Thursday, February 25, 2021

Matter of Import 41: Sky Chuter [Irem 1980]


Sky Chuter is a 1980 fixed-screen shooter from Irem. The player, as a gun on the bottom of the screen, can scroll left and right while firing up at waves of aircraft flying by overhead. When a plane manages to cross, it reappears on another lower level of the screen to continue its journey.

 You face three types of enemy craft in Sky Chuter – red biplanes, yellow Fighters, and green bombers. The first two – red and yellow – are smaller craft that drop fast moving glowing missiles towards you. These missiles can be blown out of the air if you're good enough.

The green bombers, though, drop the parachute bombs that Sky Chuter draws its name from. These drift slow until they get low enough, then drop – not to explode, but to sit there like mines and constrict your playfield.

While Sky Chuter does have some technical improvements over Balloon Bomber, the last game we played – the sprites are colored rather than monochrome with a fixed screen overlay – the pacing is far slower. You, your canon, your shots, the enemies – everything moves at a glacial pace... and in fact, the game's challenge primarily comes from the slow speed of your canon's single shot. Miss, and you'll have to wait a while for it to exit the screen.

Unfortunately this means that it isn't any fun to play, and while the sprites are colored, they are simple and un-inspiring. I give Sky Chuter a D ranking.


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