DEVELOPER: Asmik, ISCO, Opera House. Three developers according to Sega Retro. Wikipedia and GameFAQs only list Opera House.
RELEASE DATE: 04/05/1991 (JP)
Verytex might sound like an uncomfortable feminine hygiene product, but it’s actually the 542nd shoot-em-up I’ve played on this Sega Mega Journey thus far. That number might be slightly off, but at this point, I’ve consumed so many shooters that I rarely expect greatness. “Enjoyable enough” suits me fine, and Verytex just barely slides into that category.
Moby Games lists the story as follows: “Humanity has long since advanced into space, and colonies have been established on many planets, but humanity has yet to contact any alien life. However, an emergency signal has come from the planet Shirakusa. During a colonization survey, contact was lost with the battleship Aphrodite. As a member of the elite Verytex squad, you are sent to investigate” (Verytex, “Description”). Sega Retro’s story synopsis is slightly different, and given that the game’s manual is in Japanese, I am beholden to their interpretations. Moby Games’ is slightly better written, so we’re going with it.
As with most shoot-em-ups, the story is just an excuse to, er, “shoot them up.” Shoot you will! Hold down ‘A’ on the Mega Drive controller to rapid fire, and don’t stop, not even to go to the bathroom. All attacks/upgrades are received by shooting these cute, tiny ships and collecting what they drop. Three types of attacks enhance your ship: Normal Shot, a spew-in-every-direction type of spray; Beam Laser, a pathetic flame attack that only shoots in front of you; and Boomerang Laser, a screen-covering boomerang spread attack that’s far and away the best weapon in the game. Shields are also available (and necessary), as are homing missile upgrades and screen-clearing bombs.
Verytex was developed by Opera House, an eclectic studio known for a variety of games, including: Cloud Master, the Master System shoot-em-up where you control a boy on a cloud; Rastan Saga II, the much-maligned, but appreciated-by-me sequel to Rastan; and more recently, the Contra-like Midnight Resistance and the flat-out bonkers Game Gear pinball game, Devilish. Surprisingly, Opera House is still in business, although their focus now seems to be questionable visual novels for the Switch. Gotta make that bread somehow.
Like so many shoot-em-ups that came before, Verytex does not possess any personality nor does it contain a rugged individualism within its ancient code. No, in Verytex, you shoot thousands of metallic spaceships, soar over bland, alien landscapes, and destroy large bosses. A solid rocking soundtrack – not too memorable, but thankfully not tone deaf – accompanies your journey. The game is loud, energetic, and full of moments designed to make you say “Woah! Did you see that?” to your friends. Once you’re done playing, however, you can’t remember anything about it. Other than the name Verytex, of course, and the knowledge that there’s another 541 shoot-em-ups just like it.