The genre of horizontal shooters had early been set with standards nobody dared to break anymore. Instead, the race for perfection was on - mainly in the arcades, but also on the computers and consoles of the time.
What makes a good shooter? Great graphics, big explosions, many extra-weapons, fierce enemies and of course the biggest possible bosses? Of course! There is another thing which is too often overlooked, but is in fact the most important feature: fairness! What is all the stuff out of the first set of features worth if a game is unplayable? What if you won't even be able to see all the great stuff because you keep dying at the very beginning? Let's get back to this question later.
The universe of good computer game ideas may be large, but it is nowhere infinite. Ingenious ideas don't grow on trees, but they are rather rare like pearls. So it is not surprising that programmers – and those who wish to become one – often fall back to trusted and tried concepts instead. When one's own creativity is added to it, the original hopefully turns into an original clone. In this gaming universe, one well known means of transport is Space Taxi, which inspired a number of clones.
Blood and thunder rule the country: The vicious Death Adder inflicts war on the kingdom and kills people by the dozen. Amongst the numerous victims are the relatives of three great heroes, who finally, when even their best friend gets slain right in front of their eyes, swear revenge.
So much for the usual excuse to have player controlled muscleheads beat up some baddies. But all of this is not communicated overly well in the actual game, is it?