Switch version tested
Review code provided
Welcome to the conclusion of the Strikers 1945 trilogy, brought to us by NIS America. Strikers 1945 III is both the rise and fall off the series in different ways. This 1999 vertical shmup has been ported to Nintendo Switch obviously because of the resurgence of shmups, and this Alpha collection is your chance to play it. Let’s dig in.
Against the grain of the previous titles, this instalment only has four difficulties as opposed to seven. Choose one of five fighter jets, or allow the game to pick at random. Each jet has three different attacks including sub-weapon, bomb, and super shot. Super shot was tricky to figure out because it gave the information when you lost a battle and typically I button mash to get back into the game. I allowed the countdown to laugh at me while I read that if you press and hold the ‘shot button’ when your gauge is higher than the first level it will become a super shot. This would have been helpful to know before starting!
Upon starting the game I understand I was incorrect in my judgement of difficulty. Although the four difficulty options are available the game remains a challenge. Due to this factor, it may be easier for lower-tier shoot em up fans to start on the previous Strikers games. I found Easy and Very Hard modes to be challenging. Think of Easy mode as being Normal in difficulty, and it increases from there each step up.
Enemy shot formations are insane. This game is pretty unforgiving, even on easy mode. I was surprised at the skill level required on the lowest difficulty so much, I simply kept playing to see how far I could get. Now don’t get me wrong, I am in fact Lord Shmup. BUT. My nickname does not mean I am the best but an enthusiast. I’m not giving up until I beat this game on easy. One forgiving factor is that once you lose your cool in the heat of battle, a red helicopter will appear. Shoot that bad boy down to gain a level in your attack spread and damage. If you keep at difficult mid-tier enemies you will likely be rewarded with a bomb or upgrade. Stacking my best scores on the leader boards helps motivate me but as always, it’s locked to local. I’m not sure if it’s possible to implement this online but that would be fantastic.
Strikers 1945 III has the classic Psikyo graphic styling, sticking to their code. Solid looking sprite work with gritty textures. Upon looking closer at screenshots I’m impressed with the shadowing on buildings that give a 3D feel. I think they’ve done a great job with what’s possible with level design as well. Utilising buildings, tanks, enemies swooping in from either direction, as well as steering the player and screen left and right.
Controls are positive and feel good for each jet. Not all move the same speed but it’s up to the player to figure out which one works best. I personally could not pick a favourite so I choose a different fighter each run. I found that higher movement speeds were not always better, and that I preferred a speed in the middle ground.
There is no story to Strikers 1945 III and that’s just fine. I don’t need to read through massive paragraphs before starting a shoot ‘em up (hint hint). Music is very fitting to the game and has been done well. It reminds me of the Mega Man X soundtrack which is one of my favourite from the 16-bit era. Replayability is high because of the six jets, four difficulties, leader boards, and just being a good game. It’s fun and easy to pick up and play in short sessions.
Strikers 1945 III is a game that’s lasted through the ages with good reason. It has great shot patterns, lovely graphics, and game options but also has higher difficulty overall, and doesn’t explain some minor mechanics. Nonetheless, it is a game that should be played after the first two to really be appreciated, and that’s how I would recommend it. Massive thanks to NIS America.
TBG Score: 7/10
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 24/01/2020
No. of Players: 1-2
Category: Action, Arcade
Developer: CITY CONNECTION
Publisher: NIS America
Download link: eShop