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Vertical Force Reviewed by Ferry Groenendijk on . Rating: 57%
Vertical Force
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  • Review Score:

  • C+
The year is 210 SE (Space Era). A battle that will either wipe humanity or machines from the universe has begun! Humankind has prospered beyond the wildest imagination of the earliest space explorers. Waves of human colonists have advanced to thousands of planets all over the universe. Each colony built is provided with a caretaker computer and equipped with Android Industrial Drones to control the planet and mine resources. As you can imagine, something has gone terribly wrong and the caretaker computer of Odin, planet #0326, has spontaneously reprogrammed itself. Instead of serving humans and sending minerals to Earth, it seems its new mission is to slaughter humans and make minerals of Earth. Oh yeah, and it's declared war on all of humanity!

As luck would have it, a xena-archealogy team working on Ragnarok, planet #1562, has just made a most fortuitous find. Among the ruins of an alien civilization, a battle machine has been unearthed. Because of its alien design and construction, this battle machine is not affected by the evil rays. The most fortunate stroke is that it is equipped with a device that allows it to reprogram some AI Drones and use them against the evil forces! After taking possession of the Ragnarok battle machine, The United Earth Army has called on its number one flying ace: YOU!

Amazingly this is an Arcade shooting game with a new plot we have never heard of before ... ok ok, so it's the same old story where you, the player, have to rescue planet Earth from total destruction. But the storyline does unveil the game's most strategically interesting component, the AI (Artificial Intelligence) Drones you can reprogram and even control.

When Ragnarok collects an A.I. Drone it will automatically be activated. If another AI Drone was active when the new one is collected, it will be placed into Reserve. An A.I. Drone that has suffered damage can be repaired by putting it into reserve.

Other reinforcements you'll need to power both Ragnarok and the A.I. Drones up are the power-up items which are Laser, Wide Shot, and Shield. Each individual power-up can be collected three times for maximum power! Whenever you're hit your power up level will go down by one, both for you as well as the drone you're using at that time, so don't get hit too much.

The game offers ok, yet tiny 3-D mid-stage scenes. Other than some buildings and hazards that give off a 3D feel, everything in game is 2.5-D. Sound consists of cool fast paced background tunes, but you'll find them hardly noticeable. The sound effects, however, are so plentiful and overruling that you'll be far too consumed by the game play to notice, which may be a good thing after all.

In short, Hudson Soft's Star Soldier arcade series is almost legendary and I don't see why this version shouldn't be the same. An endless stream of enemies and challenge makes for a great game with a long lasting appeal if you're into arcade shooters like this one and have fast reflexes.
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