Wednesday, November 24, 2010


~ P-47 ~

P-47 is not a particularly wonderful game, but there are plenty of positive things that can be said about it. Heading up my "good stuff" list is the soundtrack, which predominantly aims for melody but isn't afraid to veer off into abstractness and is highlighted by a couple of very frantic boss tracks. The background graphics hold up their end of the aesthetic bargain by bolstering most strips with nice light colors and boasting lots of multilayer scrolling. That solid artwork depicts a wide variety of environments, and while it's anyone's guess why two "big boat" levels were considered necessary, it's fun to fly over deserts, cities, and oceans, and to soar way up high in cloudy skies past the setting sun, all in a single journey.

Of course, this is a shoot 'em up, and there's no number of pleasant tunes or pretty sky scenes that could offset lackluster action in a shoot 'em up. Well, P-47 doesn't come up short where enemies to blast and shots to avoid are concerned. In fact, it even features a few "Deep Blue moments," as I lovingly refer to the helter-skelter stretches where the bad guys seem to hurl everything they've got at you, making for veritable festivals of violence.

Sadly, being that the enemies are mostly small, humdrum tanks and aircraft, they're just not all that much fun to fight. These poor, uninspired old clunkers have very few options at their disposal in battle: nearly all of them fire either single fast shots (memorize when these guys are gonna show up or you'll get picked off in a flash) or spreading bullets (which can be irritatingly tough to avoid due to your plane's wide hitbox).

Your own weapons are unimpressive visually and feel horribly, horribly weak, making them no fun at all to wield. You can pound away at larger foes for eons without any clear, visible sign that you're actually doing damage to them. It's often best just to keep your distance from the bosses, as most of 'em depart on their own after a while.

P-47 is at its best when it's sending multitudes of speedy enemies your way. Unfortunately, it often prefers to slow things down and place you in frustrating, drawn-out sessions of "chip away at a big machine." I can say I'm glad I spent a few bucks on the game just for its music, but I suspect that that one "significant" positive element does more for me than it will for others. This is not a title to avoid at all costs, but it's not one that I can go ahead and recommend, either.

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