When I started playing Storm Angel, I was hoping I was going to see an extension to the shoot-em-up formula. Instead, I find that Storm Angel is a pure horizintal shoot-em-up. All the ingredients are here, you have your ship, bad guys, big bad guys and, best of all, you have some really nice weapons.
The premise is a simple one, as with most shooters. Fly your ship from left to right shooting down any enemy ships that cross your path. Everything is in its rightful place within Storm Angel, level one has you taking out the weakest of the enemy ships with your basic weapon, and later levels are hindered by ever-tougher enemies who need ever bigger weapons to take them down.
Moving your ship is an easy task, thanks to the responsive controls. Progress through the game is made in stages, as each is completed you enter the shop, allowing you to buy and upgrade weapons, new ships (lives) and smart bombs. You can also save your game within the shop, something which you'll find very useful.
Graphically, Storm Angel excels. The press release tells of the latest 3d visual effects and they help make the game stand out. The last level in particular is a highlight, and worth fighting through the game for. Ships are all nicely rendered and animated, whilst the bigger weapons look fantastic. The only downside is that enemy ships have a tendency to look the same, you do come across new ships in the later levels, but I felt that the game needed more diversity.
Music throughout the game is pretty good. It's never exceptional but the standard is never so low that you want to turn it off. Sound effects are also good, if a little limited. I know that an exploding ship is a difficult sound to recreate, but does that sound have to always be the same?
So, is this a good shooter?
It's difficult for me to answer that. You'll remember from my first paragraph that I was hoping for something new, something that would remind me of how good shoot-em-ups can be. This isn't that game, its not Gradius, R-Type or Ikaruga. That isn't a terrible thing, as the game will certainly please fans of the genre, but if you are looking for the next big thing, look elsewhere.
So, are there other niggles to detract from the experience? Well, if I'm honest, I'd have to say that is a little too hard to get the best weapons for your ship. I didn't get the best of the weapons until level 10, and then it was only at its most basic level. I know that you need to work for the good stuff, but that only left me a few levels to actually enjoy my new found guns.
I do like Storm Angel, but I hope that, should a Storm Angel 2 be developed, it is done so with a little more originality in mind.
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