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M.U.S.H.A.

Genre: Shmup Developer: Compile Publisher: Seismic Players: 1 Released: 1990

If you owned a Genesis and never had the opportunity to play this title, man, did you really miss the boat. M.U.S.H.A (Metallic Uniframe Super Hybrid Armor) has got to be one of the all time best shooters ever released on the Genesis platform and did it ever rule! Fantastic gameplay and completely engrossing levels of enormous intensity was what this shooter was all about. Outstanding graphics, a fantastic array of sound effects and blazing hard core music themes flourished throughout this entire game made by Toaplan. My only major complaint: I wish there were more intense games around like this one, especially nowadays.

M.U.S.H.A. has to be one of the most intense shooters ever to be released on the Sega Genesis system. Unfortunately for us, with the demise of publisher Seismic, we saw no other titles from them that could have helped them out (it was their last game ported over from Japan before the company went belly-up.) Compile on the other hand, continued to flourish by developing more games like this one in Japan (the series known as Aleste) and some others. We are lucky as hell to get this one though, as this is probably one of the greatest top-view scrollers for Sega’s 16-bit monster.

It has a cool story and different endings too, depending on what difficulty the game was set on. The higher the setting, the more of an ending you got. Including seven levels of mind-boggling enemies and bosses, the graphics blew away everyone when it released with its great effects and excellent parallax scrolling, along with several weapons to get and a rockin’ soundtrack that was extremely hard core (which you could listen to in the sound test too!) Segaxtreme has it for download and I highly recommend you check it out. They just don’t make ’em like they used to (sigh).

Let me say a bit more about the graphics. The level of parallax used here is insane. Stage three, for example, shows off the power of the Genesis by starting out with a plain metal floor. As you fly, however, the floor falls away piece by piece to reveal a deep cavern that has at least six levels of multi-scrolling sides. It was incredible at the time and it still impresses me to this day. The lightning effects in stage four and the ten screen-long battleship (you heard me) from stage six are truly sights to behold.

The weapon system in M.U.S.H.A. is great. You can power up your main gun by collecting power chips that fall from a carrier which periodically appears onscreen. Once you have enough, they can be configured to fire in one of six directions (forward, three-way, back, reverse, roll, and free). Additionally, there are also three special weapons to collect: red, blue and green. Red gives you a bomb spread that annihilates everything in front of you, green releases twin laser blasts of awesome strength, and blue provides a shield which protects your ship from enemy shots and collisions. All weapons can be maxed out in four levels and the twin system (regular and special shots) make for some tremendous firepower.

M.U.S.H.A. is a pretty old game now and is very rare and hard to find. Be sure to look everywhere for a copy, especially if you love shooters. It’s a must own title and it is mandatory to include this in your library! Don’t except any substitutes and don’t let anyone bar your path to obtain this title. Buy as soon as you find it somewhere.

Originally printed at Starbase299.

SCORE: 10 out of 10

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1 Comment

  1. GenesisShmupFan says:

    I’d actually give this game an 8.5 out of 10 for these main reasons, and none of them are graphics or sound issues:

    * The game is too forgiving: Loss of a special and then picking up another one isn’t the issue, and I actually think that’s fair for the later stages. It’s that any pods that do not collide with a wall or other scrolling object can take between 2 to 11 shots.

    * Play balance: very easily beaten on Easy and Normal without even changing speeds, but then on Hard the enemy cruise missiles are almost way too fast even at higher speeds (and max at speed has the pods way too far behind).

    * Predictable bosses: several of them that do not fire cruise missiles are simple left right sweeps with very little vertical movement even on Hard. One of the midbosses can even be beaten by a single pod in the Free formation.

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