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A decent game that could have been better.
Author: B. Hodges | Date: 2002/12/07 | Rating: 7/10


Vertical Force was released for the Virtual Boy in December of 1995. It is one of two games made by Hudson Soft for the system.

Gameplay - 7/10

Vertical Force is a top-down shooter similar to 1942. You go through each stage shooting everything in sight. You can collect three types of powerups to make your battle easier. The best feature of the game are the AI Drones. You collect drones and can deploy them one at a time to help you fight. There are three different types of drones, each with its own abilities.

Each stage has three different altitudes: top, middle, and bottom. You start out at the top and can switch between the top and middle by pressing A. Your weapons only effect enemies at your current altitude. Your drones can also switch between the top and bottom altitudes. You can choose whether or not you want your drone to always match your altitude or let it move about at will.

Halfway through each stage you have to fight a mini-boss called BRATT. He will have different attacks in each stage. At the end of every stage is a boss. You have unlimited continues and you will either restart at the beginning of the stage, or if you have beaten BRATT, right after him. This game is a lot of fun, especially for those who like mindless shooting.

Story - 2/10

A computer called Mittgard has rebelled and is threatening the Earth. It has found a way to neutralize any weapons and the human race is doomed. Fortunately an alien spaceship called Ragnarok has been discovered and is immune to Mittgard's disabling ray. You must pilot Ragnarok and destroy Mittgard and save the Earth.

This detailed, unoriginal story is given in the instruction book, but is mentioned nowhere in the game. There is no real ending either (at least at the easy difficulty level, I haven't beaten it at the other two levels). There are very brief cutscenes before each level, but they only show your ship approaching the stage and do not advance the plot in any way.

Graphics - 5/10

Graphically, this game could run on the original Game Boy with the only difference being switching the colors form red and black to black and white. The ship, enemies, and levels lack the detail seen in Wario Land and Teleroboxer. The three different altitudes give the game a decent 3D effect, but nothing spectacular. The cutscenes appear flat and are too short.

Sound - 7/10

The music is good and fits the action well. The sound effects, however, belong on the NES.

Playing Time/Replay Value - 5/10

This game is very short, it will take you about two hours to beat it on difficulty level 1 the first time you play. The other two difficulty levels are VERY hard and I haven't been able to beat them yet.

The game doesn't have a real ending for the first difficulty level, just a statistic screen. I don't know if it is different for the other two levels. The game is a lot of fun to play, but it does get stale after a while.

Buy, Borrow, or Avoid? - Buy

This game is easy to find and relatively inexpensive. It makes a great addition to any Virtual Boy library. If you enjoy games of this genre, such as 1942, you will definitely have fun with this one.

Overall Score - 7/10

This is a fun game that would have been much better if it had been longer and more work had been put into the graphics. The 2nd and 3rd difficulty levels are too difficult and very frustrating which also hurts the score.