Publisher: Milton Bradley
Basic Idea: Destroy aliens in your plane from both top-down and first-person perspectives, while occasionally dropping supplies and saving scientists.
Review: Even back in the NES days, Rare usually pushed boundaries with whatever genre it was tackling. This time, they spruce up the standard plane shooter by making the environment three dimensional. Because of this, your altitude matters in the top-down perspective. Maneuvering the plane in and around valleys is quite trippy. Also, this game has one of the better first-person plane environments (interludes between levels mostly to gain points) for the NES as well. Control is fluid and responsive.
However, it’s not the best top-down shooter for the NES for a few reasons. First, the difficulty is not as gradual as I would have liked. While I can get past the first stage without dying, it still requires intense focus to do so. While it’s not too difficult determining your plane’s altitude, determining the altitude of your enemies is nearly impossible. Second, between each stage you must dock at the space station where you can upgrade your weapons. While this is fairly simple, you can lose lives by making a tiny mistake in this pointless part of the game. To make matters worse, half of the weapon upgrades are mostly useless as well.
That said, it’s worth playing at least once. Even better, use a game genie and give yourself infinite lives to experience the game in its entirety without the frustration.