Author:Never openly stated, not even in the credits.
Rom Player: Magic Engine
Synopsis: Ahh... The good old TurboGrafx 16. I remember lusting after this system in the post-nes, pre-snes days, when a rich friend of mine in middle school showed me his (the system, get your mind out of the gutter). He had a large array of shoot-em-up games, which I had a particular fondness for. So, me being the sucker that I am, I decided to start saving for it. 200 dollars later, I had my own TG-16. Two weeks later the price dropped to 60 dollars, and included two pack-in games that didn't suck (more on this later). A few months later, you could hardly give the system away. Little did I know that this would set the standard for most consumer electronics that I would purchase.
At any rate, Sinistron was one of those shoot-em-up games that were saturating the "market" during the TG16's lifespan. I bought it because it was 20 dollars, a pretty respectable price in contrast to the 60 dollar premium for TG16 games at the time. I was not aware of the frustration that was in store for me.
The game itself is a fairly standard shoot-em-up in most regards. You start out slow and weak, and you obtain power-ups that will improve your speed and weaponry. There are three different types of weapons - A projectile weapon, a beam weapon, and homing missiles. However, the only really useful one is the beam weapon, as the others are far to weak to put to any real use in the game. You also can get little floating sperm-like things that are placed above and below your ship, to deflect bullets and do damage.
There are a couple of weaponry-related details that make Sinistron stand out. First, you have one of the LEAST effective charged weapons in video game history. I think R-type was the first game I ever saw where you could hold down the button, only to unleash a huge, plasma ball of fury when you let go. Sinistron has - err, well, sort of a small, expanding ring of ineffectiveness. It DOES destroy enemy shots, but it takes so long to charge in proportion to it's strength that it's practically useless.
On a slightly more interesting note is the "shield" system, for lack of a better term. The front of the ship acts as a shield of sorts, and can block weapons, and do damage. This is something that will be VERY useful, as you can clear out bullets quite nicely with it. After grabbing a weapon power-up, you can open your shield like a large mouth, which increases the spread of your weapon, while diluting it's power somewhat. This is especially fun with the turbo controller, as you can essentially act like pacman, and munch away bullets and enemies. Of course, the huge drawback to opening your shield is that your cockpit is now vulnerable, so it becomes even easier than usual to die.
Which brings me to the gameplay. Nothing much to say about the enemies - They are somewhat uninspired, and nothing really stands out, other than there can be a LOT of them at times. The difficulty of this game isn't too big of a deal at first - even those who are very inexperienced at shoot-em-up's should be able to get past at least the first two levels. Around level four, however, you will start dying - often. Even with unlimited continues, I was not able to beat this game until I was able to emulate it, and that was only by saving state whenever I had breathing room.
And let me tell you - I just beat this game a few days ago. I've been trying to beat it off and on for about 10 years or so. It wasn't worth it. Anyone who has beat Karnov knows of what I speak. So there isn't much replayability after you beat this game - you won't want to play it again.
The graphics are actually not too shabby, especially for the TG16. Things seem to be pretty fluid. The sound, on the other hand, is pretty mediocre. There's about three or four sound effects that stand out in my memory, and the music is beyond repetitive. The thing is, the music sounds cool for the first 15 seconds or so, until it repeats.
In summary, we are left with a fairly average and non-descript shoot-em-up that will leave an incredible sense of frustration, yet will demand you attention until you either beat the game, or get sick of trying.
More TG16 reviews as I get around to it.
Best Cheats: None aside from saving state.
Game Play: 7
Overall Rating: 5
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