Macross II - Banpresto

Macross II

Reviewed by Roger Post.

Boy, they sure did a lot of Macross games. I’ve lost track of the total number, and if there were more shmups or simulations. But no other shoot em up Macross game comes close to M2 in originality. I’ve never seen a game quite like this one, in fact its a rarity. I’ll explain what makes M2 so unique in a second or two, but let me first say that I have a love/hate relationship with this game. The special setup that Banpresto used makes this one challenging shooter, forcing the gamer to change playing style and even the goal of the shooter (like a manic shmup). Quality is very high for this game, in graphics and presentation, but I wrestle with the scoring system each time I play.

What is he talking about, you might ask? Well, Macross II is entirely based on score. You must reach a target score to move on to the next level. You could beat the boss, and still be denied access to the rest of the game. THAT takes a lot of getting used to. I mean, you don’t even have a limited number of ships! You could die 100 times and only lose some precious seconds off the clock. The levels are also timed, which is frustrating, because again, you could survive the entire time but not have enough points to continue. All enemies leave bonus medallions behind, but they disappear quickly. What you need to do is aim for special bonuses, like destroying all of a certain enemy for a quick 20,000 points, or hidden MinMei dolls for a quick 5,000 points. If you do beat the boss of a level, and have time left over, your ship is invincible, and enemy waves continue, so this also is a good way to rack digits.

Your ship has two modes, fighter and gerwalk. Fighter is quicker and more powerful, but the gerwalk has a spread shot, which is extremely helpful. You also have secondary missiles, regular or homing. Powerups switch from “F” to “G” for the ship, and “M” to “H” for missiles, and collecting several of the same letter in a row increases the point value. And these powerup icons don’t leave the screen if you miss them, they float back toward the player, which is a cool feature. Special bombs are in the form of those crazy zillions of missiles that Macross ships fire off, and do some major damage.

M2 has other cool features, such as choosing the path the player takes. Beginner, Medium, and Expert all offer three levels, then each path ends with the same final section. There are also great 2 player options, where you can play cooperatively or against each other, trying to outscore the opponent. What all this boils down to is a great game that stands out among other shooters. I think to myself the same thing as with the Kingdom Grandprix series: I’d love to play the game without the score element, because it’s a quality stand alone shooter. But then again, the score factor is what makes it different, so hold on to it. Like I said, love/hate relationship.

Here you set up vs or cooperative play. I don’t remember these characters, or maybe I just haven’t seen that series yet... Macross confuses me a bit.

[I haven't seen Macross II personally, but they might come from there. It's a different plot to that of the original Macross series - Akira]

Now select your path. Definitely take beginner until you know what you doing (sorry..too much Zero Wing there...)

[Move Zig. I couldn't resist myself, it's been a long time :D - Akira]

This is the only cake clear score there will be in this game, so enjoy it. 150,000 sounds like a lot, but it goes fast.

The first boss is nice enough to drop some powerups your way, great for points. Remember, even if you beat him, you must make the score quota.

A cool win screen... check out the detail on the graphics.

[Nice indedy! - Akira]

Which is more important: dodging asteroids or collecting powerups? M2 throws you a lot of special parts, like here, or shooting down entire pillars for mega points.

I recommend saving the bombs for the final level, dieing doesn’t give you a restock.

Is he filming a movie? Is that how they make anime?

The end of level three is a huge battleship (yes!) and if I clear this level, I just about scrape by pointwise.

The hidden last level that’s just about impossible to beat...

This level’s got KILLER graphics. There’s a lot going on in the background, so it’s hard to concentrate.


There’s still some graphical glitches in M2, but this is a pretty accurate depiction of the final boss.

When you die (when, not IF...) you see his ugly mug.

Intermediate level one gets you headin’ on the highway.

Int. boss one is standard Macross fare with a few gun adjustments. You really need to understand how to gather up points for these levels.

[hey, it looks a lot like the first boss on Beginner level - Akira]

WHAT’S THIS!!! Another game with Moai heads? Gradius is gonna throw a fit.

[Shoot the core!!!!! - Akira]

Boss 2 is a little more mech looking... he’s pretty easy, all he does is throw a chain weapon at you. Since I got the score rank, it doesn’t matter much anyway! I could die all day at him if I wanted!

[Yet another sexy looking anime extravaganza, for your eyes only - Akira]

Int. level 3 with more flying battleships. When is our army gonna build planes that transform into robots? The U.S. army would rock!

[I think there are some transformer troops already... but they only transform at night, and into women :P - Akira]

The first level on difficult mode. Lots of hidden medals along these walls.

Bosses get a little more active. I wish score would accumulate, but as you can see, you need the target amount on the stage you are currently on.

Diff. level 2 is a speed corridor.

Yep, this is as far as I go. I HATE shooters that I just can’t finish... annoying little thorns in my side, they are.


I actually am one of the few who likes the racing elements in Shippu Mahou Daisakusen (did anybody try the no-racing code on the Saturn version?), it makes it such a different shmup. Score-based games get quite frantic. Specially if you play against a friend, you'd end up with Bubble-Bobble syndrome (eating up all the bonuses so the other doesnt get squat). I might like this one. Besides, It's got MinMei in it... What do you mean she's not there? Ah, Macross II... Then this game sucks! :D

- Akira


shmups!   © 1997 - 2007  Malcolm Laurie