In 1990, developer Sanritsu and publisher Sega released Aerial Assault for the Sega Master System. The side-scrolling shooter put players in control of a jet fighter flying through the sky taking on an evil military organization called the N.A.C. who wants to take over the world. Would Aerial Assault fly high or would lightning strike it down?
The game takes place in the very futuristic year of 1999.
“Some years ago, an evil militaristic organization known simply as the N.A.C. developed a huge laser emitter, “EL”, which was capable of gradually destroying the Ozone layer. This posed an ominous threat to all life on the planet, and cast a shadow of fear stretching to the far corners of the Earth.
In the year 1999, the N.A.C. began an all-out offensive against every country in the world. Although initially, each nation’s self-defense forces valiantly stood their ground against this most formidable of adversaries, they eventually proved to be no match for the sheer power and size of the enemy.
(So you’re telling me that an organization took on every country in the world and beat everyone? LOL, okay!)
However, just when all seemed lost, the “Freedom Fighter” appeared on the scene. Not officially attached to any one nation, it secretly sped off to clash with the unsuspecting enemy forces. Now, you must lead the Freedom Fighter into combat and come out on top, if you’re going to preserve life as we know it!
You’ll encounter air, land, and seacraft, and they don’t take prisoners! Attempt to dodge their onslaught while, at the same time, moving forward toward the final targets. As the pilot of the Freedom Fighter, you get no breaks at all – even the elements are against you! (It’s true, fuck the lightning) You are absolutely the only hope remaining for the people of Earth. Go on out and give it all you’ve got, in the name of Freedom!”
Okay, so this story is pretty ridiculous, but is it saved by the gameplay? Meh, no not really. You can select your difficulty between easy, normal, and hard. I played on normal and didn’t have too much of a tough time reaching the end of levels. When I died it was very cheap deaths so unless you suck at shooters, you should beat the game on normal.
This is a quick game as there are only five missions to play through. The graphics are very basic and nothing special. The sprites to the planes are simplistic but I suppose the best thing about the looks of this game would be the background. I think it was level two where the sun sets throughout the stage and the level grows darker. I liked that and thought it was a cool touch.
Your fighter jet starts off very slow but you can quickly power up with some help. I did like that before each mission you’ll receive a message telling you what objects to shoot at to gain power-ups. You can have six different weapons but my favorite was the chaser missile. I think it was the most powerful but you know what I hated? If a powerup was floating near you it would try and hit your jet on purpose. That means that if you have a great weapon and some shitty normal shot power-up was floating around it would try and run into your plane making you switch back to crappy weapons. I hated that and it messed me up a few times when I was happy with the current weapon I had. Most power-ups I avoided because I had no idea what they did, one looked like instant death so I avoided it at all cost. During the last stage, I found out that you can get a highly useful shield.
Let’s talk about the bosses and things that killed me. Bosses were fun to fight though most were easy. Every boss will have obvious weak points that flash red as they shoot bullets at you. Destroy all the weak points and the boss goes down. By far the hardest boss was stage four. It was a wall that shot everything from lasers, electricity, flames, and bullets. I found a few safe spots on the screen to keep my fighter jet as I blasted away at it. The final boss I thought would be tough but it turns out it was a breeze compared to the previous boss.
Death happened a few times to me but they were mostly cheap. On stage two I was killed a few times by lightning. Remember the manual even mentioned that the elements were against you, well they were right! Here I am just flying through the clouds, kicking ass and taking names and all of a sudden lightning strikes my fighter jet and I’m blown up. The first time it happened I wondered if I got hit by something I didn’t see but it happened again and again. You have to fly very low at the bottom of the screen as lightning strikes numerous times throughout the level. It was stupid and a very cheap way of taking away lives.
When you beat the game you are greeted on the ground by a roaring crowd as you pump your fist in the air from your cockpit. A text message appears saying how you are the real freedom fighter and now the world is at peace and whatnot.
I have never heard of this game until I chose to review it.
Aerial Assault is a very basic game with boring enemies and confusing powerups. It doesn’t win any beauty contests but if you like easier shoot ’em ups you might enjoy Aerial Assault. Oh, this game might only have three musical notes too so play on mute if you want to test this game out, otherwise, your eyes and ears will both bleed.
Aerial Assault scores a 5.4 out of 10.
Do you remember when Aerial Assault first came out? Did the lightning kill you too? Were you able to get past the fourth level? If you like this game, what are some redeeming qualities of it? Let me know your memories and thoughts, I’d love to read the comments!
If you’d like to own a copy of Aerial Assault, you can purchase a used copy of it for Sega Master System from eBay for around $50.