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.
DEVELOPER: Den’no Shokai / Hary & Company
GENRE: Rail shoot-em-up
RELEASE DATE: 02/25/94 – (JP), 1993? – (US)
20 minutes. That’s how long it took me to beat Space Berserker. 20 minutes, and that even included dying once. I thought maybe this was the result of switching to easy mode after dying quickly on medium difficulty, but no. Space Berserker is just that long – er, short.
The game has three levels, all of which are unappealing In the first level, you fight off the enemy craft and learn that your weapons don’t work on them as well as they should. The second level features more enemy craft fighting, but at the end you fire a missile to destroy an enemy mothership. The third level is nearly the same as the second, except the mothership is bigger and more berserker-er than the previous.
The gameplay will seem familiar to anyone that’s been following along with these LaserActive reviews. It’s another shooting gallery game along the lines as Pyramid Patrol and Hi-Roller Battle, except, somehow, even worse.
Your weapons are terrible. The B button fires a wimpy, slow-to-reload cannon that can, in theory, destroy enemy ships. The C button fires a quicker laser beam that will make enemy projectiles disappear, but won’t hurt enemy ships. The A button is reserved for a special missile that can only be fired at the end of levels two and three.
Besides having lame weapons, enemy sprites are also difficult to see here. Space Berserker‘s developers decided it would be a good idea to have black/dark blue enemy sprites in a game that mostly takes place upon a black backdrop. I actually thought something was wrong with my copy of the game or my system when I started playing. There is no excuse for such a poor design decision.
The story is the usual nonsensical space stuff, but there are a couple of neat visual flourishes here. Little video images pop-up in your heads-up-display from time to time, and the CGI looks as nice as you’d expect from a LaserDisc. But if the developers could devote this much effort to the little details, they could have added a couple extra levels or made the sprites easier to see.
After some of the other duds I’ve been playing recently, I was actually excited to play Space Berserker. Unfortunately, like most LaserActive titles, it looks more interesting than it plays.