Whenever I hear about Genesis shooters, I don't tend to hear good things about Arrow Flash. Is it because the Genesis has better shooters? Perhaps, but does that make Arrow Flash bad? Not at all. The Genesis should be proud. After all, it is said that it is home to many great shooters, so even the ones that aren't "deemed" great are still decent games in their own right. Don't get me wrong, there are lame shooters like Whip Rush and then there are down right horrible ones
like Divine Sealing...a game I witnessed through the grapevine one day...Anyway, Arrow Flash lets you play the role of Zana Keene, a girl who had trained as a test pilot at the United Government Military Academy. She is the only one who can access the prototype transformable fighter-mecha, the "Chameleon" ERX-75 (code name: Valdor), that was left behind from her grandfather to fight against the Great Hilagi...a cruel alien that has been using his underlings to plunder and destroy planets throughout the cosmos. Hilagi now has his sights set on annihilating Earth!...Want a translation? Translation = Stop some evil alien guys with a blue haired beauty. Yeah, shooting games aren't usually the games you go to for creative and compelling storytelling, though the game still has some redeeming qualities.
While this game ain't no Gaiares or M.U.S.H.A., the graphics are still solid for 1990. I like the scrolling of the clouds on the first level. I've seen some scrolling effects in some other
Genesis games and let me tell you that many of them weren't as neatly done. The creators did a pretty good job of making the layers of clouds appear as a sea of clouds, not just one
line of clouds thrown on top of another. There are some games I've played where it is blatantly obvious that it's a cheap layering effect where you can see where the next layer starts
because it either cuts off a piece of the layer below it, or is placed too high above the previous layer. The game has pretty good color usage and the animation is smooth as well. The
music is decent. When I heard the first stage music for the first time, it didn't bother me that it was cheerful and adventurous. The game doesn't have anything award winning, but the music is suitable in the cases in which they are used and should suffice. The sound effects are average like many other shooters on the Sega Genesis.
The gameplay is standard 2D shooting goodness. There are plenty of enemies and such to provide a sense of action and the game is fair in terms of challenge. Not too easy, yet not too hard.
Of course, I'm generalizing when I say that because I don't know how skilled a player you may be. The game leans more on the easier side for me. Arrow Flash has typical power-ups
that shooters like these tend to have...speed up, options (Temporary partners at your side), powering up the basic shot, missiles...stuff like that. You also have three weapons named "I", "II", and "III" (how creative...) that have varying fire rate, speed, and power. Once you get a few power-ups, it is pretty easy to just overwhelm your enemies with incredible firepower.
Aside from the typical, you have two different modes of
battle. Like a "Chameleon", Zana's ship can change appearance. One mode utilizes a special weapon that allows it to kamikaze foes to destroy them. The other shoots a wave of energy outward to mow down larger waves of enemies. Anyone familiar with Choujikuu Yousai Macross - Scrambled Valkyrie (SNES/SFC) will probably like the fact that there are other games that have mechas that morph. You also have the choice of being able to "stock" up on these special weapons, or "charge" them in the options menu (as well as listen to the sound test and change your controls). "Stock" refers to having a limited number of the special weapon, but having automatic access to the weapon with one touch of the button."Charge" allows you to hold down a button to fill a gauge at the top of the screen. The benefit of charge is that the special weapon is infinite, though the challenge significantly falls since you can use your most powerful attack as much as you like. The drawback is that your special weapon will only be at full power if the gauge fills completely.
"Charge" is usually for those that are new to Arrow Flash, while "Stock" is for more advanced players. I feel that the two modes adds a new perspective
that allows you to challenge yourself further. Good move...though I personally still find the game to be rather easy. The only gripe I have with this game is the length. A little short for a shooter. Not TOO short (Nearly all shooters lack longevity), but still short. If you see this one in a bargin bin and passed it up, now may be a good time to try and pick it up. After all, since the game is usually very cheap, what harm could it do?- Written by Vyse the determined -