Strikers 1945 Plus Portable Review
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Strikers 1945 Plus Portable feels dated, but offers classic, arcade-style action. It's a bit expensive for what you get.
- The fast arcade action
- The endless gameplay option
- The easy-to-play mechanics
- The dull visuals and audio
- The overwhelming difficulty
- The shortage of diversity and length; game is beatable in 15 minutes
Back when arcades were still all the rage, we imagine gamers dropped a lot of quarters on the Strikers 1945 series. The top-down World War II airplane shooter was hard, and with only a couple of lives, your 25 cents probably didn’t get you past the first stage. Now, some 10 years later, the PSP port of Strikers 1945 Plus is still extremely difficult, but what it offers is challenging, fast-paced action, rather than lush graphics and a complex storyline.
Strikers 1945 Plus Portable comes out Thursday for the PSP as a downloadable title on the PlayStation Network. The game, published by PM Studios, the team behind DJ Max Fever, puts you in the pilot seat of various planes. We’ve seen different incarnations of Psikyo’s arcade game on the PlayStation and NeoGeo. The portable version features the typical overhead arcade shooter power-ups, several simple levels, and an assortment of powerful, yet beatable bosses. With only two lives and heavy action from enemies, it’s certainly appreciated that PM Studios included an endless play feature in the PSP game, giving you infinite continues.
There’s a warning screen when the game first loads, advising you to play in 15 minute intervals, take frequent breaks, and to keep the PSP a safe distance from your face. At first, we thought this warning was a bit silly, but after playing through just a couple levels, we certainly needed a break. Your opponents shoot various colored ammunition, and if you aren’t careful your screen will fill with pink, red, and blue orbs of light, rendering your eyes soar and your thumbs exhausted. We agree with the warning—it’s an arcade game for a reason and should be played accordingly.
Once you create a user profile, you’ll have the option to play the single-player game or the ad-hoc multiplayer mode. Since we played the game before its official release, we were only able to try out the single-player mode, but the cooperative multiplayer sounds promising. In the single-player mode, you get your choice of six fighter planes: Lightning, Flying Pancake, SpitFire, Tal 52, Zero Fighter, and Fiat G-56. You can also have the game choose a random plane. Each fighter has its perks and downfalls, but there aren’t enough differences to justify heavily favoring one plane over another.
The gameplay in Strikers 1945 Plus Portable is simple. You have the ability to steer the plane, shoot, send in a bomb squad, and occasionally punish your enemies with a super shot. Some enemies give you modest ammo power-ups. Even though you’ll die a lot, a few of the power-ups stick around when you finally meet your maker, all adding to the endless gameplay concept. You get a few “bombs,” which are different bomb squads depending on the plane you choose. The bomb squad will protect your helpless plane while dishing out modest damage for a few seconds. If you shoot enough enemies, you’ll get a “super shot” that actually provides substantial damage. You’ll need both the bomb squads and the super shot to get through the difficult bosses.
Strikers 1945 Plus Portable sells for $11.99 USD, which feels quite expensive for such a short and small game. Chances are if you played this game in the arcade, you spent more than $12 in quarters to beat the game. Even though the “Plus” in the title indicates enhanced graphics, the visuals are dated and the audio is best left on mute. We can’t say this is the best overhead shooter game we’ve played, but it certainly offers up fun action in a quick and easy-to-play game.