Released: September 5th, 2001
Zero Gunner 2 offers twitch arcade shooting action at its finest. Just about every shooter throws in a twist to the standard formula. With Zero Gunner 2 Psikyo (Gunbird, Strikers 1945) has us pilot a helicopter that can rotate a full 360 degrees by pressing an anchor button. This great mechanic makes Zero Gunner 2 a completely fresh and welcome dodge ‘n’ shoot experience.
Each of the 7 short but sweet levels has you gunning down planes, trains, boats, turrets and monstrous mechs over mountains, oceans, clouds and cities. Frantically dodging enemy fire, rotating your ‘copter, and blasting foes out of the sky in all directions is just plain fun. Doing so gives satisfying (but not overwhelming) rumble feedback and litters the screen with powerups which can be sucked up like a vacuum if you refrain from firing for a moment. The levels are varied and the waves of enemy attacks never feel recycled. Bullets are easily distinguishable so you won’t experience any cheap deaths. Boss battles are just the right length and frequency.
The graphics are smooth, colorful and vibrant, just what you would expect from a polished arcade shooter. I don’t recall any slowdown. This game gives me that arcade-cabinet-at-home-feel as well as any other in my collection.
The difficulty is completely scalable, and unlike some shooters (I’m looking at you Mars Matrix) the easiest difficulty is actually easy. All skill-levels will find a home here.
Replay value is higher than your average shooter. You can pilot one of three types of helicopters, each with very different primary and super weapons. Playing through the game with each offers a fairly different experience. Also, the first four levels are tackled in random order, which creates additional level-difficulty combinations.
The only downer in this game is the music. The quality of the techno ranges from “just there” to cheesy/stupid. It’s fast paced so it adds the necessary sense of urgency, but other than that it doesn’t enhance the game a whole lot. Had there been a few memorable numbers such as the opening tracks of Hellfire or Trizeal, or the boss theme of Life Force, then this would have been the perfect shooter.