Power Strike is a special edition Sega Master System game.
Originally you could only get it straight from Sega, although
it was released to a few stores after the Master System's
remise. So not many people have witnessed Power Strike.
It's a pity really. Power Strike is one of the only SMS shooters
that can challenge R-Type.
Shooters don't need stories. They just need plenty of action. And trust
me, you'll get it here. The actual game, I swear, is a sequel to Zanac for the NES. They're sort
of in the same series, in fact...across the ocean, these games are in a
series called Aleste. It's also made by the same company, Compile.
First off, the weapon systems are almost exactly the game. Pick up a number
1-8 and you get the corresponding weapon. There is your default special weapon
(some energu blast that fires in whatever direction you're moving in) but
there's a variety of cool weapons too. Wave guns, slicing laser beams,
plasma balls that hover in frony of your ship...it's all quite cool. Get more numbers in succession,
and your special weapon will get even more powerful. Unfortunately, ammo
is limited just like Zanac, but if you're smart, you can conserve bullets.
Power-ups are also numerous, so don't worry if you're caught
There's really nothing in the way of obstacles, so you just manuever around
the screen dodging enemy projectiles and shooting things. Again like Zanac,
the bosses are a bit unimpressive. There's usually some semi-big alien
spaceship that fires objects placed throughout the levels, but the main
boss is usually no more than a set of turrets, small and large, that fire
In addition to the aforementioned special weapon, you also have your single
blaster gun. It's pitifully weak at the beginning of the game, but by
picking up little P chips, you can upgrade it to double and triple
shots. Alas, you need to gather a ton of these chips before your weapon
Yet another similarity to Zanac is that they both use some sort of AI system for
the enemies. This basically means that the enemies that pop up and their
method of attack will change depending on what weapon you currently have.
This gives the game almost unlimited replay value, since it changes pretty
much every time you play it.
There is a downfall to this system though. It just doesn't know when to
STOP! It sends a barrage of enemies so thick and so difficult that
you'll die quite frequently. I personally have never gotten past the third
level, because the landscape is just littered with floating bad guys that's
nearly impossible to break through. Powering up your main weapon is almost
pointless, since you lose all of your weapons when you die. And since it
takes so long to power-up in the first place...well, it's quite apparent
how annoying it gets. Not even with the ten man code can I
get very far, which says something for the drastic difficulty of the game.
At least there's unlimited continues...though the levels are quite large.
Compared to Zanac, the graphics have improved quite a bit. While the landscape
is still fairly boring, at least the color is easier on the eyes. The
sprites are also well-detailed, even though the enemy variety is thin.
The sound effects are great, especially the explosion of your ship and
the music usually fits the pace of the game.
While you'll be dying horrible deaths with uncanny regularity, you can't help admitting
that Power Strike is indeed a fun game. The weapon selection is great,
the action is frantic and there's more things to blow up here than most other
shooters that were out at the time. It may be difficult to find a copy
since it was a limited release, but Sega Master fans should definitely
give this one a try.