Wednesday 20 November 2019

Galactic Crusader (Supervision review)

Developer: Sachen
Publisher: Watara
Released: 1992

Galactic Crusader is a shoot-em-up that was originally released on the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1990.

It's 2082 A.D. and piloting a B-9 Fighter your mission across five stages is to stop Dehamum Villains of the Biochemical Empire from taking control of the galaxy. Two weapons (a Pea Shooter and a Laser) are available and each can be powered up to provide a wider spread of attack; side wings can also be obtained for extended fire power and your limited supply of bombs are launched by pressing the A button. The power-up mechanic is great and the ability to choose your preferred weapon and then upgrade it to deadly proportions is enjoyable... for a short while! Unfortunately, you can become so overpowered that your B-9 Fighter can literally sit in the middle of the playfield while your extensive spray of bullets destroy everything in sight. At times, you'll barely have to move for upwards of a minute, with only minor adjustments on the horizontal axis to avoid singular bullets. There's also an absurd amount of slowdown when too many sprites are on screen; while this might seem like an advantage in terms of dodging enemies / bullets, the game speed fluctuates which can suddenly result in a projectile firing your way quicker than you anticipated. Even with all of the above problems, the stages simply outstay their welcome as each is roughly 10-15 minutes long with no variety or visual stimulation. When you do finally reach a boss, repeatedly spamming the bomb attack is the order of the day given they refill each time you lose a life while the boss' health metre remains depleted. The game also doesn't shine in the graphical department (and the frequent shooting stars to convey movement is a bad idea due to their resemblance to projectiles), but at least the SFX are good with some satisfying explosion sounds.

Galactic Crusader has a praiseworthy weapon system that's likely inspired by Gun Nac (1991, NES), but it fails to impress in all other areas due to its technical deficiencies and uninspired gameplay. Its level design could have used some streamlining too, as the elongated stages quickly grow tiresome.

Random trivia: The NES version forms part of the unlicensed set of games.

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