In this special series on the Pioneer LaserActive, guest author Taylor Pinson will be discussing some of the games released on the Sega PAC, an add-on for the LaserActive that could play Genesis, Sega CD, and Mega LD titles.
GENRE: Rail Shooter
RELEASE DATE: 8/20/93 – (JP), 12/23/93 – (US)
Pyramid Patrol isn’t a bad game, but it certainly isn’t one you’ll want to spend a lot of time with. It’s the kind of game you’d play at the pizzeria while you waited for them to finish making your food. You’d put a quarter in, play for a couple of minutes to keep busy, and then go chow down on that delicious stuffed-crust goo.
In Pyramid Patrol, you control a little space ship flying through a giant pyramid (no, not that one) blasting everything in your path. It’s a first-person on-rails shooter like Star Blade, Chaos Control or the Star Wars Trilogy arcade game. Instead of controlling your ship, you move a set of crosshairs around the screen shooting at things while the ship moves along a predetermined path.
You’ve got two different methods of attack. The A button releases a weak, constant stream of bullets, or you can hold down the B button for a charged-up power shot. I mostly stuck to the former, since charging an attack often took too long to be effective. The crosshairs are a little sluggish, which makes the later levels feel unfairly difficult when you start facing large swarms of enemies that fly at you from multiple directions.
The enemy designs are pretty generic, and consist mostly of bland looking space ships. The bosses are a little more impressive, but still fairly dull. The game tries to liven up the experience with goofy radio chatter from the other ship’s in your squad, similar to Silpheed on the Sega CD, but it doesn’t really do much to add to the game’s atmosphere.
Pyramid Patrol was originally going to be an arcade game, and it shows. The graphics are flashy, the gameplay is shallow, the story is non-existent, and difficulty ramps up quickly. Fortunately, the arcades were spared another mediocre rail shooter, and the game only ever appeared on the LaserActive and as a Japan-only 3DO port in 1995 under the name Pyramid Intruder.
Pyramid Patrol is the best of the three Sega PAC launch titles, and it certainly looks nicer than what was available on pretty much every other console at the time, but the gameplay just isn’t there.