Game: Sky Kid
Genre: Shoot 'em up
Release date: 1986
I knew next to nothing about this odd little game before buying it a year or so ago--which shouldn't be much of a surprise to those who know anything about its history. (Although the arcade original was released in the States, it wasn't a very high-profile release and, as such, it didn't see much success. The NES port, published here by Sunsoft, suffered a similar fate.) To be completely honest, I only picked it up because I was on a bit of a Namcot-made-Famicom-game kick at the time and I thought Sky Kid's cover art was cute. Luckily for me, the game that resides beneath that box art quite a lot of fun. I especially like that it's unique in the way that only games from this era seem to be: At its heart, it's a shoot 'em up, but blowing oncoming planes to smithereens isn't really the goal. No, the real goal of the game is to pick up a bomb that's placed about half-way through each stage and then drop it on a specified target that typically sits just before said stage's landing strip. (Yep, you have to land your plane at the end of each mission.) As I'm sure most of you have already imagined, that's a lot easier said than done. In the case of Sky Kid, that's because rival pilots do their best to create havoc by filling the screen--and not just with their planes, but with their bullets, too. At the same time, multitudes of ground units add to the visual cacophony by launching their own ammunition into the air. Thankfully, controlling your little pea-shooter-with-wings is as easy as can be. You even have access to a loop-the-loop maneuver (performed with the Famicom controller's B button) that can help you evade on-coming fire. Two additional reasons to check out this pleasingly unique title: Its graphics, while definitely on the simplistic side, are colorful and well crafted, especially for the era, and its soundtrack enjoyably jaunty--although not to the point of annoyance.
See also: Previous 'Great Gaymathon' posts