Overall Score 90%
Long ago, when arcade machines had joysticks instead of light guns and cost a few pence, there was a game called Galaga. It was very like Space Invaders at first glance, with your ship at the bottom shooting at rows of aliens above you. But while the aliens in Space Invaders marched fixedly downwards, in Galaga the aliens could break formation and zoom towards you!
Warblade is Galaga brought into the twenty-first century. The basic game has been polished and redesigned until it shines like a golden nugget sparkling in a river bed. Constantly being tweaked and checked it is still in the beta stage as I write this, yet I expect it is very nearly complete. It is certainly hard to see what else needs to be done.
The game plays much the same - rows of aliens above, your spaceship shooting up at them from below. Occasionally they zoom towards you kamikaze style. There are several new features, however, including the typical shooter powerups such as speedups, weapon upgrades and money to spend at the shop. Less typical are the subgames such as the memorystation game and the meteor dodging round.
But the biggest changes are obvious as soon as you start the game. Smooth animation and rendered graphics have evidently been given a lot of care. The game is adaptable and will adjust to your hardware. The sound, too, has received a lot of attention and plays well. The background music fits the game well and doesn't intrude upon the gameplay.
The controls are very simple. You can move left and right, and fire. Apart from occasionally needing to use the Up and Down keys to select things that's about it. Rather than limiting the game, it makes it easier to grasp. And less complicated to remember than the million keypresses I've seen in some games.
Warblade is a fast paced shooter which combines new ideas and technology with a classic concept nearly every game player has heard of. Simple to learn yet challenging enough to keep you playing for quite some time. More, please!
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