Retro Game of the Day! Halley Wars
Halley Wars by Taito for the Sega Game Gear, released 1991. Man. Sega Game Gear. I love the portable devices that were not exactly "portable." This wasn't a system you could fit in your back pocket - hey, not even your fanny pack *cough cough*
So - as Jerry Seinfeld would say (and he surely would, because I can absolutely imagine him wearing a fanny pack with an oversized Game Gear sticking out of it) - "wha-at's the deal with Halley Wars?" Well, this is a, let us say, quaint little vertical shooter from the boys at Taito. Interesting enough that they even made a title for this system, and moreover that it was a shooter- They made Space Invaders back in the day, monumental enough, but then that was sort of it for them and the shooter brand.
An unassuming little title, one can sense from these screen shots, Halley was not much to look at. Certainly a butterface of videogaming if anything is. Not offensive, but not something that (even when it was released) that would make any gamer say "oh hey! This looks like something worth playing". Hey, the title screen logo is probably the fanciest graphic you'll see in the entire game. Yet - the game, for what it is, is not bad at all.
Standard issue plot - pilot the last fighter of the Earth in a desperate attempt to save our species from extinction. Blah blah blah. Pick up powerups. Kill aliens. Been there, done that. Still, this game does have a little "certain something" that keeps me playing. Not sure what it is. Mabe it's the relentless attack waves of aliens. Maybe it's the triumphant feeling that you get after getting a few powerups in your stable. Something.
Also unique to this game is what I like to call the "Feel-Bad Meter." The game is constantly displaying a percentage tally of how many aliens and comets have slipped by your single-ship defensive line - if that number gets to 100, then you've failed and Earth has bought the farm. That's right, the game is constantly keeping an eye on how much of a loser you are and at any given time you aware of this. It sounds a little after-thought but they've clearly (and cleverly) designed the game around this interesting mechanic. It's nice, I have never seen anyone else use it before.
Halley Wars is a forgettable little title that not more than a few hundred people had probably actually paid money for (and even then, likely some diehard collecters). But it is a shame, the game holds up and is a decent challenge and a fun one to boot. If you happen to have a GG, or at least enjoy emulating it, give this one a try!