The second game in the Psikyo Shooting Stars Alpha collection is Strikers 1945 II. This sequel is popular in the series and with good reason. Psikyo took the elements from the previous title and leaned into them further. Progression is always positive so let’s get into it and find out what sets this game apart.
I can’t imagine how cool it would have been to play Strikers 1945 in the arcade, let alone the sequel. 1997 is the year Strikers 1945 II made its debut, just one year after the previous title. Fans would have been so excited to play the next game in the series in such short proximity to one another. Enough nostalgia let’s get into the game.
In Psikyo fashion there are seven different difficulty levels
Sticking to this formula keeps the game open to players of all skill tiers which is nice. Their ranking system is per skill tier and also shows which plane was used. Too bad it’s locked to local and you can’t share the leaderboards with the world. Screenshot your scores or runs and post them to Twitter and tag me! A detail I can’t leave behind that I loved and thought was important? When entering your initials to the leaderboard, sequential letters are navigated from the previous letter instead of starting back at the letter A. Choose one of six planes and head to the skies. There are no details given so trial and error is the name of the game.
Immediately I can tell a difference in the look and feel from the prior Strikers game. It still has the classic arcade, retro, look but this time it has some dark and grittiness to it. The music jumps out as well, sounding much better. It’s more video-gamey and engaging in a way that feels more natural. It reminds me of the Mega Man X soundtrack which is phenomenal. It could be music for a Sega game as well.
Bullet patterns from enemies seem pretty familiar so nothing special there. BUT. Boss bullet patterns are far from familiar. They are flashy, sometimes geometrical, and prompt an audible reaction. More than a few times I said “Oh my gosh!” then got blasted by the beautifully shaped pattern of pellets. Get over the captivating shapes and movements, get back into the game! I found myself pushed to areas without exit many times and need more plays to get these fights down.
I cannot go on without touching on the boss battle transformations
Again, this element existed in the previous title but they have evolved. Large machines appear at the end of each level to destroy your plane. Avoid enemy fire for long enough and you will witness the eruption of a formidable enemy. Layers of machinery will melt away to reveal another form. Again and again, this happens until a transformers looking boss erupts. What wonderful enemy designs and presentations, this is easily the best-looking portion of the game.
I love seeing improvements to titles in their progression and Strikers 1945 II is the epitome of just that. The music is wonderful and adds to the fun, bullet patterns are dazzling, replayability is still high. Each addition adds value to the already high praise I have for the Strikers series and everyone should give it a try. Big thanks to NIS America.
Review code provided
Release Date: 24/01/2020
No. of Players: 1-2
Category: Shooter, Arcade
Developer: CITY CONNECTION
Publisher: NIS America
Download link: eShop