If you've seen the PSP line-up on the PlayStation Store, you'd no doubt have seen quite a few familiar faces and, frankly, who can blame Sony for wanting to cram in as many of the big names as possible to coincide with the launch of its new PSPgo handheld.
That said, you may have noticed a black sheep among the herd - the oddly named Thexder Neo. It's a reworking of an obscure arcade side-scrolling action game that first blasted onto portable TV screens in 1985, see.
The original title was the work of Game Arts but this latest version is developed by Square Enix (a company mostly associated with role playing games and a certain fantasy series, of course). The premise hasn't altered massively, however. Thexder Neo combines a robot (that transforms into a plane) with intense shooting action, and invites you to merrily battle your way through the game's 2D stages, ultimately ending up with a boss battle and most of your screen filled with potential laser death.
This isn't the first time Square has stepped into the arcade shoot-'em-up ring, as demonstrated by Einhander, a title that's often been highly praised since its arrival on PlayStation back in the late '90s.
We have high hopes for Thexder Neo, not least because it comes from a proven, capable home, but also because it looks great and the '80s child in us yearns for another Zero Wing. There are a lot of these arcade side-scroller shooters about, granted, but not all capture the level of fun and frantic button mashing that the old classics can incite.Thexder Neo might not be the title on the PS Store that will receive the most attention, but don't discount it based on its seeming obscurity. It may prove to be a stronger contender than you might think. Besides, what's not to like when it comes to deadly transforming robots?