I remember the days of the arcade. I used to love going to my local arcade with only 4 quarters and a bunch of time to kill. Those old school arcade games are coming back in a big way on the PSN through the Minis program. One of those games is HAL 21.
HAL 21 was released in 1985 (the year I was born.) You play as a fighter pilot/space ship/airplane – I really don’t know what it is – that vertically scrolls up while shooting everything in its path. I tried my best to look up some information on this game and I couldn’t find anything. I don’t know if you are HAL 21 or if it’s the planet you’re fighting on. Suffice it to say, you don’t really need a story for this game. Just keep shooting stuff.
As stated above, HAL 21 is a vertical shoot ’em up much like Galaga or Space Invaders. There is one unique aspect to the game play. Not only can you shoot flying enemies, but you can also drop bombs on ground vehicles, as well. This adds more depth to the game play. Not only do you have to worry about the insane amount of enemies and bullets coming at you, but you have to worry about taking out the ground units as well. It can get frantic at times. There are also special pick ups. They look like the energy containers from Mega Man. You get points for picking these up, and if you pick up enough, your guns will be upgraded to fire faster.
Most of the time, you’ll end up dying at the bottom part of the screen since bullets and enemies are coming towards you. The problem is, you’ll sometimes lose exactly where you or the bullets are due to them blending into the background. This will result in you dying without really knowing what hit you.
You will die many times. There’s no getting around it. Luckily, there are unlimited continues, so you can always progress. If it weren’t for that feature, the game would seriously suffer from rage quit syndrome.
In all honesty, the game plays great. The controls are very responsive both on the PS3 and PSP, and with a little practice, you could become rather good at the game. Granted, the full game will only last you around an hour or so, but it is rather enjoyable to play.
For only $2.99, you get a rather enjoyable shoot ’em up that you can play on your big screen, or take it with you, on the go. The controls are spot on, and because you have unlimited continues, you always feel like you’re progressing. For the price, if you’re looking for a decent old school shooter, I’d say give it a shot.
Review copy provided by publisher.