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Keio Klying Squadron Review

If there‘s anything I love to see in video games it’s a bit of entertainment and if anything, Keio Flying Squadron is crammed full of it. In fact, this game might contain all the wacky, Japanese madness you’ll ever need.

For example, let’s visit the storyline; Rami and her grandparents watch over a great treasure (a giant, golden, ignition key) and protect it from any danger. One day, a talking raccoon named Dr. Pon (pronounced ‘Pown’. No, really) attacks the village Rami lives in and steals the treasure in order to activate the Ark; a device which he will use to turn everyone in the world into raccoons. Dr. Pon only gets away with the treasure because Rami was too busy having something to eat. So Rami’s grandparents ban her from eating anything until she and her dragon-companion, Spot rescue the treasure and save the world. A bit much for some food, don’t you think?

The opening sequence which explains all this has to be the most entertaining anime cut-scene you’ll ever witness on the Mega CD and this is almost worth the purchase alone. However, there is also a game included with this cut-scene so let me continue.
Keio Flying Squadron is (believe-it-or-not) a side-scrolling shoot-em-up. You play as Rami and Spot and you must destroy all of Dr. Pon’s minions to proceed through the game. B fires and A activates your special attack, which is limited. If you stop shooting for a while you also gain to smaller dragons (options) which will also fire projectiles when B is pressed. The controls are wonderfully simple and easy to pick up so how does the game play match-up?

Despite the simplicity of it all, the game play is brilliant. Enemies fly at you from all sides of the screen making for an interesting challenge. Power-ups can be obtained from item-clouds. There are 2 types of power-ups; projectile power-ups and bomb power-ups. If you wait long enough the power-up will cycle through another 2 options which brings some variety to the weapon structure and allows you to mix-and-match to find a structure which suits you. The levels play out very simply with a few minutes of side-scrolling action accompanied by an end-of-level boss.

However, the graphics don’t compliment the entire package as well as the game play, cut-scenes and story do. The presentation is supposed to represent a cardboard cut-out scenery and foreground, in a similar vain to Dynamite Headdy. Unfortunately, the scenery lacks a lot of detail and can look quite bland. This isn’t helped by the fact that the colour palette choices are always a bit dark which brings a bit of a downer on the game. On the other hand, the graphics do function and if you can look over their shortcomings you can really enjoy this game.

The soundtrack is the real selling point when it comes to presentation. It’s upbeat, poppy and care-free tone really makes the game that little bit more fun. Soundtracks like these really help show off the Mega CD’s audio power and it’s fantastic to see it used so effectively. We still can’t figure out why Rami talks Japanese during the game play and in English during the cut-scenes but we really couldn’t care less as it adds to the game’s crazy attitude even further.

The real problem with the game is that it all feels too repetitive. Keio Flying Squadron doesn’t bring anything new to 2D shoot-em-ups so if you’re not a fan of the genre then this won’t change you. But you really should consider this game because you’ll be missing out on one of the most bonkers storylines to ever grace the world of the shoot-em-up.


Written by Sonic Yoda on 25/6/08

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