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Astro Warrior

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Released: 1986

Genre: Shoot-’em-up

Format reviewed: Sega Master System

Publisher: Sega

Developer: Sega

Submitted by: Lee Tatlock

Surely moulded from the same stuff as Xevious and Truxton comes Astro Warrior for the Sega Master System. Often packaged with Pit Pot (the version I have) or Hang On as part of a ‘Combo Cartridge,’ Astro Warrior may positively reek of shmup typicality’s but you may be surprised by how much you enjoy it despite its shortcomings.

So graphically this game is old school to the max, dude, (it was 1986 though) blocky and bold but also extremely simple. However the game runs at a really great pace because of this and the movement is smooth no matter how full of enemies the screen may get.

The soundtrack is also a pretty average affair, but the sound effects do a bang up job of making the obliteration of the enemy extremely satisfying.

So you may be asking yourself what exactly would warrant you playing this game more than once before chucking behind you in disgust? Well the simple fact of it is that this shooter just works, the power ups are enjoyable to use, the waves of enemies are very well paced and thought out, boss battles are great fun and it has that just-one-more-go feeling that is sadly absent from so many games past and present. No it doesn’t do anything new and it doesn’t exactly excel in any one department but the overall experience is a total blast. Flying over block built representations of giant star ships while blasting chunks off it is more fun that it has any right to be. Power ups come in the form of greater firepower, satellite style turrets that follow you and the usual speed ups: totally average shmup fare, but there it is and it’s one of the most addictive and well balanced shooters available on the SMS. Magical.