Ghost Pilots is SNK’s first vertical shoot-em-up game, dating back to 1992.
If you worry about loading times… they’re not existent. There is an initial loading when you first start a game and then you’re fine and can play without loading forever (if you want). However, as with most other Neo CD shooters there is a 2 second loading (no loading screen) when a boss comes in, but it doesn’t distract from the gameplay.
The graphics department is very solid even though it is one of the older games. The propeller machines look nice and the backgrounds are sweet throughout. Bosses are big and fun to challenge. The engine runs nice and “slow-motion-features” are absent.
Music is very well done. You don’t find yourself humming to the music but it’s getting the job done nicely. Maybe the weakest aspect concerning the sound issue is that once you upgrade your ship to a stronger weapon the sound effects don’t sound more powerful (and are overall a bit lush).
Gameplay is pretty standard fare if you first look at it. However, you get confronted with a bunch of flying vehicles that fly in formation (different behavior depending on their color). Those come in from all sides and give you a hard time. As a last resort you do have a smartbomb you can plunge in while pressing the B-Button. There are are a few different ones you can choose from while your propeller machine is always the same. Hammering the A-Button is a necessity as there is no button for constant shooting at full burst.
Unlike other Neo Shooters Ghost pilots is quite a long game which takes you about an hour (or a bit less) to complete. In between you can choose if you want to take the ground or sky missions, which is nice. If you’re running out of ships you can pump continues and start off where you left. If this is a good thing I leave to you, but it’s definitely not like Pulstar and Viewpoint where you’re forced to play a difficult passage over and over again. 2-Player mode is also there and adds up to the fun.
If you’re not craving for the latest score-orientated Cave shooter with a million bullets and hardcore gameplay this one is for you.
Overall Score: 3 out of 5