Reviewed by Simon [Felix the Cat]

Psikyo is a well known shmup comany, churning out numerous games which everyone seems to like, the likes of Strikers 1945 and Gunbird being two of them. Sengoku Ace is the first in a string of shmups set in Japan, combined with a bit of typical Psikyo design.

As susal, you get a choice of six different characters (and their ships), which all differ in weapons, bombs and charge beam attacks. They're all pretty decent, my particular fave is the bird-like one. You have a main weapon that can be powered up by three levels of strength, each level giving you more spread and some extra secondary weapons like shuriken or energy discs. You also have a charge beam-like attack, which is quite powerful, but takes an age to power-up, leaving you to attack.

Gameplay is your bog standard vertical scrolling shootemup - enemies fly in from above, the sides or appear from the ground and fire varying amounts of bullets at you. Their attacks are quite fast and can catch you off-guard, so be wary of that. The bosses are pretty varied and fit in with the Japanese theme, with huge animals, demon shrines and ninjas all appearing at some point.

There is a very odd thing I have noticed though, and that's the un-nerving similarities between Sengoku Ace and the Sonic Wings series.
I'm not sure if anyone has noticed yet, but isnt the gameplay mechanics the same? You powerup your weapon to three levels, the game stages themselves are short, and you get some levels where you MUST start at the beginning if you have to continue? Heck, even the intermission bits with the character saying something (which is incomprehensible, since it's in Japanese) could have been lifted from Video System's little series...
Even the graphics (with regards to the powerup and bomb graphics, and maybe the explosions) are very similar. It leads me to think that this isn't Psikyo's own game, but a game engine trade with a complete graphical overlay...

Just a thought. Anyways, Sengoku Ace is a decent game, but only for five minutes. Gameplay is good, but the lastability is non-existant, and the game just gets too monotonous after a while. Five minute fun... but five minutes is all you'll last for...

[SIDE NOTE: There seems to be a dog piloting one of the craft. I wonder if he is _frying_ over the jungle too...]

SOUND: 80%


A very plain looking ship picking screen...

The stage one boss, a huge tortoise with propellors! I'd like to see the wildlife programs document THIS animal!

The red flying contraption is your stage 2 boss. Blow off it's wings and see it crash in a messy heap...

A demon shrine for stage 3.
Here's me doing something unexpected - I'm shouting at it (and probably making it cry...)

A nasty mecha-like ninja on a flying carpet, yesterday (and man, am I bored)...

This guy is formed by the fusing of four demon ninja. He doesn't half fire at you, and it's frustrating, as if you continue, you start AT THE BEGINNING OF THE LEVEL. Gack.


shmups!   © 1997 - 2007  Malcolm Laurie