Holding down the button initiates rapid-fire but the animation is jerky. Since it's impossible to aim with precision you just tend to shoot in a general area and hope for the best. Stage two features large birds that swoop down at you. You'll net between 100 and 400 points for each, but it's not clear how these numbers are being computed.
Stage three features a joke of a mother ship that's a cinch to destroy. The final stage tries to be somewhat original but it's a disaster. This screen displays a pyramid-shaped galactic obstacle course that you must slowly navigate. The controls are so touchy that if you do more than tap the stick you'll veer out of control and crash. I like variety as much as the next guy but Pleiades feels like four mediocre ingredients rolled up into one unappetizing electronic burrito. © Copyright 2016 The Video Game Critic.
Each begins on opposite corners of an open battlefield with dots strewn in a diamond pattern. I don't really care for that configuration because it's hard to collect several in a row. Apparently these dots are missiles, because with each one you pick up adds to your stockpile counter.
In the single-player mode the CPU is just causing trouble for the sake of being a complete jerk. Not only will he try to shoot you, but he'll convert dots into mines by passing over them. They convert back however when your shots pass through them. It's satisfying to fire upon a row of mines, neutralizing them just before sucking them up.
If you manage to clear the screen, hold onto your hat because for the next round you're dealing with two enemy tanks. Upon clearing that, do you think you'd get three? No, but nice try. Game variations allow you to divide up the field into sections with walls, but I don't think that adds much.
Things get weird when you try to play with two players. Player two is basically playing the CPU role. This means one player is basically on offense and the other on defense, yet both scoring in different ways. I found it hard to wrap my head around this concept but my friends appreciated the game's asymmetric quality, giving it a thumbs-up. I can't think of anything else quite like R2D Tank, so I guess that's something. © Copyright 2023 The Video Game Critic.
You can fire huge red balls, but they take forever to cross the screen, and for some reason you begin each screen by firing upwards for no good reason! The robots are shaped exactly like the ones from Berzerk, right down to that single eye moving side-to-side. You can almost picture one of them saying "Shoot him - he's very slowly getting away!!" Only one robot can move one at a time, and they move at a snail's pace.
Robots can also fire, but their slow projectiles only present a danger at point-blank range. Should you linger in any room for too long, a small bouncing head appears in the center of the screen. Considering he's meant to chase you out, his pace is entirely too leisurely! Robot Killer isn't very challenging, and your hands will start cramping up long the game ends. I tried to increase the difficulty by adjusting the options, but each variation was equally slow and laborious. © Copyright 2008 The Video Game Critic.
Each block contains openings that let you enter a unique maze. You can tell which blocks have loot, and the idea to snag all the money symbols to clear the level. Your car handles well and you can even reverse direction. The cops never rest, and when they're approaching your maze you can see them driving along the border (even over your score!). This adds excitement and forces you to think ahead.
There are times when it looks like you're hopelessly trapped in the grid view, but if you duck into one of the mazes you can draw the cops in and perform some evasive maneuvering. Route 16 also contains mystery icons that cycle between cash (good), oil (slows you down), and a skull (instant death). Clearing the entire level becomes an obsession, and subsequent levels feature more aggressive cops and rearranged icons.
My only real complaint is the whiny "siren" effects that play when you're on the grid view. One reader compared the sound to a broken smoke alarm, and that's pretty accurate. Otherwise, Route 16 is hard to fault. It's a shame more people don't know about this exciting and refreshingly original maze chase title. © Copyright 2013 The Video Game Critic.