Project X held all the esteem of a classic shoot-em-up and came with high expectations at the time, since it was the latest product from Team 17, promising to bring great music, graphics and gameplay.
Indeed, Project X did deliver on the graphics – it still looks lovely today – and the two intro tunes are good, although there’s no in-game music, which is a shame, aside from a minimal bit of percussion when you meet the end of level guardians. On the other hand, the sound effects are good; clear and thunderously explosive.
But, with Project X, it was all about the gameplay… or lack of. At the time, fans were so frustrated by the game’s impossible difficulty level, that Team 17 eventually released an ‘easier’ version (whereby you can at least make it to level two on a good day). Playing the game today, it is just as frustrating and I have little patience to persist with it – which is a shame, because it’s so nice to look at.
The more weaponry you arm your ship with, the greater the inertia – a nice, if realistic touch, but it is ultimately thing that ruins the entire game. Build up your shop with full power standard guns and side-shots, and it’s like controlling a soap. You get to scream with rage as your ship slide into a bullet you would have otherwise missed, or your quick dodge to avoid one enemy sends your ship hurtling into another, and with no energy bar, your puny tin can of a ship is destroyed in a single hit, and you lose half of all the weapons you just worked your backside off to build up.
I still long to enjoy Project X, but it spoils the party for everyone, every time. With a supercharge, an energy bar and none of that inertia business, it could have been one of the best games arcade on the Amiga… but if I want a Amiga shoot-em-up, then I’ll always return to D-Hero, Apidya or R-Type.