In 1989, Sega and Opera House teamed up and released “Cloud Master” for the Sega Master System. After its success in the arcade, Sega decided to bring the horizontal shooter to their home console. Cloud Master is one of the most random and bizarre shooters with its giant bosses and flying ramen bowls. Is this game a bowl of goodness or does it belong in the trash? Watch out for the flying bowls of ramen in this Cloud Master review!
Cloud Master Plot:
You are Michael Chen, a young prophet seeking enlightenment. Straight from the manual:
“The dangerous journey of the great wise prophet Michael Chen begins in the sky somewhere deep in the heart of China. Help him find the path to enlightenment in this high-flying adventure from Sega.
Back when the Earth was young, there was a mysterious hermit named Michael Chen who rode the wind on a cloud-like chariot. He had mediated deep in the mountainous regions of central China for many years and had grown powerful with the knowledge of the ancients. With luck and a little more study, he hoped to gain the title of “Cloud Master”, which would make him a powerful mystic indeed.
But dark forces conspired against the young hermit, and attacked him one after the other, trying to interfere with his all-important studies. Help Michael Chen wipe out these evil powers and assist him in becoming Cloud Master!”
Cloud Master Gameplay:
Cloud Master is a simple horizontal shooter set in ancient China. You control Michael Chen who rides on his cloud as the screen slowly moves to the right. Michael moves very slow at first but you can pick up upgrades to speed up the movement of the cloud giving you an advantage as the action intensifies. For your offensive attack, Michael will shoot power balls out of his hand with unlimited reserve. Each level will present a shop that allows you to shop for upgrades to Michael’s secondary weapon. I found these extremely helpful during my Cloud Master review when facing a few of the bosses. My favorite sub-weapon to use was the crescent moon. Your main weapon can be powered up numerous times by picking up upgrades after killing enemies. I would up at the end shooting a yellow sheet of power that covered more of the screen than the tiny balls that you start with.
The enemies you face are so random and weird. Sega had fun with this game shoving random things into the game. You’ll face flying fish with Aztec heads, lions with royal faces, pig heads, tiger heads, panda heads, and my favorite, flying ramen noodle bowls. Weird enemies are always a plus during my reviews and my Cloud Master review was more interesting because of this.
Bosses were another favorite of mine from my Cloud Master review. Each level is one or two minutes long and ends with a big boss. I mean it when I say big boss because they cover a quarter of the screen. The first one is a giant rooster! After beating the level you’ll be transported to a place where “God” talks to you, letting you know you’ve done well but there’s more training in front of you. He lets you know “YOU ARE GREAT!” before sending you on your way.
The bosses continued to get more weird as the game progressed along with the common enemies. The second boss was a giant bald goblin who had a sickle. It was easy to see where their weak points are as they flash giving you a target to hit but you need to defeat them relatively quickly because if you don’t kill them in about 20 seconds, they will float to the left side of the screen almost guaranteeing that you die. Stages and bosses do grow in difficulty. Speed is the biggest threat to your death as enemies zoom by you on screen. Better make sure your cloud is powered up with speed or else you’ll be toast. The third boss was a giant Buddha with sunglasses, he was the last boss that I had an easy time beating during my Cloud Master review. It was the fourth boss that I struggled with. He was a dragon with a tail of broccoli and took forever to kill. He started to fly at me because so much time had passed, luckily for me I was able to dodge him a few times and blew him away with my crescent moon weapon. I was nervous I would never beat him but with some luck, I prevailed.
Beating the game results in a funny scene between Michael and “God”. He begins to talk to you. “You’ve learned much, thus the end of Michael Chen and his wish. He had become the strongest superhuman in the world and people praised him and called him the great cloud master.”
Well, the title of the game is cloud master so I suppose that’s the end goal. The goal was obtainable but only with power-ups and more speed. You won’t beat Cloud Master on your first playthrough but it’s on the easier end of shooters. The shops are nice because they clear the enemies on screen too as you resume the gameplay.
I think Cloud Master gets made fun of quite a bit for being a weird shooter but I enjoyed it during my Cloud Master Review. I remember watching a few YouTube videos with the critics teasing about Cloud Master so I wanted to try it for myself.
Cloud Master Review Score:
Shooters need to stand out because there are so many of them. Cloud Master had some very unique bosses but the gameplay was simple and typical of any 80s shooter. If you want a silly time and a good laugh, Cloud Master is tolerable for an afternoon. I wouldn’t buy it but as long as you don’t take the game seriously, it can be fun.
Cloud Master scores a 6.4 out of 10.
What would you write in your Cloud Master review? Do you remember when Cloud Master first came out? What did you think of the weird enemies? Did you ever beat it and was there a boss that gave you a tough time? Let me know your memories and thoughts, I’d love to read the comments!