In 1990, developer ITL Co. and publisher Sega released “Arrow Flash” for the Sega Genesis. The side-scrolling shoot ’em up featured two different forms, one as a spaceship and the other as a mech suit. Zana Keene stars as the female pilot as she tries to save Earth from the Viking Terrorists. Would her mission be a success or would Arrow Flash crumble under the pressure? Jump into the mech, we’re starting this Arrow Flash review!
Arrow Flash Plot:
This comes straight from the manual:
“In the latter half of the 30th century, a frightening rumor reached the planet Earth. A group of Viking terrorists, led by a vicious tyrant known as the Great Hilagi, had been plundering and destroying planets throughout the Galaxy. They moved in ominous warships capable of entering and traveling in Nether Space. Yet the people of planet Earth never suspected that all of the planets in the Galaxy, Earth was to be Hilagi’s next target.
In fact, there had already been a small assault on the laboratory of the renowned scientist Doctor Zerrek Keene who, in a state near death, sent an urgent message calling his granddaughter and only living heir, Zana Keene, to his side.
“Zana Keene, listen to me,” he said. “I have caused a terrible tragedy. While experimenting with Nether Space transmission I caused a huge magnetic field to be formed around our planet, and now, it has attracted the attention of the barbaric Viking Terrorists.”
The old man fell back against the floor. Zana reached for his hand. At that moment Dr. Keene pressed a keycard into his granddaughter’s palm, and with his last breath, he whispered, “Zana Keene, use this…save Earth.”
Zana Keene, who had trained as a test pilot at the United Government Military Academy, knew what it was her grandfather had placed in her hands…access to the space fighter “Chameleon”; the battle weapon ERX-75, a space fighter capable of combat in Nether Space; capable of transforming itself into a robot; the strongest weapon ever developed by the United Earth Army – code name, Valdor. Chameleon was the only existing prototype. Its production plant has been sabotaged and destroyed. Zana Keene knew what she must do. “Use this…save Earth.”
Okay, that story is fine but does the grandpa have to constantly refer to his granddaughter as Zana Keene? Imagine your grandparents using both your first and last names whenever they talked to you?
Arrow Flash Gameplay:
Arrow Flash gave me an “anime” vibe right away from the small intro video that plays during the menu if you don’t push any buttons. The style of the characters reminded me a lot of “Zillion” which I reviewed both games previously. Arrow Flash has a nice options menu that includes the ability to turn the difficulty up or down, how many lives you start with, and whether your weapon fires semi-automatic or fully-automatic. You bet I turned that puppy to fully-automatic for my Arrow Flash review which made blasting enemies way easier by just holding down the button.
Once you pop into your pilot seat and set off to crush the Viking Terrorists, you realize that your ship is pretty darn slow. You’ll be able to pick up power-ups throughout the levels that include speed but I just felt that no matter how much speed I picked up during my Arrow Flash review my ship never controlled smoothly or as fast as I had hoped. The other power-ups you can pick up are attack power, new weapons, clone ships, and shields that come in handy. Power-ups come in the form of a red-ringed floating object but make sure to shoot them first before flying into them or else they damage you. The clone ships helped a lot and once I had both of them, the entire screen was filled with bullets coming out of my ships. Very few enemy ships were able to get close enough to me to do any damage after I was powered up.
Arrow Flash is a bit of a short game with only five levels in the entire game. The levels look nice with the first stage having a scrolling background as you zoom through the clouds. Some levels have brief cut scenes that add to the story or mission. Reaching the halfway point of stage one shows a giant satellite falling from space and sinking into the ocean. It was cool to see this during my Arrow Flash review and it was a nice brief break before returning to the action. Level three was terrible however with the bizarre background that the programmers chose. Behind your ship is hot pink and neon blue wave lines that look like you are in another dimension or are experiencing a bad trip. It really hurt my eyes and I didn’t understand why it was necessary to include this eyesore in the game. The waves covered the enemies up and I couldn’t tell where some of them were coming from. It was tough when not only do the enemies come at you but behind, above, and below.
The final boss was a giant dragon, that was inside a dragon-shaped ship, that was protected by other tiny dragons flying around inside. I’m not sure if Great Hilagi was a dragon but he was certainly fond of them regardless. I was nervous about facing the last boss during my Arrow Flash review but he was super easy. I found the sweet spot on the screen where he can’t touch you and blasted away at him with my zillions of missiles and lasers. He went down in twenty seconds.
I never changed into the mech machine throughout the entire game and just kept the ship the way it was. I’m not sure if it made a difference or not but I just preferred the ship during my Arrow Flash review as I think the suit is slower. At some point, you have the Arrow Flash power that you build up throughout the game. I never used it despite having the meter full since level three. I should have tried it out but I wanted to save it for the final boss but he was so easy I didn’t need it. Whoops.
I have never heard of Arrow Flash until I decided to review it! But… I’ve heard this was the sequel to TransBot, a Sega Master System that I reviewed recently. TransBot was terrible, but Arrow Flash was pretty good!
Arrow Flash Review Score:
Arrow Flash is your run-of-the-mill shoot ’em up. It’s not overly difficult and you’ll beat the game in 20 minutes if you know what you’re doing. It’s a fun game but the bizarre choice to include the background on level three leaves a bad mark on it. If you like typical space-shooters, try it out. If not, you aren’t going to miss anything special.
Arrow Flash scores a 7.2 out of 10.
What would you write in your Arrow Flash review? Do you remember when Arrow Flash first came out? Where does it compare to other space shooters? Did you use the mech suit or the space ship? Let me know your memories and thoughts, I’d love to read the comments!