Strikers 1945 Plus Review

StrikersStrikers 1945 Plus (Available on the Neo Geo MVS & PSP)
ESRB Rating: E
Number of Players: 1 to 2
Genre: Shoot ‘em Up
Publisher: SNK
Developer: PSiKYO
MVS Release Date: 1999
PSP Release Date: July 30th, 2009
Meg Count: 684 Megs

Parent Talk: The ESRB rated the PSP version of the game E for everyone and only listed violence as the parental warning.  This is a wartime shmup so yeah, there’s lots and lots of explosions and violence, but nothing is ultra-realistic so parents really shouldn’t have much to worry about.

Plays Like: It plays like PSiKYO’s other games in the Strikers series.  You select one of a wide variety of WW II era planes and go to town on anything that moves.

Review Basis: Finished all eight levels by using dozens of credits.

Strikers 1945 Plus is the only game PSiKYO ever released on the Neo Geo MVS.  It’s actually a remake of Strikers 1945 II, which was ported over to the PlayStation and SEGA Saturn in 1997.  The major difference with this version is that it’s played on a horizontal screen instead of a vertical one, even though it remains a vertical scrolling shmup.  It’s also extremely difficult, but therein lies the charm of the genre.  This is for the hardcore only!

The Great:

Variety is the name of the game.  Not only are there six selectable aircrafts, but there’s also a seventh that pops up if you select the randomizer.  Each craft has its own particular strengths and weaknesses, and the game itself cycles through the first four levels randomly, meaning the game always feels different every time you come back to it.  The last four stages play out in a certain order, but the variety in the early portions along with the different aircrafts help make the whole game feel special each time you grab hold of the arcade stick.

Strikers4The Good:

+ Rock solid gameplay.  Each aircraft has a basic shot, which fires directly in front of the craft, but it’s the Super Shot that makes each plane really special.  In order to gain a Super Shot you have to destroy enemies with your basic shot first.  After the Super meter fills up, it’s time to unleash hell, which is done by pressing and holding down the A button.  From there you fire your Super Shot, and depending on which craft you’re in you’ll either fire a massive laser, a defensive barrier, or something else.  The more powerful the Super Shot the longer it takes to charge, so there’s a lot of strategy here when it comes to selecting the right plane to use.

+ Bombs work interestingly here.  Instead of destroying everything on-screen they act as more of a defensive shield-like move.  Each plane has its own unique move, but typically a large aircraft will fly out in front of your plane for a short period of time, which absorbs enemy bullets for a very short period of time.

+ Plenty of awesome power-ups to make you a force to be reckoned with.

+ Tons of replay value because of the random nature of the first four levels, and the fact there are so many different planes to choose from.

+ The audio is fantastic.  The game features a great soundtrack, and wonderful sound effects, as all arcade games should.

Strikers2The Bad:

– The visuals do leave a lot to be desired.  They’re very dark, and for the most part lack the high quality most people have come to expect from other MVS releases.  They’re not ugly, but they just don’t have the same sort of life to them as you’d expect.  Thankfully the bullets are easy to spot because they’re bright blue and pink, whereas everything else is made up of dark greens and browns for the most part.

– Dull level design.  While the graphics aren’t anything special, the level design itself is extremely basic.  Each of the game’s eight stages all feel extremely similar to each other.

The Ugly:

Much like other MVS exclusives, this bad boy isn’t cheap.  It often sells for over $100, but typically doesn’t venture too far north of that price unless you’re looking for a full kit, in which case you can expect to pay multiple hundreds for it.

Strikers1The Lowdown:

If you’re looking for a fun, but extremely challenging shmup on the Neo Geo, look no further than Strikers 1945 Plus.  While not a technical showpiece for the MVS platform, it is extremely fun and has enormous amounts of replay value thanks to the large number of playable aircrafts.

Final Score: 8/10

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