Shooting games haven't really evolved much in the past few years. Sure the graphics keep getting better, the weapons keep getting bigger, and the bosses keep getting more ridiculous, but I keep getting bored. With that said, let me point out that Nanotek Warrior is not a bad game - it's an interesting twist on a tired formula. But do a few changes make up for a repetitive premise?
Nanotek Warrior uses a behind the back perspective, a welcome change from the familiar side-scroller and top-down perspectives found in most shooters. The action takes place outside or inside a nano-tube, and your goal as you race along is either to blow away everything in your path or to get out of its way. There are a variety of special weapons you can pick up along the tube, as well as extra energy for your shields. You can also jump off the tube briefly, either to fire at something in the air or jump over an obstacle on the surface of the tube. After each stage there is a special boss level in which you orbit around a big enemy in the center of the screen, attempting to blow it up (a la Cinematronics' vector-graphics classic Dark Castle). The action in these segments can be a little confusing, but they're a nice break from the tube-based gameplay during which you constantly move forward.
The basic storyline in Nanotek Warrior is about as thought-out as that of any shooter released in the past 10 years: It's the 23rd century, nano-technology has become a big thing, and the microscopic robots have turned evil. With a remote-controlled nano-war machine in your possession, it's your task to blast these suckers into oblivion while travelling through nano-tubes. Imagine Innerspace meets Maximum Overdrive meets Honey, I Shrunk The Kids.
The graphics in Nanotek Warrior are really good; the tube and space vehicles look really cool, and the scrolling is seamless. The sound is also terrific the music is nice, and the explosions will shake your speakers. In terms of presentation, Nanotek Warrior is one of the best shooters out there.
Nanotek Warrior suffers a bit due to the somewhat awkward play control; a paddle controller would be far more appropriate for a game that requires so much lateral movement. The fixed rate at which you turn on the tube gets a little tiresome an analog paddle could have added nuances to the play control that would make the game a bit smoother. On the grounds of visual stimulation alone, this title is worth checking out. If you are sick of shooting games, you may want to skip it but it's definitely a step towards bringing an 8-bit genre into the 32-bit era.