Game Profile: Power Strike 2
System: Sega Maser System
Release Date: 1993, Europe only
Genre: Action/Shooter (vertical)
There's a good reason why hundreds of arcade games are of the Shoot Em' Up genre. Shooters helped transform the coin-op gaming experience into a true test of ones gaming ability with their unique brand of chaotic challenge. Most required a cool head, steadfast reaction time and even faster fingers. Power Strike 2 is no different and has easily become one of the tougher Shooters that I've finished in my day.
To help the player against the typical onslaught of SHMUP enemies Power Strike II features six different power-ups, each with six different strength levels. The six power-ups are represented by floating number icons which make it easier to distinguish them. By collecting two or more of the same number the strength level is raised by one, just make sure that you don't accidentally grab a power-up you're not looking for. Before the start of a game the player is allowed to choose which special weapon they would like to start off with by using a preview window that actually shows your fighter shooting each weapon, this also helps by giving you an idea of how the weapons work.
Along with the chosen special weapon your ship also comes equipped with a standard rapid-firing straight shot and a powerful charge shot that is determined by how long you hold down the attack button. The main gun can also be powered up by collecting 'P' power-ups that appear after certain enemies or icons are destroyed, they descend vertically and have to be quickly snatched up before they fall off the screen and are lost.
The weapon selection screen helps by letting you preview each weapon.
A maximum of two shield's can also be equipped by grabbing the shield power-ups. Rotating quickly around your ship the shields stop some enemy bullets and cause slight damage to any enemy they come into contact with. Three different shield colors exist, each one also effects your main gun by means of adding a spread, rapid fire and/or power attribute.
Every time your ship is destroyed (all it takes is one hit) you'll automatically jump back into the game without any delay. Unfortunately when this happens you loose half of your weapons power-ups and any shields you've acquired. While it is possible to gain extra lives it requires a good chunk of points to catch one. Nobody said it was going to be easy but Power Strike II is kind enough to grant the player infinite continues so that when you do run into the game over screen you can attempt the level again.
The gameplay is sporadic and very fast but the mechanics are well balanced and fair. That doesn't mean that this game doesn't require excellent coordination, the right weapon for the job, luck and most importantly, tons of practice.
The levels are varied and all include plenty of challenge.
I believe a shooter embodies some of the purest elements that compose a video game, after all, there is a reason why some of the first video games ever created relied on the same, motor skill challenging principles. It all comes down to testing the players skill level and to get better, to reach that next level or to beat your last game's High Score you'll have to invest your time, energy and lots of lives.
If you're the type of gamer who believes that a game should present you with a challenge, I mean a real challenge (several different difficulty levels of challenge), I mean, seriously testing your eye-hand coordination, reaction time and the ability to stay cool under pressure than this game, my friend, is for you. If you prefer save points every couple of minutes and a leisurely frolic through an inconsequential, unchallenged and uninspired game (admit it, we've all seen too many of these types lately) then this may not be your cup of tea.
You don't beat Power Strike II, you survive it. Your victory is not handed to you but earned in the hours of practice and diligence required to finish this classic shooter.
Power Strike II receives: