Chinese legend has it that when the Earth was young there lived a mysterious hermit named Michael Chen. He meditated alone in the mountains of central China for many years, studying the powerful knowledge of the ancients, building his strength and mastery. When he was ready, he mounted a cloud and set out through the skies, hoping to learn the secrets of the five lands and become the Cloud Master, a powerful mystic. But the forces of evil guarded their secret powers jealously, and Chen was soon confronted by legions of enemies.
So begins Sega's new Master System game, Cloud Master. The story line is refreshingly light and original, as are the enemies Chen faces. As the hopeful young hermit soars above the Chinese countryside, he must battle formations of pig heads, shumai (shrimp dumplings), and mushrooms; dodge flying bowls of ramen noodles; and fight such bosses as Lightning Boy and Bad Buddha.
Chen's main weapon is Ki force, little balls he shoots from his fingertips. Occasionally power jars appear, augmenting his force. A few times each round Chen can enter a door, where a girl lets him pick one of four special weapons.
The scenery is colorful and distinctly oriental in style and subject, reminiscent of a classical Chinese painting. The screen scrolls slowly from left to right as Chen soars over each land. His enemies fly or remain on the ground below, most shooting at him, others circling and diving toward him. As a result, the air becomes thick with foes and projectiles, and the main strategy is to dodge and shoot, dodge and shoot.
This pattern changes very little from round to round. In fact, although each round offers some scenery changes and a few new faces, the action remains so constant that it soon becomes tiresome.
The story of Cloud Master is endearing, as are the gentle characters and graphics. But ultimately the repetitive action becomes tedious. Once the charm of the story and graphics wears off, the game play may not be enough to hold your interest. GP
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- Manufacturer: Sega
- Machine: For the Sega Master System
Like many Chinese hermits intent on meditation, Michael Chen lived deep in the mountainous regions of China. There he studied the knowledge of the ancients in order to increase his own powers. His goal: to become a Cloud Master. Unfortunately, the evil forces in China did not want Michael Chen to attain his goal, perhaps because he would become a threat, able to stop their evil deeds, or perhaps just because they were mean (evil people have a tendency toward meanness). They attacked him ruthlessly. But Michael Chen was determined. Standing atop his cloud, he decided to ride through China and smite down all evil beings who would oppose him.
Sega's newest horizontally scrolling shoot-'em-up. Cloud Master, gives you a chance to take on Michael Chen's mission. Using the many weapons at your disposal, you will ride over China's countryside, blasting away such nasty enemies as Kanton Man, Pig Head, Flying Tiger, Panda, Gyoza and many others. Each enemy has his own flight and attack pattern, and it's up to you to learn how best to defeat them.
Several "middle bosses", enemies more difficult to beat than those mentioned above, will attack in an effort to keep you from the big boss. Each time you defeat a middle boss, a question-mark box, which represents a doorway, will appear on the screen. Enter the doorway and you'll be given the choice of a more powerful weapon or defensive ability. Items available include such goodies as three-way guard, which shoots fireballs above, below and behind you; dragon fire, a rotating flame weapon; and various types of bombs, including search bomb, which will drop to the ground and glide forward until it strikes an enemy or obstacle, and scatter bomb, which will break into many deadly fragments when it explodes.
You don't have to rely on the weapon chambers for additional powers. Some enemies when defeated will leave behind one of five different types of power-ups. These include power, which increases the strength of your shots; special, which increases your shot power twice as much as power; fast, which lets you move faster on the screen; auto, which puts your weapon into rapid-fire mode; and extra, which increases your lives by one.
As with most straight shoot-'em-ups, the only strategy in playing this game is to learn the patterns in which the enemies attack. This is imperative so that you can blast the enemies before they fill the air with projectiles. If you allow too many shots to be fired, you'll have a hard time avoiding being hit. However, no matter how good a shot you are, sooner or later the battle will get out of hand. When it does, you'll need good maneuvering skill to avoid the enemies' fire. A sharp eye and quick reflexes will keep you healthy.
Cloud Master's action is fast enough to be satisfying, yet not so red-hot that you'll need to have a cardiologist standing by. The graphics are crisp and interesting. The game play is smooth and quick.
There's only so much to be said about a simple game like Cloud Master. This is a contest for those times when you want to rest the gray gunk between your ears, when you just want to sit back and blast everything that moves. I suppose that's not the most noble way to spend a few hours, but, hey, it sure is a lot of fun.
Number of Levels: 5 Theme: Shooter Difficulty: Average Number of Players: 1 or 2 Available: 1990
Become a Master of the Clouds
Cloud Master is a very cartoony version of numerous side-scrolling shoot-em-ups. It uses lots of pastel colors to create each of the five environments and an odd assortment of enemy characters (ranging from flying cat heads to soup bowls and more) to challenge you throughout.
Riding on a cloud, you control Mike Chen, a powerful wizard who has mastered the mystical art of shooting K1 Force.
Each round is broken up into several parts, with the majority of the battles taking place in front of slow-moving, horizontally-scrolling backgrounds that may remind you slightly of something out of Fantasy Zone. They're not quite as weird, but the colors that are used and bright and vivid.
The graphics in many areas appear washed out, with very little detail in the scrolling backgrounds. The game characters themselves are not the most detailed, either, but there are a lot of opponents filling the screen which translates into plenty of targets to shoot at and avoid.
The basic allotment of weapon power-ups (which increase the intensity of the K1 Force) can be found in open pots and the Boss guardians protect the gates to higher levels of play and even more powerful weapons. If you manage to defeat all five of the world Bosses, you will achieve the rank of Cloud Master!
Cloud Master isn't an overly impressive shooting game. Its cartoon look throws it off and the lack of a real storyline adds to the confusion. As a shooter it's just average, and the difficulty doesn't adjust well between levels. Cloud Master could have used some revisions.
An extremely frustrating and difficult game. Action-filled backgrounds that are highly repetitive make it difficult to stay interested for very long. A dull game that, because of its difficulty, becomes more frustrating than enjoyable.
There's not a lot of substance to this bland shooting game that has few power-up alternatives and not a lot of variety. The Bosses are large and fill the screen, but they're not very interesting and have little to do with the rest of the game. No where nearR-Type or similar shooters.
Cloud Master doesn't have much depth or continuity. You sit on a cloud, avoid obstacles, and shoot at all the targets that come on the screen. Cloud Master is too straightforward for me.
You are the mysterious hermit, Michael Chen. Your years spent deep in the mountains of China have filled you with the knowledge of the ancients. You're well prepared for the treacherous adventure that lies ahead of you.
And what a challenge it is! You've got to battle through five rounds of action in your quest to wipe out the evil powers and become a Cloud Master. You've got four lives to beat your nefarious foes. Earn extra lives by racking up high scores.
Survival depends on your ability to grab the awesome power-up jars you'll earn by destroying formations of Chinese dumplings or Chinese shrimp dumplings. These jars increase your shot power and speed, and even give you a 1-Up occasionally.
Even better than the power-ups are the special weapons you earn by defeating middle bosses and entering the power-up chambers. Here you choose from Three-Way Guards, Four Crescents, Bouncing bombs, Super Bombs, and many more. These weapons, in combination with your powerful wisdom, will help you defeat ail the nefarious villains you encounter. You'll find yourself the Cloud Master in no time at all!