supershot is the Twin Stinger, which unleashes a devastating large Twin Laser blast. Its special attack is the Cluster Bomb, which drops several bomblets pelting the screen with explosions.
Ironically, its shot and supershot are quite weak for a 5th generation aircraft.

As seen on True Lies. Arnold Schwarzenegger not included.

McDONNELL DOUGLAS / BOEING / BRITISH AEROSPACE / BAE SYSTEMS AV-8B HARRIER: Tagged as AV-8, this is the Bomber type of the team, It's twin linear purple lasers are backed up by the Straight Missile, which fires missiles in a single direction similar to the "M" in Raiden, and they generate explosions after impact.
Its Supershot, the Hunter Formation, makes its pods to chase any enemy on sight. It's bomb is the B-52 Carpet Bombing, which summons two large planes to bomb the screen, covering it with explosions just like Mosquito's bomb in the previous games.

Straight from the 70's.

McDONNELL DOUGLAS / BOEING F-4 PHANTOM II: The explosive type. Its main shot features a 5 way spread shot backed up by the Roll Napalm, which releases missiles that generates explosions capable of piercing through enemies.
Its Supershot, the Cross Napalm releases a swirl of explosions powerful enough to critcally damage bosses on its first two levels and even kill them in power level 3, rivaling the F-117's Sonic Wave. It's bomb is the Samurai Sword '99, which is exactly the same as the Shinden in the previous Strikers games: Releasing a plasma shot shaped like the plane that passes through the enemies.

Transforms from jet to robot and back!

BOEING / NASA X-36: The Transformer of the group, and when i say the "Transformer", it's because the jet is "More Than Meets The Eye" and in fact, transforms into a robot. Featuring a frontal 5-line laser fire, its beams are backed up by the Variable Laser, a homing laser that locks and passes through enemies just like the Flying Pancake from Strikers 1945 II, causing considerable damages. It's Supershot, the Spiral Laser, fires a rapid stream of large orbs of energy while the jet transforms.
It's bomb is the Mega Smasher, where the jet transforms into a robot and gains altitude high enough to release a Genkidama-like blast in pure Dragon Ball Z style.
This is the secret fighter of the game which can be accessed by inputting the code 01999 on the arcade's "Service Mode".

The gameplay changes the use of prop-planes for modern aircraft in the style of Video System's Aero Fighters series, which in my opinion is much better and fits perfect on the franchise. One of the best things of the gameplay is that the bombs are back as bombs unlike Strikers 1945 II where they're turned into Supershots while the "bomb" summoned a defensive attack. Having those things back is crucial since the game will pelt you with more bullets than its predecessors. Thus, if you want to give the game a try or are you a newbie to danmaku/bullet hells, then set the difficulty on Easy 'cos even there, the game will be challenging enough to put your flight skills to the test.
Speaking of tests, the game features the Chains, which implies on taking the medals on the right time, in this case, when the medal is facing "front" and shines in white, that's when you have to pick it up to get 2,000 points, the second one will trigger the Chain. Picking another one adds another chain, maximizing your score further as you keep picking 2,000 point medals in a row, missing one will break the chain. If you can make 10 or more chains in a mission without dying then you should be a pro.
A new bonus feature of this game is the "Technical Bonus" which works like this: The "robot" form of the boss will deploy a blue core which you can destroy to get extra points, but its not gonna be easy since it will open fire to stop you from reaching it. This is when you have to predict when it will show the core (this becomes easier by playing the game constantly) and use the bomb to clear your path to take a shot.
Dying isn't the only problem you'll have to deal in this game. A physical collision with an enemy will drop your power down one level, rather than dying, so this is the closest thing to having HP in this series.

The Android version only allows you to play with the Super Hornet, while the other jets are unlockable by clearing certain requirements (100 bosses killed unlocks the Raptor), but also includes new things like the partner which acts like a second player controlled by the AI like in Contra Force, becoming quite useful in tough situations like boss battles.

As for the graphics, ┬┐Remember when Midway advertised Mortal Kombat as "So Real It Hurts" due to its realism?, Strikers 1945 III features incredibly realistic graphics that surpasses those of Mortal Kombat, Narc or any of Aicom/Yumekobo's shooters. The attract mode cutscenes give us a good view of how realistic they look like. The only error that i've found was how the F-22 releases the Cluster Bomb, doing a barrel roll, something that defies the functionality of a bomb since it has to leave the hatch using the Earth's gravity, something that is further defied in the space stages. Like in the first Strikers 1945, the game includes space missions with modern aicraft. While the Super Hornet, the Harrier and the Phantom II look odd in this environment, the Raptor, Stealth and X-36 fit quite well due to their design, specially the F-117 which already looks like a space fighter of some sorts.
The bosses also evolved, from being crabs to become more insect like, but still retaining the concept of transformability that identifies the Strikers series.

Into these worlds of unknown danger they ride.
They're the Galaxy Rangers, heroes in the sky!
No Guts, No Glory!...Oh, taking a stand!, Ready to prove it again!

Like in the first Strikers 1945, the rewarding "After-Result Screen" pics are back, but for the disappointment of many, they don't show who is the pilot (┬┐Remember the "R-9 Pilot - Performed by You!" from Super R-Type?). Without a pilot identity, the illustration is a quite nice rendered image of the plane you used with the word "Excellent" or "Congratulations". While the second loop screen replaces the kanji with the word "The End" with an image of the Strikers jets in space, but in the same "pose" as in the title screen.

The soundtrack is quite fanfarrious and for some reason reminds me of StarFox blended with some of Chris Hulsbeck (Turrican, Jim Power) midi synthetization, specially the character select screen and the America stage that feels like something that you'll hear on a Corneria-based stage, There's some Thunder Force-like hard rocking tunes like the Japan and Australia stages, "Thunder Force Jim Power Mix" if you want to call it like that. Unfortunately, the game suffers from the unenjoyable soundtrack problem just like Aero Fighters 3, unenjoyable not because its bad, but because as soon as you're listening to the music, the boss theme begins to play due to the short length of the stages (1 minute long stages).

- This is the first entry in the Strikers series to feature modern aircraft.
- The X-36's Mega Smasher was inspired by Keaton's attack "Keaton's Rage" from Aero Fighters 3 and Sonic Wings Limited.
- The Phantom II's red stripe near the engine exhaust implies that the jet is the F-4EJ Kai, built under licence by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF).
- The missiles released by the Super Hornet's "Rapid Missiles" are based on the AGM-65 "Maverick" and AIM-54 "Phoenix" which share similarities on its design.
- For being a modern counterpart of the Lockheed P-38 Lightning, the F/A-18E's Boeing-made nature is quite of an irony.
- The word Baryon comes from the greek word "Barys" which means "Heavy" or "Strong" (Example: Baryonyx = Heavy Claw), something contradictorious for a weak laser backup.
- The red ball on the middle of the F-22 doesn't exist in the real plane.
- The real X-36 is smaller than the other jets since it was made as an unmanned aircraft.
- This is the only entry in the series where the player can "decide" which boss wants to fight in a stage (Space: Geo Bite or Cross Blade).
- The boss GT-D620 Hercules from Ginga Force, is very similar to Spike Arm.

If you're a fan of bullet hells and wants tough challenges, then this is the vertical shooter for you. The game keeps too many elements of Psikyo's days as Video System staff that feels like an Aero Fighters 4, can't wait to see what Strikers 2020 will bring to us.
Hope the digital downloads doesn't get removed due to Boeing's (and Lockheed Martin) corporate crybaby whining about aircraft licenses, specially since the Switch release doesn't have the "Boeing - Officially Licensed Product" or Lockheed Martin logos on the package (which flood all Movieverse Starscream toys nowadays), 'cos we've already know what happened to After Burner Climax because of "Corporate Crybabies".

Someone at Boeing and Lockheed Martin is like this right now.
Fan of Transformers, Shmups and Anime-styled Girls. You're teamed up with the right pilot!
Bringing you shmup reviews with humorous criticism.

STG Wikias: Thunder Force Wiki - Wikiheart Exelica - Ginga Force Wiki

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