Monday, February 6, 2012

Game of the Day - Grid Seeker: Project Storm Hammer

Grid Seeker is a fairly normal early 90s vertical shooter, but a nice one.  You fly a chopper, jet or Stealth fighter through all kinds of terrain blasting the baddies all the way.  The little add-on the game has is that your "grid" (simply the two satellite pods that are in front of you) can catch the enemy bullets.  As you catch the bullets, your power gauge grows and each full gauge awards you another bomb.  So there are two buttons, shoot and bomb.

You can actually move the pods around your ship by holding down the fire button and moving the joystick up and down.  This will cause the pods to move/rotate around your ship.  Let go of the button and they stay locked in their current position.  You'd have to be a lot better player than me to use this wisely, there was so much crap coming at me that having the pods in front was the only sensible use for me.  Catching the enemies bullets not only adds to your bomb stash, but (of course) it protects you like a shield.  So mostly you only have to worry about incoming fire from the sides, angles and rear.

I said "mostly".  There is some enemy fire big/strong enough to break through the pods/shield and destroy you, including most of the stuff thrown at you by the bosses.  The first boss is easy to kill, the second was unbelievably difficult, haven't even seen the third.

The real reason I like a vertical shooter is the combo of the gameplay and graphics.  The gameplay is smooth and exciting without being ridiculously over-frenzied.  One thing I like a lot, and mention on the blog a lot, is when enemies fly in all different directions and in many different styles.  I particularly like in this game the attackers who fly in sharply and then peel away off the top of the screen.  The graphics are very good and have one very special element.  Starting on the 2nd level, it looks like you are flying over a canyon, very near the side walls.  The way they accomplished this perspective is very unique.  I can't think of another game in 2D that give the sensation of flying on such a precipice.  Vertigo and claustrophobia could definitely be two side effects of playing this level - it is very well done.

And by the way, you get to blast innocent buildings and other ground stuff - always a plus (not as much as shooting people on the ground - but a plus nonetheless).  Grid Seeker is not the best vert shooter you will ever play but it is certainly worth your time to check out.

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