Power Strike
Box Shot
Power Strike
Platform: Sega Master System
Publisher: Sega
Designer: Compile
Genre: Shoot-em-up
Players: 1
Published Date 1989
Reviewed by: Kurt Kalata

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 empty handed.

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 constantly.

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 upgrades.

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.