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Some game concepts are timeless. No matter how many titles in that genre are released, there is a core group of die-hard fans who eagerly play each and every one, tirelessly devoting time, energy, and hard-earned dollars to their favorite form of entertainment. It is true of 3D action games, real-time strategy games, adventure games, and even the lowly side-scrolling space shooters. Holodream is ready to release one of the latter, a side-scroller in the grand tradition called Nebula Fighter, only they are taking the aging concept and injecting it with an overdose of adrenaline to create one of the most blisteringly hot shooters ever to blast its way to the PC.
Like most new action games, Nebula Fighter proudly presents a background story to set the stage for the carnage. At some point during the late 20th century, the world is taken over by a power-hungry terrorist organization. Soon after, Earth is contacted by an alien race called the Venishians, who unwittingly become the target of the greedy new government. By capturing and analyzing one of the alien ships, scientists are able to construct a fleet of fighters capable of attacking the celestial visitors on their home planet. The player is responsible for breaking through the alien defenses and alerting earth to commence the attack, yada, yada, yada.... Does anyone really pay attention to the story while blasting aliens into space debris? I doubt it, but it's there for the literary inclined just the same.
What really matters is the gameplay. Nebula Fighter quickly places the player in familiar territory. Starting at the first level, the ship is equipped with a basic array of weapons. There is no buying and selling of equipment; instead, the game automatically upgrades your ship as you destroy the bosses at the end of each level and grab their defenses. This builds an incredibly destructive arsenal that can fool the player into thinking he or she is indestructible. Nebula Fighter, however, pulls some surprising tricks that make the game challenging and fun. Some weapons are more effective against certain enemies than others, and players must think and react quickly or they'll be looking at a brilliant, pre-rendered explosion where their ship was moments before. The AI, though, is killer. It's as if a human opponent is controlling the enemies and bosses, and planning and executing advanced attack strategies. One moment, you are blazing through the level, blasting away at poor fools attacking from the other side of the screen, and the next you are under attack from a group of enemy ships that has just emerged from an innocent looking asteroid. The group works together as a single military unit and expertly neutralizes your threat to their forces before you are able to counter with the appropriate defense. Hello again, brilliant, pre-rendered explosion.
There are, of course, the standard ways and means of shoring up one's offensive and defensive power. Players will need to collect power modules, add-on weapons, nukes, and bonus items left behind by obliterated enemies to increase the ship's arsenal and shields, and to receive extra ships and bonus points. The add-on weapons include energy bolts, homing missiles, side-mounted missiles, and a rear-mounted pulse cannon. The real stars of the show, however, are the weapons left behind by demolished bosses; they provide some of the most visually dazzling effects and satisfying slaughter ever accomplished in a game of this type.
Each level adds new challenges and cool effects. Nebula Fighter is the first game of its type to have all game graphics rendered and animated in 3D. The asteroid fields are surprisingly realistic and deadly. The game also features digitized backgrounds with multiple layers of parallax scrolling (including foreground objects), flying above and below the traditional playfield, animated backdrop layers, digitized audio effects, 256 frames of animation for most enemies, and some truly impressive and jaw-dropping bosses. Imagine battling an alien ship armed with extensive computer-assisted military hardware and advanced attack procedures, and you'll have an idea of what facing these technological behemoths is like. There simply isn't time to blink! Careful attention has been paid as well to constructing challenging levels that should awaken the most jaded gamers and have them playing on the edge of their seats.
This game has the potential to re-define its genere. It's highly addictive, immersive, and challenging, and features pulse-pounding action and spectacular graphics. Nebula Fighter is a must-have for any shooter fan
95/98 only (DirectX 6 required / enclosed)
Holodream Software is searching for more publishers to distribute this product.
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