Trevor McFur in the Crescent Galaxy

The majority of the Jag's shoot 'em ups are 3D affairs and they vary wildly in quality, from the sublime (Cybermorph and I-War), to the frankly embarrassing (Hover Strike). Fans of the 2D shooter have less of a choice on the Jag, though - there's either the highly regarded Raiden, or this - Trevor McFur in the Crescent Galaxy. The first thing I need to address here, is the ridiculous title.

You play as Trevor McFur, an anthropomorphic leopard/puma/cat-beast who also happens to be a corporal in the 'Circle Reserve' - a chapter in the Crescent Galaxy's Interplanetary Defense Squad. The rest of this Defense Squad has been annihilated by a half-arsed entity called 'Odd-It,' and it's up to you and your feline partner Cutter to jump into your space ships and engage the enemy and rid the four moons of your conquered home world of Odd-It's minions. No - I didn't make any of that up.

So Trevor McFur is a space shooter where you have to venture to the four moons of your homeworld, kill all the baddies and then head to the central planet for a final showdown. You start the game with a sort of powerpoint presentation where you can choose which moon to assault first (they're all different but familiar - swamp, caverns, weird psychedelic desert thing etc) but before you get down to the moon's surface you have to endure a painfully tedious space section where random geometric shapes, blobs of goo and sentient asteroids fly at you. You can dispatch these enemies with either your upgradeable pea shooter or by using your vast array of bizarre (but actually quite inventive) special weapons, and even call in your wingman (wingcat?) to help in the fight. Once you get through this space-based preamble, you'll go up against a mid-level boss, but these have no AI to speak of and their designs are quite laughable (keep an eye out for the giant, ornate, spinning purple and gold gimp suit). Once you've offed them by firing all of your special weapons and hammering the fire button, you're sent down to the moon's surface, and get to do the whole thing again but with a different set of random creatures trying to kill you while a different jpeg scrolls by in the background. Repeat this procedure four times (one for each moon), and then presumably you get to go to the final level on the homeworld (Cosmolite) and battle Odd-It.

I say presumably, because I haven't even managed to clear a single moon yet, such is the difficulty level in Trevor McFur. The sheer number of random enemies flying around the screen shooting at you can make for a very annoying experience, and in some of the levels you can't even see the projectiles coming your way because of the colour clashing scenery. The graphics do look quite nice, but the consistency of the stuff on-screen varies wildly - some objects have a cool pre-rendered style, whilst others look like they've been hand-drawn on the back of a cig packet. The gameplay is as you'd expect for this type of game - move your ship around, shoot stuff, dodge bullets...nothing remotely original, really. The glaring omission from Trevor McFur though, has got to be the background music - there isn't any! It's just random blips, beeps and explosions...a thumping soundtrack is a staple in the shmup genre, so to leave one out is just plain odd. Also, there's no multiplayer option - another glaring omission for a shooter of this ilk.

There's a hint of great game in Trevor McFur, but I can't help but feel that it was maybe rushed out before the development had been completed. The graphics are decent and the gameplay is by no means bad, and there's been a bit of effort paid to the backstory and setting - it just could have done with a proper soundtrack and a bit of work on the pacing and enemy designs. As it is, it's a OK shooter - but it could have been great. Worth a look if you need some 2D shooting action on your Jag and refuse to pay the abhorrent price Raiden commands these days.

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