BIO-HAZARD BATTLE / Sega / Genesis
Here's a real oddball of a shooter. It's got a whole sort of "organic" theme going, perhaps it would go over well if it was sold at Whole Foods? Instead of blasting rapidly decaying asparagus at the produce stands, you're taking on some army of bio-mechanical nightmares for reasons that are never clearly laid out.
Select from one of four creatures (which I'm not even going to attempt to identify, one maybe looks kinda like a manta ray), though they all seem to possess the same barely-effectual green ray gun and have no other unique attributes. Most of the powering-up in this one comes through your little option buddy guy, whom you start off with and who can switch weapons by picking up different colored spheres that are floating around haphazardly at various points. The game starts out with an interesting vertical scrolling portion, as your ship descends from space to earth. The first level is a cakewalk, which makes it a brutal surprise when the game's *real* difficulty level abruptly kicks in on the second level. This is one of those R-Type sorts of shooters where you essentialy have to memorize the level layout and what's coming next, or get slammed into a wall or a horde of enemies.
It's punishing, but there's a lot to be said for the unique visual style and the heavy use of parallax scrolling backgrounds without slowdown. The music is appropriately odd as well, always sort of off-key and off-kilter and leaving you scratching your head wondering what is up with this game, and also maybe disturbing your sleep a bit. Can I reccomend it? Ultimately, I'd have to say no - though it's an interesting point of curiosity, the gameplay is ultimately too generic shooterish and the difficulty level is brutal at points.
* Gameplay Video