If only there was an actual Aero
Fighters force. If there was, Saddam would be dead, the conflicts
in Europe and the middle east would be over, and the presidential
election would be decided. And even though we can all dream (at
least, all of the non-communists in the western hemisphere), there
are always the games to better envision the dream of a better working
Aero Fighters was a strictly alright game, with good music, graphics,
and gameplay, but nothing special. Aero Fighters 2 improves immensely
on the original, proving to be much better in every aspect.
The graphics are much improved, seeing as how Video System decided
to move onto the NeoGeoMVS for this go-around. Your plane is well-sized,
not too small or too large, and the backgrounds are filled with
detail (at least most of the time). The characters you can play
as are some of the wackiest seen in a shmup, ranging from a robotic
version of the main protagonist from AF1, to a Dolphin(!).
Everything you shoot is drab military
(except for the last stage...), but at least it's interesting drab
military. The bosses are usually huge, well animated, and have multiple
forms. They seem to conform to generic shmup cliches one to often,
however. One of my friends said something to me a couple days ago
- "One problem with shmups is that you always have to fight a cyber-spider
or a tank". And you've got to fight both in this game...
Moving on, the gameplay in this game is very simple, but it also
benefits quite a bit from the simplicity. The AF series was one
of the the last shmups in recent time to give you only a straight
forward shot and bombs, and although at times it can seem a bit
constricting, it also keeps you from getting too flustered with
yourself. It always comes down to either dodging whatever is coming
at you, or using a bomb to escape really hard moments.
If you die, it's your own fault. I'm also pretty sure that it's
possible to finish the game without continuing, which is always
good for a shmup. You can charge up your main weapon 4 times, as
in AF. Luckily, Power-ups are plentiful, so getting killed won't
screw you up too bad. This isn't Gradius, for sure. The only real
problem I had with the gameplay was the slight delay between using
bombs. Also, there are 10 stages, which is quite a bit for a shmup.
The music is alright, nothing too special. Some rather forgettable
regional-style tunes, although I thought that the first 5 seconds
of the boss music was pretty good. It gives you that exact feeling
of "you're utterly screwed" that so many other games miss.
Aero Fighters 2 is a shmup just barely nicking the 'great' area,
and although it has it's flaws, they aren't enough to detract much
from the enjoyability of the game in general.