Saturday, July 18, 2009


Data East

Override seemed absolutely wild the first time I gave it a try. Fast scrolling! Lots of speedy enemies! BILLIONS of bullets! (Okay, maybe just a dozen bullets at any one time, but that's still pretty impressive for an oldie.) And an insane charge attack that allows you to completely MASSACRE the opposition! Hold your fire, do a little dodging and dancing, and then let loose with your horrifying FLAMES OF THE HELL FIENDS blast cannon!


Achieving complete and utter fiery annihilation of the enemy is incredibly satisfying. The charge attack is so ridiculously overwhelming that I end up feeling kinda bad for my charred foes. Heck, even the standard weaponry in Override is quite devastating. I often grab the red homing weapon, power it up a bit, and sit back while it seeks out and wrecks my enemies. They usually don't stand a chance, and for the few that are capable of withstanding a good heat-seeker bludgeoning, I break out my FLAMES OF THE HELL FIENDS cannon and yell...


Yeah, as crazy and as fast paced as Override is, it's still a quick, easy clear. Due to the overpowering weaponry and the abundance of kill fodder, score totals rocket to ridiculous heights. With extend marks aplenty, lots of extra lives are awarded, and your ship loses one only after taking multiple hits. Just about the only way to screw up is by being impatient. Power-up icons initially float about at the top of the playfield, practically baiting you into collisions with hard-charging foes. If you're willing to hang back and allow said icons to complete their downwards crawl, and you can resist the temptation to blast away with pellet fire when ducking-and-charging is called for, you shouldn't run into many problems.

While it feels completely different, Override reminds me quite a bit of Cyber Core. Both games are fairly successful in diminishing the negative impact of ugly background graphics by presenting lots of onscreen activity, but both also somehow manage to be really easy in spite of all that action. Override is faster than CC and serves up even more enemies to blast. But CC is a very endearing game thanks to its remarkably catchy soundtrack and lovable cast of insect baddies. Override's music is nice but nothing special; its evil army, uninspired. And while the tiny ship that stars in it seems to have endearment potential at first, it ultimately comes off as a little overpowered bully, pushing around the big-but-defenseless boss machines.

A few of those machines do require a bit more thought and effort than simple utilization of the sit-back-and-crush-everything "stratagem" that works against their peers; but while confrontations with these step-above-the-rest bad guys are enjoyable and can be rewarding, they're also few and far between. Even the last boss can be destroyed without much trouble: hug either side of the screen, do a tiny bit of bullet evading, and let your charge attack take care of all the dirty work.

Thankfully, while Override is easy, it's an exciting easy (like, say, Cyber Core or Schbibin Man 3) as opposed to a sleep-inducing easy (like, say, Chiki Chiki Boys). Unfortunately, it just doesn't present much memorable material; some awesome tunes and outstanding bosses would've done a hell of a lot for the game's overall appeal. Certainly, it's a good, action-packed shooter, one well worth playing but maybe not rushing out for, as it costs a little more than a number of other chip shooters that match it... or, in some cases, best it.

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