Part 1: Time to Reck some aliens.
I'm going to write out the introduction text because it scrolls too fast to take decent screenshots of.
"My name is Ian Recker. In another life back on Earth, i was a fighter pilot. Someone must've figured I was pretty good at it. They gave me a squadron of star Jockeys codenamed Sigma Team. We were the first ones into the Krill battles, but I was the only one who made it out alive.
The Krill found Earth sixty years ago, a humbling day for humanity. Their starships swarmed over the Atlantic. Gouged out a hunk of ocean floor the size of Canada. The sea boiled for three years, turning the sea life into gumbo. Melted ice caps and exposed mantle sludged into the hole like a wet rag. Good time to be a mapmaker.
From out scorthed Earth and worldwide hysteria, the Allied Earth Federation was born. Over the past fifty years they've built up Earth's defensive lines and cracked the Krill language. We've come to understand their words, customs, even their technology. When those devils come back for seconds, Earth would be ready."
That second paragraph pretty much sets up Recker's personality. He's a no shit type of guy, says it like it is.
VIDEO: Introductory Battle (Youtube)
Clever going Namco.
As I'll ever be.
So the game starts you off with a bang by blowing up Namco and sending you straight into your first space battle. Controlling the ship is simple enough. A is shoot, B is accelerate (never let go essentially), L does nothing currently, and R switches between A and B modes. Our current ship can switch between its gun (A) and dropping bombs (B).
It also showcases various types of ships the Krill use. Respectively, average class, bomber, heavy fighter, walking mech, and agile fighter. We'll be flying similar types of ships throughout the game. You can also see me in bombing mode (B) in the shot with the mechs.
I'm sure this thing in the background is of no consequence. It launches ships from the background to attack you.
After staving off a few ships, we fly up above the clouds.
Remember how I said that 99% of the plot takes place in the top-down mode? Well this is part of that 1%. On VERY rare occasions, dialogue will occur mid-flight.
Also, hooray, we get wingmen!
Well that lasted all of two seconds. Also, another ship type. This one is like a mobile ship launch. When it takes enough damage, it launches the ship inside.
This gigantic thing appears from the top of the screen firing huge death lasers. So in valiant sacrifice, the last of our team members suicides into it, causing it to explode. Apparently the lasers are a vital point. (It's exploding in the last image, it's just hard to see as the explosion graphics are surprisingly small.)
The destruction of that huge thing sends us back down beneath the clouds where we encounter that thing that surely was of no consequence.
First boss battle go!
To beat it you have to shoot the three bullet shooters on top and the three eye things. Also man, those bullet shooter lagged up VBA something fierce. I fear later parts in the game in terms of bullets causing slowdown if it's this bad to begin with.
Alright, we beat the opening mission and stopped the Krill attack! Time to zoom off and celebrate! What? Our dead team members? We'll remember them fondly over celebratory toasts and dancing!
Recker returns from his ship ready to booze it up with the ladi--
: Stay suited up, Commander wants you straight away.
Well, as long as it's not too long. Recker likes his booze and ladies.
So here's the top down mode. Controls are again pretty easy. A button to interact with stuff currently and that's about it. More controls will become available soon.
Really? Sounds pretty cool.
Here's the Status Screen. The map shows the general layout of our location. Our level goes up the more EXP we find. NEXT tells us how much more EXP we need. EXP and NEXT are always shown on the HUD in both top-down and battle modes for convenince. ATK and DEF are Attack and Defense respectively. More attack means, well, more attack power. And defense means... aw hell I don't need to explain these. TIME is playtime. The inventory will fill up over time and you can scroll through it with L and R. Later, the Status Screen will become even more essential, as it will contain our Gun Data on a separate page, accessed by pressing B.
So at this point you're supposed to visit the commander. So instead I ran around and talked to all the soldiers I could find. Some had interesting things to say.
Now this man is ready to party!
: I'd call someone but the lines are all tied up!
: You'd better call your mom, I think i dropped one right over her neighborhood.
: Kidding. Relax.
Aw man Recker you nearly scared the poor guy shitless. Leave the mothers out of this you meanie.
A bit of foreshadowing if you couldn't tell from the CAPITALIZED TEXT. Basically, bombs will become available and can be used with L during a battle. They destroy all enemies on screen and look like Power Bombs from Super Metroid. These aren't to be confused with the bombs I was dropping on the mechs earlier.
: to make better ships and weapons!
: You want to thank me? Name your next fighter after Sigma Team!
: Or after you. The Recker 3000! Ha Ha Ha!
: I never liked you much.
Recker makes me laugh.
: I'm takin' clean up detail tonight. I'm gonna search every cockpit till I find me a dead alien! Krill-skin boots are in, sucka! Bam!
: Uh, yeah. High five.
I would probably react the same way. That guy's a little TOO excited.
Well I've spent enough time bumbling around, better go see what the Commander wants.
: At ease Recker. You know I like to keep things informal.
: Yes sir.
: Let me be the first to congratulate you on a job well done. Those Krill monster'll think twice after today.
: Thank you sir. But we lost good men. Some were old friends.
: I realize that, pilot. And that's why I'd like to offer you a chance to hit the Krill where it really hurts. But don't be hasty. You'll want to think this one through. The AEF has taken extensive measures to conceal what I'm about to tell you.
: It won't leave this room sir.
So this means that we're going to jump into the opportunity, no second thoughts at all. Got it.
: You're probably aware of the men we've lost gathering intel in Krill space.
: Yes. Fifty men presumably captured or executed.
: What you don't know is that many of these men are alive, and now serve the Krill. The Krill use them in various low-risk capacities that profit from military training...to the Krill, their knowledge of Earth and the surrounding planets is invaluable. An opportunity exists that I want you to exploit.
: And that is?
: Enlist into the Krill armada.
: Become the enemy? Why?
: We've engineering a scenario involving a Delta Class Krill Starbase. We can get you in. Once there, serve the Krill with diligence. Seek promotion through their ranks. Once you gather the intel we need, we'll extricate you immediately.
: What exactly am I looking for?
: Complete specs on the Krill's new super weapon. Details about it are sketchy at best, but we believe it's a planet killer. We need you to find out what it is before it's too late.
: Then I have no choice.
: The clock is ticking. You're the only one I can trust with this mission. You need to decide how far you're willing to go for your planet.
Well if there are alien ladies...
: All the way, sir, straight to the devil's door.
That works too I guess.
: Good man. Get onto their Starbase, gain their confidence at the highest levels possible, and transmit any information you can about that weapon.
: Better crack this open now. No telling what those devils drink, or if they even have bathrooms.
Pre-gaming sounds like a great idea before a covert-op.
: It's already begun.
: What's... What...did...You...Do...?
: It had to be a lethal dose. Go out proud, son, like your friends. Make the ultimate sacrifice.
Well damn, poisoned before he could get to the afterparty.
Join me next time in Chapter 1 as we get acquainted with our new Krill friends.