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As a dying genre, shooters require something special to make them stand out from a crowded genre. Vertical Force is one of the most standard overhead shooters ever devised, borrowing ideas form one of the hundred or so of the other shooters on the market. However, this was the only standard shooter ever put out in the US for the short-lived console so shooter fans don't have many choices.

The meat of the game are the drones that are available to players. Much like R-Type, players can attach a drone to their ship. These can be used as a smart bomb, slam itself into enemies, or just give players an additional firepower source. These can be manually controlled or the computer can take them over letting players concentrate on dodging bullets. The game takes place on 2 levels (high and low) and switching between the these is only a matter of pressing a button. The 3-D effect the Virtual Boy is famous for is used perfectly in this game.

2 weapons and a shield are available to players as upgrades. Each can be powered up 3 times to increase the firepower. Nothing here is truly spectacular and it's all been done before. The same mid-boss appears in every level, each time bringing a new weapon. With the games short length, there's really no reason that there couldn't be more enemies. The end level bosses are also nothing original with basic patterns that any shooter veteran will have no trouble deciphering. The generic music and sound effects don't help the situation either.

While it's not a bad game, you simply have to ask yourself if it worth ruining your eyes to play a game that you've probably played a thousand times before. The 3-D effect is used here only as a gimmick and nothing more. Die hard shooter fans will find something to enjoy here, but the short ride won't bring many of them back for a second ride.

Review by Matt Paprocki