Monday, May 21, 2012

Game of the Day - Twin Cobra 2

Another game not nearly as popular as I thought it was or as it should have been.  TC2 was too late in coming to the arcades to wind up as a very collectible cabinet and, for some reason, is not anywhere to be seen on the lists of top ROMs downloaded (it's not in the Top 850).  More about determining a game's popularity here...

A sequel to the original Twin Cobra, TC2 is many years newer and it shows.  Buoyed by great graphics and terrific gameplay, TC2 is a vert shooter deserving of much praise.

First, the controls.  You have the joystick and two buttons (fire and bomb).  If you hold down the fire button, you get rapid fire.  So, I wondered, what's the point?  Why wouldn't you hold it down if there is no penalty?  Some games punish you for rapid fire by slowing your ship down.  Some games only allow rapid fire for a finite amount of time.  But it didn't seem that there was any downside to holding the button down.  And so I started to tap the button instead and then, ALAKAZAM!  The faster you tap the fire button, the more powerful your shot becomes.  So, you have a great choice.  A nice rapid fire (hold fire) or an increasing power fire (tap fire quickly).  Of course, as you slow your tapping, or when you stop for some reason, the power of your shot resets to the minimum and you have to pump it up again.  I love games like this - bicep builders - carpal tunnelers.  They give you a massive adrenaline pump by the end of the game because of all the mad button mashing.

Of course, there are the usual power-ups.  Bombs and missiles and other power-ups float around waiting for you to gobble them up.  You can get pretty powerful, but this is countered by an enemy force that can flood the screen with crap and shrapnel (crapnel).  And you can certainly use your bombs if you'd like, but like many of these games, you get bonuses at the end of each stage for your unused stash.

Another interesting feature of the game is that at times, it zooms in.  The camera zooms and your size and the relative real estate for you to navigate change proportionately.  It gives the game a diff look and the tightness of the zoomed play make the game a little tougher.

Don't want to forget the graphics.  They aren't on par with my absolute favs (Gunbird 2, Esp Ra De), but they are really, really nice (let's call them 2nd tier awesome).  They are bright, crisp and colorful with lots of variety.  The sharpness never wains, even when stuff is flying everywhere.  I love the look of the game as a rock-solid military style shooter.  One other point, it's the only game I know where the enemy fires what looks like peppermint swirl candy at you - yum.

TC2 is the offspring of a classic arcade shooter, that does its parent one better in every category.  Blast away.

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