Tonights episode, Galactic Attack: Special guest star reviewer Robert Day

As anyone who has read the review for Bubble Bobble on these pages will be aware, Taito have a well deserved reputation for producing immensely playable arcade games. The aforementioned Bubble Bobble series is proof of this. Another type of game at which they excel is the scrolling shoot 'em up. Flying Shark was an early example which saw conversion to a number of formats. More recently, Layer Section was converted to the Saturn and released in the UK as "Galactic Attack".

I have never seen the arcade version of Layer Section so cannot do a straight coin-op/home comparison. However, when the Saturn version is compared to the arcade versions of similar titles - e.g Raiden (excellent fun - why is this only on Playstation?) - it holds its ground well.
The graphics are fine. Fast, smooth and clear with the latter a necessity in a game of this type. Anyone who played Flying Shark on the C64 will remember the frustration as enemy bullets were difficult to distinguish from the backgrounds and unexpected deaths ocurred accordingly. The speed of the action never seems to suffer, no matter how cluttered the screen gets. The backgrounds are given a feeling of depth by the use of parallax scrolling. The sound is functional, nothing more. When all is said and done, the visuals and the audio are not of a standard that illustrate the power of next-gen machines in the manner of Panzer Dragoon Zwei or NiGHTS. What they undoubtedly are is appropriate for this game.

The gameplay is where this program is at. The plot, such as it is, is superfluous to the action. It is you versus the world (or, of course you and a friend versus the world) The further you proceed the more enemies you face and the harder they become to kill.

The golden rule: If it moves, shoot it and if it doesn't move,shoot it anyway. All pretty standard for this game type. A novel touch is the use of lock on lasers to destroy craft approaching from below. If you take them out early it makes your task a lot easier.

The biggest minus point with the game concerns the need to turn your TV on to its side to play the game as God (or indeed Taito) intended. There is a mode to use which uses the horizontal picture format but it is useless. Acclaim the publishers put pretty strong warnings about standing your TV on its side but I have had few problems thus far. It is YOUR decision -UK:R takes no responsibility for broken TVs as a result of playing Galactic Attack!

In summary, if you like this type of game you will not go far wrong with Galactic Attack, particularly as you will almost certainly find it for less than the RRP if you shop around.

Well, what are you waiting for? Go save the earth !


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