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Laser Ghost (Sega Master System)

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Laser Ghost was made in 1991 by Sega for the Sega Master System. Although it shares the name with another shooter arcade game made by Sega in 1990 the Master System version is no port but an independent game. Nevertheless the game took some locations and enemies from the arcade game such as the evil cars, the hang man, and the lady in the bed. The arcade game used fixed guns, but that won't stop enthusiasts from using light guns on the arcade emulator MAME. The Master System game plays similar to the games Baby Boomer and Guilermo Tell as its aim is to protect someone who walks across the screen.

The story is about a ghost city which appears periodically every 13 years. The creatures from there steal the souls of the town's people. One victim is the little girl Katherine who was locked up in the basement of a demon manner after her soul was taken. The player frees her and guides her to the ghost city hotel where her soul is held.

The player uses a semi automatic weapon with infinite capacity and infinite ammunition. The player is supposed to hold the light gun in one hand and the controller in the other. With the two action buttons screen clearing shots can be released. The ammunition of this special weapon is limited though and can be collected in form of ā€œSā€ icons. These and other items can be found when shooting certain objects such as walls, windows and tombstones.

The game features 7 levels: In the basement of demon manner bats and haunted armors are fought. In the manner itself haunted pictures and furniture attack Katherine. The third level takes place in the woods and is concluded in a boss fight against zombies. The next level is basically more of the same but starts at a swamp and ends with a different boss encounter. In the fifth level Katerine walks through the streets of ghost city and cars are fought. After that the biggest level follows which is located in the Hotel where Katherine's soul is kept. The last level is a boss fight against faces and an invulnerable creature.

Three continues are available if Katherine dies. She is respawned at the beginning of the last level section of the current level with the special shots being restocked to three.

The trick to beat the game is memorization. The faces in the final battle appear always in the same pattern. The lady in the bed won't be triggered if the player manages to hit all the faces. They will start appearing from the top left corner. Possibly the amount of damage the creature in the bed deals to Katherine correlates with the amount of hit faces. If the player fails the creature chases Katherine. The player has another chance with the next face pattern if Katherine survived the attack.

Personally I really like the game. I found the presentation to be very well made with amazing graphics, detailed, complex animations and a great sound track which fits the horror theme well. In my opinion the difficulty is adequate considering the short length of the game. What I didn't like was that enemies approach Katherine quite fast, giving the player just very little time to react. I ended up memorizing the enemy patterns and spreading curtain fire to the relevant areas at the relevant moments.

The cover is interesting and nice in its own right, but the art style matches the game very poorly. Nevertheless the content of the picture represents the game very well.