Sengeki Striker
by sunburstbasser

Sengeki Striker is a vertically scrolling shmup which may have a story involving blowing stuff up. There is no narrative to indicate this.

Sengeki Striker was developed by Warashi and Kaneko and released for the Super NOVA system in 1997. Warashi has done a few other games, including another shmup with similar art called Shienryu on the Sega STV. While they still have a website, I'm going to suggest staying away from their games because of Sengeki Striker. I'll explain myself in time.

The controls are basic but a little odd. Press the A button, and you'll fire a single shot. Press it twice in rapid succession and you'll fire a quick burst. Continuous tapping will activate your options' power shots. Button B drops a bomb which cancels bullets but does not make you invincible. The powerups for the main shot increase the spread and are a red P icon. Blue V and purple L icons give options, and B icons give bombs. Let's examine the weapons. You can have up to four options at once.

I'm pretty sure it actually says "valcan" when you pick one of these up. I like these, as when they activate they fire a stream of bullets and fly all over the screen, rotating to shoot any enemies on screen.

This is a more normal weapon, shooting straight up the screen. When the power shot is activated, they unleash huge purple waves and do a lot of damage, but they stay with your ship and still shoot straight and that leaves you vulnerable. The tradeoff is that they seem to do more damage.

The primary problem with the weapons is that they just don't do enough damage. Some large enemies can absorb far more punishment than is really necessary, and they keep shooting aimed bullets the whole time. The Vulcan helps because it will destroy small enemies quickly, but I could not find a way to get around larger enemies that worked consistently.

Graphically the game is very nice. The 2D artwork is well done and many enemies and the player ships appear to be made using polygons to create very smooth animations. I don't believe the Super NOVA was made to push a lot of polygons, but enemies like the Stage 3 boss look pretty nice and if they aren't polygons then kudos to the sprite artists at Warashi. While your ship is quite large, the hit box is very small and appears to be a black smudge right in the middle of the torso.

There is a scoring system but it is a pain to use. The goal is to shoot down large airborne enemies so that they land on ground enemies. However, this is a little hard to do as the weak weapons make timing the kill shot difficult. The result is that at random you'll get enormous scores then nothing for a long time. I've managed to get 14 million off of one enemy, but then playing again got a few thousand off the same spot. Score systems should be predictable and useable.

Sonically there isn't really anything to speak of. The music is OK but a bit subdued and sounds like generic shooter music. The sound effects are pretty good, with explosions sounding excellent, but the sound enemies make when damaged or your own shots sound small and weak.

With my write-ups, I like to break down each stage to give an idea how the game progresses, but there is no point in Sengeki Striker. Warashi wanted to make a classic-style shooter, maybe something like Raiden or a Toaplan game. What these older games tended to have was a few bullet patterns, and a lot of aimed bullets. Sengeki Striker does this on a danmaku level, and I don't like it.

Right away in Stage 1, tanks and popcorn enemies start shooting bullets at regular intervals right at you. And this isn't one or two enemies; there are dozens of them all firing aimed bullets. On top of this, the bullets are very small and fast, hard to see, and I rarely know what killed me. Battle Garegga has small bullets, but I know why I die in that game. Sengeki Striker is worse than any Raizing or Psikyo game for invisible bullets.

Stage 2 adds more enemies. It's the same shit though. It ended up frustrating me even by this stage.

Stage 3 adds still more enemies and as a bigger "fuck you" the game now switches to a checkpoint based system rather than a respawn. It was possible to re-collect your options and a shot powerup when respawning, now you are expected to actually get good at the game. When the game is so frustrating because of bullshit reasons, this is asking too much. I got to the boss where I would respawn, another change!

Stage 4 moves to space and is where I quit. Cyvern and Battle Garegga and Raiden Fighters Jet can be frustrating. Sengeki Striker is frustrating without the redeeming qualities to make it a good game. As it stands, it is a game brought down by a few huge flaws when the developers obviously had the skill to make a good one. Since Warashi didn't feel the need to make the game enjoyable, I don't feel a need to write a nice thick review for it.

This isn't a zero sock game because it is technically playable, but there are far better games out there.


Sliders 'n Socks Forum | Twitter | Submissions and Contact | GB | Store | i | c | v3
Contributor Central
© 2005-2021 smps/*-|):D