Mayday!!
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  • Hoei
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  • Action - Shooter - 2D (example - Thunder Force)
  • 1981
  • 1-2
  • high score save
  • 7
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6  |  In Need Of A "Defender"
Darryl B. , 7/2/2005 10:56:56 PM
Boy, was *I* confused when I played this game in the arcades when it came out: so many sound effects, the attract mode, some of the gameplay, and even the font of the lettering on the display screens suspiciously looked EXACTLY like Defender's.

Then, years later, upon looking this game up on the internet, it turns out that the mischievous rascals behind this game, the programmers (uh huh) of the Hoei video game company just altered a few things on a Defender game to "create" Mayday, which Defender creator Williams said this infringed on their Defender copyright, so that ended any more production of this little bastard creation of Hoei's.

There were a few interesting spins on this monstrosity, though: for starters, the game takes place underwater (although with most of the backgrounds still being black, you'd still think you were in outer space though...maybe most of the action takes place in some oil-spilled section of an ocean, or something). In the first wave, you're in a cavern (I guess), since there's hills above and below you; unlike Defender, though, when you can just pass through mountains without giving a second thought about them (or even a first one) as you're speeding along to save humanoids from Landers, here, if you touch either the cave (or whatever) ceiling or floor, you're dead meat. So even with as difficulty as the gameplay is on Defender, the bar was raised even more by keeping your ship restricted to the middle section of the screen.

Then the second wave is a bit more forgiving, as there aren't any cave ceilings in it, and your fighter ship fires at a down diagonal only in the direction of a bunch of subs that move incredibly fast below you (since they're just modified Baiters from Defender, obviously). Man, this game must take place far in the future for these subs to move at the speed they're going, these guys must have swiped warp engines from the Enterprise from Star Trek or something.

Unfortunately, you DON'T have phasers (like in Trek) that automatically lock onto targets, since your ship's defenses were changed in this game too, as you're allowed to fire forwards and backwards on certain waves, which actually helps a bit with this modification, as there are ships trying to sneak up on you from behind (like a deadly game of tag). However, the Defender Smart Bomb was replaced by the bizarre Mayday function, which slows down everything on the screen...including YOUR SHIP. So that's kind of strange; most games that I've ever played that had some kind of slowdown defense (like the warp feature on the Atari 2600 game Communist Mutants from Space) would slow down everything except for your ship, or whatever it was that you were controlling onscreen. It still helps in certain situations, though, but it would've been better if you still retained the original speed for your craft.

This was still a fairly fun, lightning-fast game to play, although it came off being a bit weird as compared to Defender...actually, it probably would have seemed weird anyway if this came out but Defender never did (in a parallel universe, or ocean, rather, since this is a water-related/-themed game), especially with the all slow-mo deal. No Smart Bombs also doesn't help, since that's what us Defender junkies are used to, as you can still get swarmed (just like in Defender), but there's not a lot you can do about it to instantly help.

Hoei, to the best of my knowledge, only came out with two games ever (Mayday being one of those two), which stealing this from Williams probably put the nail in their game-making coffin. It kind of makes you wonder what the company could have done if they had persevered, although they probably wouldn't have lasted for much longer than they did anyway, since the video game crash happened a couple of years later.

So they probably would have sunk either way, ha ha.

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