Phalanx - Kemco


Reviewed by Roger Post

Here's another shooter that you can't pronounce but can play… A dual company project by Kemco and Zoom has birthed Phalanx, a shmup that falls between "not quite substandard" and "should I play this or Gradius?" Despite some obvious flaws, this game's pro and con listing somewhat evens out. One of the most mentionable details about this game is {get this}…the box art! If I remember correctly, the box featured an old man playing the banjo on the front (or maybe that was one of my crazy relatives?) And there is a bit of weirdness all throughout this game.

Phalanx is quite lengthy, with eight levels to romp and stomp through. Picture the usual shooter, but with these minor adjustments: a three hit shield system, adjustable speed (nothing new yet), and about four different weapons. Aside from normal shot, each weapon has a different "power shot", which is very destructive but causes you to lose that particular weapon. Fortunately though, you can stockpile about three weapons at once. This adds an element to the game of "should I waste a powerup and blast the bad guys" or play it a little more conservative. One of the strangest features is that whenever you change weapons, the entire ship changes! I'm not talking about transforming, like Macross, but just a new ship appears out of nowhere! Looks like a graphical error, in my eyes. But, oh well…….Phally gets a little tricky as early as level two, with a maze like underwater section with many moving traps. This section will take a little memorization and can get frustrating. On the plus side though, there is a cool battleship level where you have to enter three different sections of the ship and fight three different bosses.

Phally doesn't blow you away with any special features (if I can't remember the music I won't mention it), yet it has a style all it's own. Any shmup fan should give this a go through, but I recommend a rental or borrowing from a friend. As for owning the pic of the banjo toting promo guy….well…..sorry, not today.

Interestingly enough, a semi-sequel called Tiny Phalanx is included in Zero Divide on psx as a hidden feature . I haven't played this one yet, but it looks to be more of the same.

RATING - 7.5 / 10

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Why the name? WHY?! Does the ship look like a finger or what? Those crazy gamemaking people!

Phalanx is a good game I just downloaded =) I like the backdrops, and yes, the way the ship changes when you use another weapon, is pretty weird =P Nice one though, it deserves a try.

- Akira


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