Friday, February 17, 2012

Game of the Day - Armed Formation

KLOV refers to this game as "Armed Formation F" - I think that's because of the confusing title screen configuration.  But I think the "F" is just the abbreviation for "Formation"... Who knows???

Anywho, AF is a psychedelic vertical shooter that relies heavily on the pod/satellite theory for gameplay.  But you can't start to describe AF without first mentioning the graphics.  In the first stage, the insect stage, they are colorful, weird and different than any other game of this genre.  It looks like someone ate a bunch of Skittles and puked it all over a petri dish.  Don't get me wrong, I think the graphics are very cool as well as very unique, they are just really......zoiks.  And that's really more in the first stage.  In the second stage, at least the background changes to space and it's all a little less taxing on the eyeballs.
Meanwhile, the control scheme is simple but effective.  There are no bombs in AF.  The two buttons are for "shoot" and "arrange armor/pods".  You can obtain four different kinds of weapons and power them up, but you can also power-up your pods (by getting the floating letter "F").  This will make the pods more plentiful and give you more choices in selecting their configuration (protection) around you (by using the second button).  AF is also one of those games that has your ship start out by flying slowly, because speed is one of the power-ups (the most important one).  So gather the "S" whenever you can - but watch out, they try to lure you into traps wherever the "S" floats.  That's pretty much all there is to it, a solid vert shooter with crazy-cool graphics and a focus on controlling your pods.

On a side note, doing a little research on this game, I noticed that KLOV says you can't continue (not true) and that CAESAR's MAME history file says there are three buttons (there are only two).  It just shows how difficult it is to collect info on older, obscure games.  And make no mistake, I love KLOV, MAWS (come back) and CAESAR, they are an unbelievable cornucopia of great info put together by many dudes who were very generous with their time and money - and they are correct 99.9% of the time.

So, put on your shades and play Armed Formation (F).

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