Title : Air Fortress
Publisher : HAL Laboratory Inc.
Genre : Side Scrolling Shooter / Platformer
Release Date : 1989
Estimated Value (as of today's date) : $4-8
Ahh, Air Fortress. The only game on the NES where you can play as a Scuba Diver with an antenna poking out of his rather large arse, flying through space to kill aliens. But seriously, folks. This was one of the first games I owned for the NES, and was easily one of my favorite NES games growing up as a kid. I'm not sure why looking back, but it was. After all it was just one of those simplistic side-scrolling / blast em up / platformers. Unfortunately, simplicity was the true downfall to this game. You could finish the entire game in little under an hour, and it really doesn't leave you craving for more.
It's a one and done type deal with Air Fortress. But still, that isn't a reason not to decimate alien forces. So
get ready for blast off. We're going to save us some AIR FORTRESSES!
You can find at least two dozen games on the NES that are very similar to Air Fortress. In fact I already reviewed one such game, if you remember my Abadox review. Like Abadox, Air Fortress doesn't try anything crazy, but just flaunts its gameplay and simplistic concept. Go from level to level, collecting power ups, and blast your way through enemies and bosses. Abadox however, blows Air Fortress out of the water with it's incredibly unique design. Not to mention, the only power up you get in this game is a bomb. I would have loved to see some new gun upgrades, but I wasn't so lucky.
Besides that, this is one of those games that doesn't fail, it just doesn't exceed. It's these type of games that really acted as the glue that held the NES library together. It's basically every 10 games of crap, you get a decent game like this. I would say it's every 20-30 games you get a GREAT game.
Going back to another Abadox comparison, the levels in this game come in two parts. In the first part of the level you're flying past enemy defenses in order to get to the fortress. The second half, you are in the fortress in a plat former element on your way to battle the end-boss. Not a bad idea, but Abadox does it in a much more creative fashion.
The great thing about the platformer element is that it mimics a low gravity setting. You float by pressing up on the directional pad, and the blasts from your cannon actually propel you backwards. If only a few more creative aspects like that were introduced to this game, it would have been a hell of a lot better.
The real problem with this game is the repetition. Each level is really no different from the last one, besides the fact that you'll encounter a greater number of enemies. Scenery doesn't change, and neither do the enemies. Their version of difficulty is just increasing the amount of objects on the screen at once.
It hurts. It really does. This game could have been so much more, but ultimately it falls short. There was so much room for improvement, and while yes, simplistic works, they needed to realize that maybe a little too simple isn't the best recipe for a game. Still, in the end, it wasn't a failure. It's enjoyable, but not memorable.
Ah well, you can't win 'em all.
Final Score (out of 5) :
Until next time. Keep on gaming!