Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Recommended Gaming: MAME GP32

Juno First
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I loved Juno First at first sight. Though the gameplay couldn't be much more different, it has that same 'electronic' ambience that Robotron enjoys. Black background, small brightly coloured sprites and plenty of cool sounds blasting out. A little like Defender in this regard too. There were a few machines in local arcades back in the day and I'd always make time for a session when I was there. It's a game that's easy to pick up and has a very gentle difficulty curve. It also runs sweetly on the GP32!
Control is basic, an 8-way joystick and 2 buttons; one for shooting and one for warping (called 'hyperspace' on some machines). You get 3 warps per level but you'll likely not use them.
You have 99 seconds to clear each level, which is a tad too long and one reason why the difficulty level is so easy, at least initially. This is your basic shooter, just shoot everything on the screen. You'll notice that when you shoot an asteroid (they appear after about 20 seconds) it changes to a 'mystery', a little spaceman. Pick it up and enemies will stop shooting for a while, long enough to line a good number up and pick them off.
I keep my eye focused on the radar screen at top, using the main screen just for fine-tuning my shots. Your ship carries a fair amount of inertia, a feature I've personally always liked in games. So keep in mind that it takes a little time to reverse direction. And speaking of reversing direction, that's a great way to play: in reverse. By holding the joystick down you'll force enemies to wrap around and come at you from below, this usually gives you the advantage as you can sneak into tight areas to strafe away. If they're lined up on the radar you can just run straight at them, strafing away and pretty much wipe out most in that particular formation. But when they start to scatter a bit throw it into reverse (keeping a watchful eye on the radar) and figure out a good spot to hit them from. It's a hard techniue to describe, so try it out when you think it's appropriate and see if it works for you.
You'll come across challenge waves every few levels, they're pretty easy to clear at 100% and give a nice fat bonus.
There's really not much more to tell you about Juno First, it's really a very simple little shooter that sucks you in.
You'll find it in MameGP32's Konami folder, it runs nicely with sound and frameskip <=1.

Reviewed by: Alyinsanfran

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