Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Game of the Day - Strato Fighter

It never ceases to amaze me - the seemingly endless flow of enjoyable games.   I intended to post about another game today and just happened to play Strato Fighter because I saw it as I was scrolling thru games.

I'd played SF before (a horz fighter), but sometimes you have to play a little longer for the game to come into its own.  Strato Fighter (aka "Raiga") isn't the prettiest game around, but it has very well crafted gameplay. 

Controls:  You have a joystick and two buttons.  Fire and switch directions.  I'm always wondering how programmers made their decisions on how to use add'l buttons... Bomb? Direction? Shield?  Well, when you first play SF, it doesn't seem like the ability to switch direction is important.  Most things come from the right (it's a horz shooter!).  But, as you meet the boss and delve into the second stage, the switch direction button becomes highly important.  The boss and many mini-bosses take up a lot of screen real estate and vacillate back and forth all over the screen.  So, you are constantly flying around and use every corner of the landscape (spacescape?) to hide and fire.  Thus, you are constantly switching the direction you are facing to be able to get a shot in while you are running around like a big chicken (or, if you prefer, the more eloquent "fraidy-cat").

There are ships/crates that you blast to release power-ups.  The power-ups are hyper-important and include many types of weapons (including "vertical") and the always useful "speed-up".  As you get into the longer battles with bosses and on future stages, the vertical shot is critical as you have to fly above and below the enemy ship constantly and the vert shot is what inflicts the most damage.  There are MANY types of power-ups and weapons.  And all can be collected several times, with the power increasing each time.  In fact, to the right is a pic of the flyer describing such...

Since there is no bomb.  Many of the bigger battles last a while.  Also, the entire second level is occupied by a giant ship that you fight against and around that takes up lots of space - leaving you in a constant state of maneuvering around.

On a side note, there is also a shield indicator up top and you can collect shield power-ups.  I thought that they would absorb a hit for you without you exploding, but it doesn't always seem so...  still working on the exact function of the shield and shield indicator.

I mentioned it's not the prettiest game... (who am I to criticize - have you seen what I look like?) - but don't let that fool you.  The graphics are still very nice.  The first level seems to be a little washed out, and not everything is as sharp and colorful as I like, but they are interesting and fun and don't detract from the great game play.


  1. I actually like the visuals on this one, I guess the style just doesn't suit your tastes or something :-)

    The transparency effects (purple stuff in your 7th screenshot) were rather uncommon at the time, not unheard of because Sega had made extensive use of such effects in Rad Mobile which dates a year earlier, but still, something different to look at :-)

  2. Yeah, I like the the visuals of it too... The anime-esque design of the spaceships are also cool... Comes Macross to my mind. I played it a little bit before, but never passed the second stage. I'll try again soon.