P-47 - The Phantom Fighter Review
Written by Jason Trent Wednesday, 27 July 2011 05:00
P-47 - The Phantom Fighter is a port of the 1988 classic originally released in arcades. If you were like me and spent any considerable amount of time dropping quarters into cabinets, then you pretty much know what you’re getting into here: a hard as nails, unforgiving, short and repetitive game that will appeal to few and frustrate many. That’s not to say that this is a bad game; in fact, I think the port was done very well, but it’s definitely not for everyone, and those who will enjoy it already know who you are.
Because this game is simply a port of the 23-year old game, there’s really no sense in explaining gameplay beyond its basic premise. P-47 - The Phantom Fighter is a horizontal side scrolling shooter taking place during World War II. There are eight missions, each featuring a boss fight and seemingly never ending supplies of enemy aircraft, tanks, boats, and turrets. The main twist in gameplay comes in the form of secondary weapons such as missiles, bombs, and downward firing machine guns. That’s pretty standard fare, but these weapons can all be powered up as you progress, meaning you have more firepower the more vigilant you are about getting pick-ups. These items mean the difference between success and failure and create a level of strategy beyond simply trying to dodge enemy fire.
The game is very short, with the total of gameplay lasting no longer than 20 to 30 minutes should you find yourself with enough enemy pattern memorization and keen enough reflexes. Of course, it’s never that easy and you’ll probably wind up playing each level over and over again as you slowly but surely make more and more progress until you finally complete the stage. Unlike the arcade version, you can always start from the last level you unlocked, so some of the repetition is taken away.
Minor changes were made to the game to accommodate touch screen controls. First, you can drag your finger along any section of the screen to control your fighter. There’s a bar to the left of the screen unused to keep your finger away from all the action if you prefer, but any ol’ place works. Second, auto-fire for your machine guns can be toggled on so that you can pay more attention to dodging and destroying instead of tapping buttons. I only wish they’d have had that same option for your secondary weapons. You still have to hold down or tap the screen button non-stop, so the joy of autofire is still bittersweet.
To make the experience deeper than the one you’d normally find in arcades, leaderboards and achievements have been added. For those serious about competition between friends, especially friends into classic gaming like this, this is a great little addition that can keep players returning, even after the short story mode has been completed. There’s also a survival mode that gives you nine lives to see how high of a score you can get.
I really enjoyed my time with P-47, but as I mentioned before, I realize that it’s not an experience fit for everyone. Purely on the grounds of nostalgia, it’s a great experience which is guaranteed to make you feel young. If you’re brave enough and crave a classic arcade experience, then this is a perfect place to start. It’s truly a near perfect port to a platform that wouldn’t normally lend itself to this style of gameplay.