In this game the player is the captain of the "Final Impact" squadron. As the Xarras, an alliance of hostile aliens, conquer the Core sector he accompanies the mothership and perfroms 11 important missions to defeat the Xarras.
At the start of a mission the player has to choose one of three spaceships, the weaponry and ammo. Of course the equipment costs money which is sparse and has to be earned by solving missions. Also there is a weight restriction. The missions itself are old-school vertical shooter action: Everything that moves has to be destroyed. The weapons can be switched during battle and with the right ones the player can shoot in up to eight directions. Besides the enemy waves there are other obstacles which influence the flight properties of the space ship, e.g. magnetic disturbances.
Final Impact is a fun and highly underrated parallax-scrolling vertical shooter in the same style as Raptor and Tyrian. Although it is not a "classic" like those two games, Final Impact deserves a lot more attention for its smooth gameplay, intuitive controls, and frantic action. Too bad the game was released only in a few European countries.
Similar to SWIV for the Amiga, Final Impact allows you to fire in eight directions as long as you pick up the right power-up that has turret mode. There are over 30 different weapons you can use, including smart missile and paveway bomb (my favorite). The game also has a two-player simultaneous mode which is more difficult than a single player game.
One of the best features of Final Impact is the mission briefings, which explains weapons enemy ships will be carrying in the current mission, and offer gameplay hints. You can also choose from three different ships, each with its own characteristics (as usual, one can carry a large payload, one is more nimble, etc.). You must also carry some mission-specific equipment in some missions which mark a good change of pace from the usual shooting spree. Last but not least, you can "store" weapons in this game, meaning you can switch back and forth between with ease.
When all is said and done, Final Impact certainly is not a watershed in the genre, but it is still a more than competent shooter that will keep you entertained to the end - even if the enemy ships could be more varied and the levels more interesting. Recommended.
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