Project X Special Edition '93 - Team 17

Project X Special Edition '93

Reviewed by Postman

Ok, what’s the last thing you’d expect to see in a shooter? Yep, that’s right, PHYSICS. True to life, working, e=mc² type physics. Think about it - all aspect of the reality of science must be suspended in order to get a shmup to become acceptable. Could characters talk in space? No. Can ships move laterally with that kind of speed? No. Can ships go underwater and not fall apart? NO NO NO. What makes Project X stand out among the shmup family is it’s use of inertia - you know, the “object in motion will stay in motion unless...” type rule.

X “borrows heavily” from the Gradius series, in that it’s got a weapons bar that can be powered up by collecting icons. The practicality of the powerups don’t even come near Konami’s series though. Most of the choices don’t do your ship much good. Two or three are forward shot change, a few are side shot selections, and one ship has an invincibility option. That’s another feature of PX, the choice between three different ships, explained in the option screen. However even with the weapons systems this is still mainly a textbook horizontally scrolling shooter.

Levels in Project X are extremely long…. which is good, because it gives you time to observe the beautiful graphics. X really shows what the Amiga is capable of display-wise. The length does make this game a bit of a slow paced shooter though. In fact, I was getting bored by the end of the second level. Also the play control is difficult to adjust to in a shooter. I want pinpoint control in order to dodge whatever the enemy is throwing my way! In X’s inertia system, you slide like on ice for a second before stopping. And the water level adds to the control problems when you go under. Does that make for a bad game? No, just not what you’d expect in a shooter. Project X is worth a play just for the graphics alone, but if you want a challenge and have some bulk time on your hands, check this one out. I am also one of the few (along with Grant) who enjoyed the sequel, X2, on the Playstation. Fans of that game should give the original a try also.

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I think this is the first shmup I have played on the Amiga, after playing R-Type 2 'religiously' every day. It is a good game but a tad difficult at places (though this Special Edition's difficulty level has been geared down a wee bit). It does not also borrow the power up bar from Gradius (a fact I didn't know back then, since I didn't play Gradius until some years later! I was, gladly, not a NES kid as you can tell), it also borrows the fast tunnel bonus sequences from Aero Blasters, which sadly, don't appear in this review (That level select code, Rog =/ ). Not that you're gonna notice the speed with screenshots, but beliee me, they were fast, _very_ fast. And also it gets the R-Type element, by some pattern memorization, and the inclusion of a buildup á-la-beam shot (which you don't get to use if you select from the options to have Autofire). Personally, I don't like the inertia option it has, it would have been better without it.

It doesn't have that eastern feel we love from jap shmups (unlike Apidya), but it's a fine game nonetheless.

- Akira


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