(Psikyo 1997)

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photo donated by PaCrappa


The attract mode of Strikers 1945-II, Psikyo's second WWII themed vertical shooter, shows a well done black and white rendered movie with battle scenes of planes and warships. After starting the game, a selection screen offers 6 planes, ready to be sent to war. Two of them already fought in Strikers 1945; the others are new. But even the old planes are not exactly the same as in the precessor. The programmers exchanged some weapons and improved their balances.

The button layout is well known: [A] for shooting, [B] for bombing. Holding the shooting button charges the weapon to release efficient specials like rockets, supporting satellites, napalm bombs or shadow attacks depending on the chosen fighter. All weapons differ from plane to plane, and it can be very important for the player to count on the right ones. Give all planes a couple of testflights, until you choose your fighter to be the one to play throughout the next few weeks for a massive score hunt.

Although the most Psikyo games do not differ very much in gameplay from each other, it's always an amazement to play them. Their levels are somewhat short compared with shooters from other companies, but the graphics are lovingly drawn and the backgrounds are never repetitive. The order of the first four stages is coincidental, while the last three levels appear to be fix. Then there's a ranking system to vary the difficulty of each stage depending on where in the timeline they will be played. Psikyo shooters are generally very fast and reactive games without complex scoring systems. Your dodging abilities alone will decide about defeat or success in your attempts of beating the game.

Strikers 1945-II runs on a PS3-V1 board. One of the major improvements of the new hardware seems to be real alpha blending which is used to display cloud transparencies giving the sky environments a much more realistic look than in Strikers 1945. You will love the moments of passing cloudy frazzles, covering and uncovering some fields far under the planes. Another effect that enjoyably improves with every new hardware Psikyo sends to the market, is the animation of the bosses and the morphings between their appearances. This is sort of a trade-mark and always an eye candy in Psikyo shooters. Strikers 1945-II is definitely better than Strikers 1945 and in my opinion even better than the other two sequels. A must have for your PCB collection.

- [the sheep] in 2003

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