One of AVE's first efforts, and a bit of a harbinger of things to come. One of the more notorious things about AVE games is that they feature outstanding art on the box, label and instruction manual - too bad they didn't have that same artist actually work on the game. Case in point: Double Strike presents itself on the shelf as a cool, fast-action Top Gun-like shooter that no kid should be without, when in reality it's a silly, slow-action Twinbee-like shooter that no kid would be seen near with.

From the moment you turn the NES on, you realize that your good judgement in choosing the game based on its manly box art was sadly misguided - you see this loud title screen with no music. AVE did not do any in-house development, and this game is from the Hong Kong company and part-time porno producer Sachen, which also did games for Color Dreams' Bunch Games label.

The game itself defies description. You drive a little space-shuttle style plane around several scenes (clouds, forest, ocean) that repeat over and over again with simple palette changes marking the rise in difficulty. The levels feature some parallax scrolling, but that's about the only thing that'll catch your eye - what hits you first is the incredible off-kilter calliope music that repeats after about 25 seconds and becomes slightly out of kilter after a while so the drum line disagrees with everything else. Putting it mildly, it doesn't generate the "Red 1! Bogeys at 12 o'clock" mentality of the box art.

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Tank thingies beguile our hero

Then there are the bosses. Oh yes, the bosses. After a while of shooting and gaining powerups your plane suddenly flies off the screen and faces a very large airship, aircraft carrier or whatnot which scrolls slowly on screen. You have to shoot down all the gun turrets on the boss to destroy it; until you do that, though, you fly back and forth across the ship, avoiding all the bullets. I had no idea until I played this game that airplanes can fly back and forth across ships - without having to turn around! It must be the new "bumper car" Harrier jet we're flying. I'm not sure if the game has an end, but I haven't quite been able to get the courage up to see for myself.

Pix: |tsr

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