Seems like ages since I’ve played a half decent shoot-em-up and it’s absolutely yonks since I’ve played one that’s as imaginative as Wendetta 2175.
There’s the usual scenario stuff – you versus a race of aliens that want to eat you, (read an interesting piece in the Guardian the other week, someone was wondering if visiting aliens would have the moral right to hunt and eat us, given that they would have superior intelligene and would therefore be aware of our emotions? But anyway…) and, of course, you’re the only one who’s able to save the world. That’s not strictly true because W2175 is a simultaneous two-player game, if you fancy some help.
You know the drill
There are all the usual shoot-em-up ingredients: fly left to right, shooting at all the enemy ships that come at you from both sides of the screen, and collect little spinny icons that affect your ship in various ways – usually boosting your firepower and giving you the odd extra life. The familiar ‘come back alive with one less weapon’ system is here too – as you go through the game you gradually build up your firepower until you’re shooting in pretty much all directions.
Manage to get yourself killed (not difficult at some points in the game like when there’s a whole string of meteorites bouncing onto the screen giving you nowhere to hide) and when you restart you’ve lost one of the weapons you had before – this isn’t too serious if you were fully tooled up, but it can be tricky if you’ve died a couple of times in a short space of time because you’re right back to the puny laser you started off with.
...the gameplay's solid and challenging and there are some lovely background graphics to fly over.
But there are also some more imaginative bits that you are less likely to have come across before. Several times during the missions (the game’s levels are called missions and you’re given a code at the end of each mission so you don’t have to keep ogoing through all the early levels) you’ll find that the enemies come from the most unlikely of places. There are times when you find your guns don’t work and you have to survive for a set number of seconds (there’s a timer at the centre bottom of the screen) amid a bunch of crashing asteroids.
Then there are the moments when you can’t progress past a particular bunch of aliens until you’ve registered enough hits on ‘em (again, the counter in the middle of the screen gives you the info). This is what happens when you encounter the end-of-mission bosses too,so seeing them off can take a while.
You can take a couple of hits before dying (there’s a teeny-tiny strength meter for each player at the bottom of the screen) so just a slip here and there is okay, because you can get away with it.
All the little extras work well within the framework of the main game and add up to keep it fresh and interesting. But don’t lose sight of the fact that the framework of the main game is just a shoot-em-up with all the usual bits attached.
There are times when you find your guns don't work and you have to survive for a set number of seconds...
Power up and play
I like W2175 though, it’s better than your average shooter because the gameplay is solid and challenging and there are some lovely background graphics to fly over (as well as the enemy sprites). It’s not the greatest game since sliced bread but it’s good that some of our old favourite genres are not being forgotten and it’s reassuring to know that people still have the imagination to be able to add new twists and features.
The only thing to bear in mind is that you’re going to need a pretty powerful Amiga to run the thing, but that seems to be the way of most things these days, so presumably most people have updated their machines.
So there you have it. Wendetta 2175 is a better-than-average shoot-em-up with a couple of nice features and good gameplay. Play it with a mate in two-player mode and you’ll have even more fun but it doesn’t get any harder so you’ll get through it much quicker, which doesn’t exactly help its value-for-money rating an awful lot.