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Power Strike II

version: pal - year: 1993 - developer: compile - publisher: sega - format: sega master system, cartridge - condition: mint - rarity: hard to find

An amazing Sega Master System exclusive vertical shooter different from both Aleste2 on MSX2 and GG Aleste 2 / Power Strike II on Game Gear.

















Review - Power Strike II is a Pal exclusive Master System release which never even saw the light in Japan for reasons I cannot comprehend.

Usually, it's the west that doesn't get cool Japanese shooters, and not the other way around! Moreover, to add some confusion Power Strike II shares the same name with the Pal release of GG Aleste 2 for Game Gear. Confused? Well, you should…Just think as Power Strike II on Master System and Game Gear as two entirely different games and you'll have a clearer picture.

Interestingly, Power Strike II on Master System has a very distinctive setting which expertly blends the 1930s period with a “fishy” Sci-Fi theme, Darius-style. As history teaches us, the 1929 stock market crash ruined so many people that some just decided to kill themselves. What happened to the others, you might ask? Well, that part is not written into history books but luckily for us, Compile has the answer! Apparently, jobless brokers and investors simply swarmed the skies “en masse” and started attacking cargo planes for a living...(you didn't suspect that, did you?!)

Your mission? Clear the skies of the sky pirates who are becoming a real plague (and that brilliantly takes care of the game's plot hehe)

Graphically, Power Strike II is beyond anything I've ever seen on Sega's 8 Bit machine. I must say that the atmosphere generated by the graphics is somewhat reminiscent of Steel Empire, but here the scrolling is vertical. Backgrounds are very colorful and occasionally they have some very cool effects.

At one point, you'll be flying over the ocean where whirlpools will dangerously spin around, forcing you to dodge them. Further on, you'll see something like a shadow underneath the water and if you don't move fast enough, your ship will be wrecked to pieces by the violent impact with huge water columns.

These graphical effects are impressive and unexpected. As usual with Compile's shooters, the scrolling is very fast and your ship is even faster. I found the default speed of the ship to be slightly excessive initially, but once I got used to the enemies, it proved to be just fine. What is even more impressive is the complete absence of any slowdown or sprite flickering. This really shows that in expert hands, the Master System can deliver excellent shooters, with almost 16bit-like quality.

Of course, the trademark Aleste mini-turrets bosses occasionally show up but this time, Compile went for huge, and amazingly detailed bosses. The music is maybe the biggest disappointment as the tunes don't sound particularly inspired and you'll forget them quickly. On the contrary, the sound effects are much better and sound very appropriate.

Gameplay is exactly what you would expect from an Aleste game, challenging but never unfair. The 8 stages which make the game are all pretty long (except for the last one which mainly consists of the final boss). In the end, Power Strike II on SMS is another truly excellent chapter in the Aleste series although I must admit that GG Aleste II which runs on the Game Gear (a portable Master System) is still overall superior, especially in terms of graphics which are even beyond the fantastic graphics found here.

Bottom line: an incedible achievement on seg'as 8 bit console and a great shooter in its own right....9/10










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