Aug 22 2009

Juno First

zorro @ 1:11 am

I have a confession to make. I’ve only played this game on my arcade machine at home. I never saw this in situ, despite frequenting arcades since this game was released. But it’s great and reminds me why the ‘Play Random Game’ button on my machine is so valuable.

This game is a pure shoot-em-up. Waves of aliens come at you and you have to shoot them down. Very much in the Defender mindset but without the strategic complexities. And let’s face it, sometimes just blasting aliens into smithereens is enough.

The sounds and particle explosions are very similar to William’s Defender also but the vertical orientation and sense of speed make it more than a clone.

There are sixteen waves of aliens, with the major variant between them being the enemy’s colour and aggressiveness. The player can speed up and slow down as well as move side to side, which allows some control over when and how enemies are encountered.

After about 30 seconds, a coloured planet appears and, when shot, releases a humanoid. Grab the humanoid and gain a momentary reprieve as all enemies hold their fire. The screen gains a reddish hue and the player can combo their score as each subsequent alien destroyed is worth double the previous.

Juno First has a ‘hyperspace’ feature like Asteroids. And just like Asteroids, the chances of being killed immediately after reappearing are high. Players receive three hyperspaces per level, non-cumulative.

Konami used this game design nine years later for its Super Nintendo hit, Axelay.

Tips & Tricks: On the first two levels don’t shoot anything, just dodge until the planet appears, get the power-up and lay waste to as much as possible. This can increase scores by 10,000 points putting the player that much closer to an extra life.

Every third or fourth level, enemies appear in formation, concentrate on eliminating the earliest wave as the enemy’s aggressiveness grows the longer they are on-screen.

After the first three levels, enemies began firing homing bullets which can be difficult to avoid. Tracking backwards, letting them mass in front of the ship’s lasers is the best way to deal with them en masse.

Juno First - It all starts off so easy...

Juno First - Powered up!

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