Here's a riddle for all you NES gamers out there:
What do you get when you cross the shoot-em-up action
of Life Force with the exploration of Metroid? You
might get something vaguely similar to HAL's Air Fortress.
Here's the scoop. It's another alien invasiopn. This
time its the aliens versus the planet Farmel. These
aliens devour any planet they come across. The
Farmellian government decided to send certified space warrior
Hal Bailman (notice the similarity to the game's designer...Hmmmm) to defeat
the aliens and save the planet
by infiltrating their floating air fortresses.
There are eight fortresses, and each fortress has two
parts. In the approach to the base, you fly on a ship
through a shooter stage, blasting anything that gets
in your way. You also need to collect E (energy) and
B (bombs) for inside the fortress. In addition, you may also
get a plus symbol (makes you invincible) and a diamond
symbol (destroys all enemies on the screen). You have
three lives to do it in.
Once you get past the approach stages, you'll land
your ship and enter the base. Lives are not counted
here. You'll need the energy and bombs you collected
on the approach to get through these sections. Enemies will
swarm at you here, but you have a gun and the bombs
to defend yourself. The object is to find the core,
and that means going through passages and hallways.
Once you find the core (a giant ball) you need to
shoot it with a bomb. Once that goes, it sets off a
chain reaction an activate a destruct sequence.
You'll need to find your ship and escape pronto. Then
it's off to the next fortress.
It's not easy. In the approach segments, one hit
takes yous ship out, and you can't touch the sides of the terrain
or else you'll die.
In the base segments, you have the ability to fly up
to ledges (just push UP), but the gravity will drain
your energy. Firing your gun will cause you to recoil and
also cost you energy. Standing still replenishes it,
but if you get hit by an enemy, that energy is
clipped from your meter. Once that happens, you can't get it back.
Balancing your energy is very important to your survival.
The passages themselves get longer and more confusing
the farther you go in the game. However, when you
die, you get a password, and you have unlimited
continues, so it's not really that impossible.
The graphics are cute, but a little bland. However,
when you're trying to escape after you blow up the
core, the screen starts to shake, telling you it's
time to go. That's a cool effect. The sounds are
okay, but the music get repetitive after a while of
hearing it, though it's not too awful. The controls are just great, although getting used
to the recoiling and method of flying takes just a bit of adjustment.
Air Fortress is an enjoyable game. The graphics and
sounds may not be up to par, but the gameplay has
some exciting stuff. Would you expect less from the
makers of Adventures of Lolo and Kirby's Adventure?