"Slap Fight", an Ocean arcade conversion, is a game that I've had a long held fondess for - and on reflection, I realize it's only because I knew about a cheat mode. It's a little hard to pull off on the C64 version, but on the arcade version, if you start your first life without firing a single shot, your next life will have all the powerups instantly. Powerups? Well, it's a somewhat similar system to "Nemesis"/"Gradius" et al - you shoot stuff, pick up stars that some of them leave behind, and the more stars you have, the cooler shit you can get. The ship can be expanded with wings, that make it (a) fire more shots and (b) a bigger target, you can get speed increases, homing missiles, an incredibly short range (and hence virtually useless) bomb power up, and at the expensive end of the spectrum, a temporary invulnerability shield.

The difficulty level on "Slap Fight" is rather high - it's far more rewarding if you like memorizing patterns, as trying to play it reactively (ie the way most people play video games) will get you killed quick. There's plenty of cheap deaths, too - ships repeatedly coming from the same area and shooting at you immediately, even when they're practically off the screen behind you - hence the importance of memorizing patterns. Unfortunately for me, I can't stand that kind of crap - it's what put me off another hallowed Commodore 64 shooter, "Delta". I'd rather have a 'twitch' shooter where you at least feel it's possible to make headway purely by the seat of your pants. I've hereby decided that I don't love "Slap Fight" as much as I used to, and I swear to officially and sincerely not care that I don't own the Japanese MegaDrive release of it (which is rather expensive to acquire nowadays, to say the least) and probably never will.

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