Archer MacLean‘s classic side-scrolling shooter, Dropzone, was converted to the NES/Famicom by Eurocom Developments and it is an excellent adaptation of this fast-moving Defender derivative.
Just like the original: the aim of the game is to blast your way through waves of attacking aliens while at the same time rescuing scientists from the surface of Jupiter’s moon, Io.
As you fly around on your jet pack you can pick up the scientists and return them to safety at the base’s Dropzone. Alien attackers can also pick up the scientists and carry them away, in which case you need to quickly shoot the aliens and catch the falling scientists. If an alien succeeds in carrying a scientist away it will mutate into a more dangerous form – just like in Defender.
The player has a limited supply of cloaks that prevent collisions for a short period of time, and ‘smartbombs’ that will clear a screen of all enemies. A bonus is awarded after each completed wave, based on the number of scientists rescued.
At the end of each game a rank is awarded to the player based on their performance. There are eleven ranks in total and 99 levels of gameplay.
Just like the original Dropzone, this NES conversion is extremely challenging, and getting anywhere – other than being told by the game that “practise is recommended” – is quite a task. Once you get used to the fast-paced gameplay and the game’s feel and mechanics, Dropzone proves to be an absorbing and highly-challenging shoot ’em up.
Dropzone for the NES was first published by Mindscape in 1992.
More: Dropzone on Wikipedia