Review: Strikers 1945 Plus Portable (PSP)August 12th, 2009 | Written by Chris Selogy | Topic: Reviews, Sony PSP
PSN and XBLA have not seen much action in the shmup genre as dual-stick shooters have proven to be more popular this generation. Coming all the way from the Neo Geo nearly ten years ago, Strikers 1945 Plus Portable brings some classic shmup action to the PSP, where the competition is pretty much non-existent. Does Strikers take advantage of that situation or squander its only opportunity?
As for where Strikers 1945 Plus Portable’s origins lie, it is the portable version of Strikers 1945 Plus, which is a remake of Strikers 1945 II on the Neo Geo. The series may not be well-known like Capcom’s 1942 series, but it takes that style of World War II shmup and adds its own touch to the formula. Those main differences are the immense difficulty and that bosses morph into their mech form after you defeat their original form. Expect to find seven unique planes to choose from with unique attributes and abilities without any helpful explanation from the game, so you’re kind of forced to play with each plane until you find one you like.
The major issue you will probably have with Strikers 1945 Plus Portable is its difficulty. Though you do have unlimited continues by default, you should expect to die many, many times if you wish to beat the game since it is a bullet hell shooter. You do have the option of calling for help of support aircraft to offer a temporary shield and additional offense, which the game calls your bomb for some reason. Despite the ease of respawning when dying, the game doesn’t really make your deaths easy to recover from, as your ship literally flashes during the initial invisibility period that makes it easy to waste your second life in an instant. At least with unlimited continues, you can easily get to the end without much resistance, so there shouldn’t be much issue with getting to the end and beyond.
The main campaign in Strikers 1945 Plus Portable is not a very long experience, like most shmups. At about 30 minutes long, you should not be buying this to play just once, though the campaign starts over again from the beginning once you beat it to keep the action going until you just decide to stop yourself. Other possible reasons for playing again are the local leaderboard and local co-op over ad-hoc WiFi, which aren’t really all that compelling when the gameplay itself isn’t much of an engaging experience either. Outside of those things, the game doesn’t really offer much customization to let you tailor the experience to what you want it to be in the way of lives, continues, and difficulty.
Strikers 1945 Plus Portable isn’t much of an upgrade over the original’s graphics, so it will only look about as good as shooters from about ten years ago did and maybe not even that good. Everything looks about as you’d expect, from level design to enemy vehicle design to even the weird FMV-style explosions that stand out a bit. It’s not going to blow you away nor does it look all that bad. Music is sort of the same way; as it sounds like decent shmup music that you will probably like for one or two sessions before getting annoyed enough to just turn it off.
There really isn’t that much that is wrong with Strikers 1945 Plus Portable in any way, but it doesn’t really offer the kind of gameplay that would help it stand out and deserve some attention. The only people that would have any reason to check this game out are those that enjoy shmups enough to buy anything that comes along and doesn’t offend them. For $11.99, you don’t really get enough content for even a shmup to really be worth it over anything else that is up for download on PSN for the PSP.