REVIEWERS' lives would be considerably more difficult - or less easy, depending on your honesty - if all games didn't come with a wildly fanciful plot. I mean, "waves of marauding aliens" sounds far better than "a row of four blitter-
And in this department, Gemini Wing, is no excpetion. Especially when you can manage to use two of game reviewing worst cliches in the one (preceding sentence).
The humour in the tale behind the game is rather like early rhubarb - forced. It would seem that Earth people have become a little too xenophobic, and the rest of the universe's sentient beings have decided to teach us a lesson.
But of course there's the secret ship, which can show those slimy bug-eyes what for, and you are piloting it. Channel Z, or what? Possibly even Dullsville, South Dakota.
After playing Silkworm you are probably waiting for another amazing, slick and playable arcade conversion from Virgin. Well you can carry on waiting for Ninja Warriors. This wasn't programmed by Random Access, and it shows.
The format of the game is one you've definitely seen before. You are a small ship facing up a downwards scrolling landscape. Things come down the screen towards you, wobble a bit, perhaps shoot at you or drop something, and then are shot or disappear.
After a certain length of backdrop has scrolled by the small things vanish, to be replaced by one or two large things, which try to shot you a lot, and then they get shot, or you get shot.
That just about wraps up this paradigm of plainness (thank you, Dr Roget, wherever you are) but for a few small details. There can be two players simultaneously. Like, serious innovation, or what? Instead of the little capsules giving extra powers, they give one-shot super weapons. Am I getting old, or is the term smart
Gemini Wing does have some new, innovative ideas, though> Having all the capsules you've collected trailing behind you is a bit one-
Also, this game doesn't have the usual complement of bangs, pows, thwacks and zonks that every other mediocre shoot-' em-up has - it boasts a wide variety of rather clever tunes, but no real noise. Don;t know about you, but to me a shoot ' em-up without noise is like... is like something without something else pretty vital, at any rate.
At least the tunes are adequate, with an especially nice line in electro mock-
Most of the graphics suffer form being rather small, being frequently made up from units of two low-res pixels, which pushes them into the really quite exceptional (for an Amstrad CPC) league. There are times when there are so many ground emplacements and circling aliens that there isn't time to loose a smart bomb, so a rather frustrating death ensues.
Gemini Wing has a similar, though greatly inferior feel to Mission Genocide, a rather ancient 8 bit budget game. Where Mission Genocide squeezed every last ounce of speed from the Z80 machine to get an extended screen scroll, Gemini Wing seems to be barely ticking over on its tiny scrolling window. And as Gemini Wing is over 10 times the price, it's not worth to bother. You've seen all this before. With better presentation, sad to say.