Konami's 1983 Juno First
Juno First adds a new perspective to the vertical shooter genre. You control a ship near the bottom of the screen that moves left and right, but you also control forward and backward movement. As you do so, a grid beneath your ship moves, which gives you a sense of speed and direction. All of the aliens either move towards or away from you too, depending on how you're moving. Flying backwards at times is essential to your survival.

Your goal is to shoot everything. You have 99 seconds to clear off each wave. You get bonus points for time left over. You also have three rather useless Warps per wave, which make you disappear for a moment, then reappear right back where you were.

In each wave, there will be a sphere that appears. Shoot it, and an astronaut pops out. If you can rescue him in time, the screen will turn red. During this time, the enemies will not shoot at you, and any of them that you shoot will earn you big points. This is crucial for getting good scores.

Of course, the enemies have a few tricks up their sleeves too - including nasty little tracking shots that follow your every move.

The sound and some of the graphics elements are very reminiscent of Williams games (Defender in particular), but they fit well. In fact, this almost feels like a vertical version of Defender. There's plenty of fast, frenetic gameplay to be found here.

Missing Ingredient
More astronauts. If "save the astronauts" were more central to this game's theme, it would have added just enough extra depth to the gameplay to make it stand out. As it is, it's still a very solid, fun, vertical shooter.

Thanks to Jeffrey Carl at ServInt for providing the space for CinemArcade


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