Air Fortress

a game by HAL Laboratory
Genre: Platformer
Platform: NESNES
Editor Rating: 4.5/10, based on 5 reviews
User Rating: 4.0/10 - 1 vote
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See also: Air Games
Air Fortress
Air Fortress
Air Fortress
Air Fortress

HAL America has previously paved the way for their success by bringing a series of arcade hits to the NES: Defender II, Millepede and Joust. Now they are showing their talents for new-game development with four games slated for 1989 release. Among them, Air Fortress is certainly the strongest entry.

Air Fortress has the distinction of being like two games in one. The first segment is a standard left-to-right-scrolling, space shoot-'em-up--much like Xevious turned sideways--where you collect bombs and energy while avoiding the many hostile alien craft careening your way. Aside from the constant barrage, you also have to wind your path through various space installations that are hazardous to your safety.

This tough initiation only leads you to the second--and harder-level. Landing your ship at the enemy's air fortress (thus, the name), you'll take to the air in your jet-powered spacesuit in search of the fortress' power supply. Armed with the supplies you gathered at the start, you must defeat the maze of passages, creatures, vacuum tubes and elevators. Even when you blast out the power supply you still have to get to your exit shuttle before the entire fortress explodes, taking you with it.

Don't think your mission is over after you successfully destroy a fortress, because there are eight different air fortresses to take on. And as you go through the game, the puzzles become much harder, with more reliance on mapping the myriad of corridors to your exit. Some tunnels loop back to previously traveled locations, and others simply dead-end. There's no time for guesswork when you are scrambling to get out.

The mixing of arcade and adventuring aspects is becoming quite popular in the video-game world, as seen with the success of games like Blaster Master, Wizards & Warriors and the Zelda series. Air Fortress is designed in the same mold, offering a great deal of originality, something that is missing in many cartridge releases. What makes Air Fortress more enjoyable are the little nuances that the programmers have sprinkled throughout the game. For example, your spaceman character recoils when he shoots his blaster, which not only is more realistic but makes his movements that much harder to control as well. Also, after the power supply has been destroyed, the impending explosion is prefaced first by shaking, and later by the lights blinking. This adds to the excitement and anxiety of having to find your exit pod before you meet your doom.

Sure, like many video games these days, the music is a bit bland and quite repetitious, and the overall design could have used more color. But I've always thought that the game play is the key to a successful game, and Air Fortress has that. I look forward to seeing more of HAL America's creations in months to come.

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NES Download

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
  • P-200, 32 MB RAM

Game Reviews

  • Manufacturer: Nintendo

Our shoot-em-up with a difference! While battling your way through enemy defense forces, you must pick up the energy and weaponry items you'll need for the coming challenge. Then into the body of the Air Fortress itself, where you must find your way through the mazes to the reactor, then plot your escape before the energy supply is depleted. The perfect combination of high-energy arcade action and brain-teasing problem solving.

  • Machine: Nintendo Entertainment System

A Great Adventure Game

Stand by for launch. Your mission is to save the planet Farmel from the evil Air Fortress. And you're in for a hot time. You have to fly between defense structures, fight off defense forces, pick up bombs and energy cells to help you - and that's before you go in! Can you knock out the central nuclear power source of each complex before you run out of energy? Great! But the game's not over yet. Get ready as the fortress generates its second set of eight, tougher defense complexes. You'll use all your skill before you save the planet Farmel in Air Fortress from HAL America.

  • Manufacturer: HAL America Inc.;
  • Machine: Nintendo

A Great Adventure Game: Stand by for launch. Your mission is to save the planet Farmel from the evil Air Fortress. And you're in for a hot time. You have to fly between defense structures, fight off defense forces, pick up bombs and energy cells to help you - and that's before you go in! Can you knock out the central nuclear power source of each complex before you run out of energy? Great! But the game's not over yet. Get ready as the fortress generates its second set of eight, tougher defense complexes. You'll use all your skill before you save the planet Farmel in Air Fortress from HAL America.

A Great Adventure Game: Stand by for launch. Your mission is to save the planet Farmel from the evil Air Fortress. And you're in for a hot time. You have to fly between defense structures, fight off defense forces, pick up bombs and energy cells to help you -- and that's before you go in! Can you knock out the central nuclear power source of each complex before you run out of energy? Great! Bui the game's not over yet. Get ready as the fortress generates its second set of eight, tougher defense complexes. You'll use all your skill before you save the planet Farmel in Air Fortress.

Snapshots and Media

NES/Famicom/Dendy Screenshots

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