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Space Manbow

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Released: 1989

Genre: Shoot-’em-up

Format reviewed: MSX I/II

Publisher: Konami

Developer: Konami

Submitted by: Scott Reed

Retrogamer Magazine (heard of it?) went so far as to say in their MSX Retroinspection feature that Space Manbow was not only the best shooter for the MSX, but one of the best shooters period. It's hard to fault that statement.

One of the reasons Darius kept falling on its arse, until Darius Gaiden that is, is that there was no pacing. No intensity. Plodding along shootings things that vaguely look like fish. Manbow here has intensity coming out of every one of its little futuristic orifices.

You shouldn't be able to take your eyes of a shooter for a second without pausing. But who pauses, y' big pansy – wet yourself for Christ sake. Anyway. This Manbow doesn't let you. Attack patterns change from enemy ship to enemy ship and from attack wave to attack wave. The first ship who wants to frag your Manbow turns 'round when it gets to the edge of the screen and comes back at you. That's just uncalled for.

You're also allowed to keep a lot of your Manbow power-ups from life to life. That doesn’t actually go a very long way to making riding the Manbow easier but at least they tried. Certainly an unusual feature worthy of mention if nothing else.

So it's a hard Manbow but certainly a thrilling one. If you take that thrill of the play and combine it with a nicely designed fleet or so of enemies and applicably desolate backgrounds you end up with something well worth of inclusion in the 'best shoot 'em ups ever' category.

*The author of this review apologises for the sheer amount of manbow innuendo, but he just couldn't help himself. He is seeing a psychiatrist this Thursday*