It's a tough life in 2012, not only is there constant interplanetary war, but those small plastic things you put under plant pots cost £1,000,000,000 each and there are 192 television channels, all showing nothing but The Price is Right.
However, it's the interplanetary war which mainly concerns us in Last Duel, as you might expect. And what a stonking interplanetary war it is , full of biffs, bangs and explosions which you should thoroughly enjoy contributing to.
Suspend your shock and disbelief when you see the first section, which is utterly, utterly similar to LED Storm (also reviewed this issue). What can US Gold be doing, releasing two such similar games? Probably hoping to make twice as much dosh, tee hee. Anyway, Last Duel has a lot more to it than LED Storm, which is largely racing and dodging. Last Duel has loads of SHOOTING! Great!
A third of the screen is taken up with the score and energy displays, while the remainder shows the battlefield which scrolls fairly smoothly (though things get a bit jerky where there are a lot of moving objects on the screen.)
The first level is a motorway over which your heavily armed skimmer, er, skims. Roadside emplacements bombard you, saucers try to shove you off the road, and huge pits threaten to plummet you to you doom. However, a smart zap of the laser trigger or a death-defying leap into the air, and you can actually complete this phase in about thirty seconds - not counting the time needed to destroy the three wiggling, energy-breathing mechadragons at the end.
Phase two is a bit of a surprise; rather than more of the same, you switch to a spaceship making its way through intergalactic space caverns (huh?) Here, huge shooty-tubes fire bouncing rays of energy at you, while giant flying monsters periodically descend from the skies, and insist on being blasted to pieces before they let you go on.
At the same time, power capsules float down the screen. Pick them up, and you can double or triple your fire-power, restore your energy and add exploding missiles.
So what the verdict, Eugene? Last Duel is smoothly programmed, nicely designed and fast-moving. It hasn't a jot of originality, but it's a meat and drink to shoot-'em-up fans. You probably won't want both LED Storm and Last Duel, though take my advice and plump for Last Duel.
Label: US Gold
Reviewer: Chris Jenkins
Capcom coin-op conversion creates crucial critical congratulations.