Acrobat Mission - Teichiku/UPL

Acrobat Mission

Teichiku - UPL - 1992

Reviewed by Roger Post

A Japanese toy craze teams up with a parcel shipping company and what do you get? (Pichachu and UPS, a play on the developer names….) Acrobat Mission! (Oh dear - malc) You play the role of the Fripenzi Brothers, a swinging acrobat team, out to rescue ringmaster Bob from the clutches of the Phreaks, a renegade bunch of rag-tags from the freak show. You'll take on giant elephants, goofy clowns, high ticket prices, and fly through giant cotton candy making machines……well….not quite. Acrobat Mission is nothing like that, in fact it is an average to poor shooter that you can probably pass on by.

Despite only having five levels (this is the kiss of death for me….Last Resort did this too, which would have been so much better if it was a little longer…..), AM brings out some very interesting and innovative features to a shooter. There are basically two main weapons, marked with a W or an H. The "W" I assume stands for wave, which is basically a spreadshot, and the "H" I guess stands for homing, which is a circular shot that is a bit awkward. Each weapon can be powered up by holding down the shot key, the W giving a beam that stays in front of your ship for a few seconds, and the H giving a power shot that takes a second or two to fire (and the charge looks really cool….concentric circles with a timer countdown). Along with these frontal attacks, you also have the standard bombs, which drop down in the form of powerups during the game. You can hold up to two, and one really intresting thing about bombs is that they act as shields! When you grab an icon, the bomb is actually loaded onto the ship like a real fighter jet, sticking out of the side. If you happen to take a bullet there, the bomb blows up, but you don't! And speaking of getting hit, when your character dies, the plane starts to go down and spins wildly out of control. A counter appears, and you have about 4 seconds to try to crash the plane into an enemy! You can actually do damage with a crippled plane. That was a surprise to me. Even the ship moves normally in an innovative fashion - there are constant flame jets shooting out, or you are rolling or spinning in a certain direction - hard to explain without seeing.

Overall, the Mission of the Acrobat falls short. The gameplay is uninspired, the levels short, and the bosses are a drab black and white color. The music doesn't do much for me, weapons systems don't work very well - a spiral like shot that is slow, what good is that? The only positives to this shooter are…..well….it's a shooter. The bosses are probably the highlight of this one, even though poorly colored they make for some nice scraps. AM did give us some cool new ideas, such as the "goin' down in flames" death sequence which hurts enemies and the "bomb shield". Hopefully someone will rip off those ideas and put them in a better game. Kinda like in music, when they "sample" a nice riff and make an updated song out of it…..Irem, grab a melody from Acrobat Mission and start composing!


No, really, I didn't change this at all…..that is the REAL intro to this game. Honest. Quite funny without trying to be, eh?

As you can see, backgrounds aren't very inspired either. Just your plain, ordinary dry desert scene.

This is so stupid….the ground enemies come out from the left, and just take the plunge off the edge of the cliff……are you fighting the Lemmings? Also you can see the normal weapon powerup rings.

First boss is kinda cool….a three screen wide gunship. Most enemies have a blue halo surrounding them. Why? I don't know. It looks interesting though. Just shooting for style maybe?

The blue effect looks like a shield, or maybe an energy charge. Now it bothers me, I want to know WHY?

A level 2 mid-size ship, reminding me of Image Fight a bit. Still no acrobats, or regular bats for that matter.

Here's the wave weapon special fully powered. This beam stays on for about three seconds, and you can move around with it and create havoc.

Second boss, four ships with plastic dart heads that you lick and stick onto surfaces. I just want to grab them and hang em from my refrigerator. All these four do is move around you in a square pattern and shoot occasionally.

Third level, and the "snakes" make an appearance.

This square boss comes up from the ground, and has a new form of attack for each one you blow away. Those giant fireballs chase you, but are too slow to be concerned about.

Great…level four sticks you in a cramped hallway with larger enemies. Watch the tram car, please! (for those who have been to the Jersey shore…..)

This was interesting…the corridor shifts and moves while you and the enemies stay basically on the same path. Speeds up, too…

Get ready for three quick bosses in a row. First, this broken china plate…

Then the "triplets of doom"….concentrate firepower on one at a time to even up the odds…

Finally the "walker". Very slow moving, including the turret on top which tries to follow you. Veteran shmuppers shouldn't even break a sweat at these guys.

Ack! The final level five, which is just an endurance test to begin with. Those rods spin around, so try not to be hypnotized by the constant motion! They don't hurt you though…Fight a few enemies before taking on the machine in back.

The middle section opens up, spits out a rotating attack, and then folds after a few well placed shots.

Watch the cheesy planet blow up...

Read the cheesy ending...

Then eat a cheese sandwich. Pull out the "beaten SNES games list" and write Acrobat Mission in the next available slot. Then wonder, "was it all worth it?" The answer is NO.


shmups!   © 1997 - 2007  Malcolm Laurie