Arcade space shooters were rather popular in the '80s. The hard-as-nails bullet-hell action of games like Defender coaxed endless arcade-goers into spending a large fortune in an effort to climb leaderboards and beat friends.
Nowadays, big explosions, huge boss battles, and procedural generation are required to keep things fresh. SNK has re-released its classic The Next Space for PSP and PS Vita, showing just how far the genre has come.No one can hear you scream
As with pretty much every shmup from that era, you play as a ship blasting through space, taking out enemy ships and generally trying not to get hit by anything.
When you kill an enemy it may drop a power-up, which provides you with a secondary weapon. Power-ups come in types A-H, and shooting a power-up will make it advance a letter, so you can choose which one you want to grab.
Experimenting with power-ups is necessary, as some are feeble while others feel rather overpowered. The power-ups are pretty fleeting anyway, since you lose whatever you're holding if you die.
Given that one hit is enough to kill you, you'll end up grabbing whatever power-up you can find - especially when coming up some of the bigger boss enemies.Next!
The problem with The Next Space is that it doesn't really set itself apart from other shmups of the '80s.
Everything - from the backdrops to the enemies and the bullet patterns - is bog-standard shmup material, and nothing particularly exciting occurs at any point.
It's all very slow-moving and not very fun at all. You're also given as many credits as you want, so the game completely lacks a sense of jeopardy.
Add to this the lag that occurs during level transitions thanks to a bad port job and The Next Space isn't really worth bothering with.