25 - Granada X (Megadrive)

A free-roaming shoot 'em up with great graphics, effects and music. Meaty explosions, varied levels, impressive bosses and great controls. What more could you want? I love Granada X to bits.

I bought this sight-unseen on import when it came out. Feeling a bit starved of quality new Megadrive games I'd usually take a chance on something out of the blue. I didn't have the luxury of checking opinion on the internet, magazines were often behind the times somewhat (and not guaranteed to cover everything anyway), and of course the backs of the boxes didn't help much when the text was in Japanese. The cover looked exciting though.

(I've just realised that this is probably how I ended up with Herzog Zwei as well...)

Anyways... the gamble paid off in spades. Granada X is my favourite Megadrive game by a long shot. You take control of a tank in an overhead-viewed level that scrolls freely in all directions. You have a standard rapid-fire cannon and a single powerful shot that forces you back with recoil. Along the way extra weapons can be picked up such as rockets and a curious metal cube that orbits you erratically and reflects your shots. A cool feature of it is that shooting it with the big shot causes it to spray bullets out in all directions for a few seconds.

Each level has a number of objectives to take out before moving to a particular area to confront the boss. On level one it's enemy tank bases, on level two it's the engines of a huge aircraft (be careful with the recoil here!), etc. The levels are varied and there are multiple paths, providing plenty of scope for hit-and-run tactics, and a generous timer gives you plenty of freedom to work your way around.

The music is especially excellent, being composed by Motoi Sakuraba - now one of the foremost VGM composers in Japan.

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