Title : Burning Force
Publisher : Namco
Developer : Namco
Genre : 3D Shooter
Players : 1/2 Players
Release Date : 1990
Estimated Value (as of today's date) : $10-$20
Anyone remember Space Harrier? Or that other awesome game for the NES, 3D World Runner? (Wow, flash back to one of my very first reviews!). Well, Burning Force is a lot like those two games, but with a bit more half-naked ladies and radical speed bikes. Yeah, I said radical. Why not? They need to bring that word back.
Burning Force was originally a Japanese-only arcade released back in 1989, but was quickly ported over to the Master System and Genesis in 1990. Hell, it even made it's way over to the Virtual Console in 2009 so the game obviously had a bit of a following. I cant say that I'm surprised either, it's a doozy. It's a fast paced thrill ride that takes shooters to the next level.
I must say, I was always impressed with shooters that incorporated 3D elements, especially when done right. Even with 3D Worldrunner on the NES, I was surprised at how decent it was. Especially on an 8-bit system. It's probably because they are attempting to do something different, and 3D was all the rage back then.
Let's see if this bodacious biker babe has what it takes to destroy an alien army. Well, with Namco at the helm, you better hope they do a good job of it. Genesis needed some strong titles in my own opinion.
The game starts off, well, a bit odd. At first I thought my sound was broken, but then I realized, NOPE there's no intro music. It's kind of odd to have a title screen with no music playing. Maybe they just forgot to put it in there? It's also a bit strange since this game has some of the most epic synthesized shooter music out there, so why couldn't they just have some on the title screen, instead of just making it look like some psychedelic anime title.
Sorry, complaining already. On to the game. It's a traditional rail shooter, so you'll be stuck on one path with the ability to move your ship (either your bike, or space ship) left or right across the screen as you avoid incoming enemy fire and blast em away. Levels with your bike allow you to only move left and right, while levels with your spaceship give you a bit more maneuverability in every direction. Still, at least you don't have to worry about where you have to go, because the game will just take you there.
Sometimes that irritated me, but it works with this game. In fact, it works with all shooters.
The first level is going to tease you. it's insanely easy, and it's more like a tutorial, but then as soon as you hit level 2 you're in for a rough time. You basically need to pray you're not going to die from the enemies and lose your weapon power ups because you are going to find yourself outmatched pretty quickly.
You'll rack up points as you destroy monsters, and you'll get the opportunity to face off against a slew of bosses across each level. Prepare yourself to be destroyed, but at least there is a nice little tidbit of information before each level that shows you the enemy weak points. Not like it matters, just spam the fire button!
Each level is divided up into two parts driving, and one part flying. With four levels to get through that's 8 bike levels, and 4 spaceship levels. (I r guud at math!) I personally enjoyed the spaceship levels a bit more, due to the fact that I can move across the screen a bit more, but both were equally difficult and entertaining. You'll also run into a few bonus rounds, but these seem even harder than the damn levels.
There hasn't been a game like this in awhile where I actually NEEDED those 1-ups thanks to the point system.
Visually it's some of the best I've seen on the Genesis. It really feels like I'm playing straight out from the arcade, which is something I didn't actually expect. The scrolling backgrounds are fantastic, and really adds a lot of depth to the game. Even the music feels a bit more advanced for the time.
Despite the difficulty, it's still one of the better shooters I've played in a long time, and I've been getting quite bored of them so I'm happy to finally be impressed by something. If you're looking for a hidden shooter gem on the Genesis, go find yourself a copy of BURNING FORCE.
Worth it...especially for the bodacious biker babes (had to say it again)