|Posted by Rob Maerz on February 1, 2014 at 12:35 AM|
Gulkave is a 1986 Sega horizontal space shooter ported from the SG-1000 by Eduardo Mello and released by Team Pixelboy. This game is another example of “what could have been” had Coleco not snubbed the ColecoVision in favor of the disastrous ADAM.
In a nutshell, you pilot a spaceship called the Zaiigar that shoots anything that moves. Your adversary is the Gulbas Empire who throw everything but the kitchen sink to see you destroyed. Your goal is to destroy the eight fortresses of the Gulbas Empire. Pretty easy, right?
Wrong! This game is tougher than tough. There are no cookie levels in this game – it’s an onslaught from the onset.
Your Zaiigar ship is protected (temporarily) by a shield barrier that loses energy with every hit you take. When you run out of energy on your shield barrier, the next hit you take means you lose a ship.
There are thirty levels known as “acts.” When you complete an act, you earn bonus points for any energy remaining on your shield barrier and you move onto the next act. The eight Gulbas fortresses that you are to destroy are located at the end of acts 2, 6, 10, 14, 18, 22, 26 and 30.
Along the way you can receive power-ups for weaponry upgrades, and of course, you lose the additional fire power once you lose a life. Some of the weaponry is pretty awesome like the “Screen Eraser Blaster” that shoots five beams so you can give the Gulbas thugs some payback.
The cartridge features a high score table, a game demo screen and (thankfully) the ability to continue the game. Music plays throughout which is typical for this genre of games of the mid-1980s.
The graphics are superb and if you didn’t know it you’d swear that this wasn’t a ColecoVision title. On the first act your ship is flying over nicely rendered ice capped mountains with a sparkling star field in the background.
The level of difficulty has its positives and negatives. The positive is that it can entice you to explore the game further by using the continue feature (if needed). The negative is that there are players that would have preferred, at a minimum, two difficulty levels (e.g. Novice and Standard) for the purpose of practicing and discovery of the game at higher levels without having to use a continue.
Players that seek a challenge of this magnitude in the genre of horizontal shooters will enjoy this game. It’s a hit or miss for players that don’t.