Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Obscure Game Review: Pilot Kids

Recently I have been in a shmup mood. I mostly been playing Sengoku Ace and Dragon Blaze ( aka hardest game ever) on my PS2, and it made me curious to see if there were any Psikyo games I may have missed. After searching I found about this little shooter called Pilot Kids. This game was released on the M2 arcade system, the same system used for Daytona USA. For some reason or another, the game never recieved a home console port...so thank heavens for M2 emulation.
Pilot Kids doesn't really hold up to the crazy bullet hell stuff that Psikyo is known for but it still provides a nice (albeit short) ride. The game stars a boy riding in a tiny plane through his house and lawn. The set pieces are cool and the wacky enemies are hilarious like an angry garden gnome statue or a giant Bruce Lee action figure. Your plane has a normal shot and a lock-on attack that kills enemies very quickly... almost too quickly as it makes many bosses too easy.
The graphics are mostly great and hold up even today. Some ugly blockiness appear in enemies but the enemies are such a delight it is easy to overlook the occasional crappy looks. The music is mostly drowned out by the action, but the last stage's tune is eerie and fitting. The game's big downfall is it's shortness. Even for an arcade the game is too short, and the difficulty is cake. Only the last boss cranks up the difficulty playing like a true smhup boss. These faults may have been the reasons this game never recieved a port to any system. I would assume the Saturn would have been the top choice for the port; but by the time this game released it was already entering it's demise. Psikyo must have said screw it and moved onto Dragon Blaze's development.
This game is a fun little diversion and makes a good addition to a shmup fan's library. I have no idea what the PCB sells for on this one, but the rom is easy enough to track down along with the m2 emulator. This game should have been put on one of Psikyo's collection discs; but sadly it remains forgotten in the realms of obscurity. Be sure to give this old game a look.

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