All in all, it's not too bad. mostly recognisable as my game; the first world is basically the same. There are a few graphical glitches and numerous little details that annoy me; little things that aren't quite right. Some of the enemy ships don't quite move the way they are supposed to; the first boss comes in a little too early and doesn't take damage when it first appears; some of the graphics look a little wonky (the waterfalls, the wheels on the first boss) - stuff like that. The layout of things isn't quite as finely tuned as it used to be; it's a little bit more slapped together. But mostly it's pretty authentic.
The second world is a bit more of a mixed bag; it's an extra world that wasn't in the original. It's all cobbled together from graphics taken from elsewhere in the game. It looks okay but a little patchy, and not quite as varied as it should be. Also it kind of spoils some of the features of later levels a little bit (by using the assets from them). The good news is that the new ships they've added seem okay - they're all made up of modified versions of graphics from the original game and it works fine. I was impressed with the second boss - it's mostly made up of bits of the third boss in the original game, but it looks all right and has a unique set of attacks that work well. This could have been much worse, so I'm quite relieved about that. The additions don't really stick out which is good.
The save system seems to be pretty good, and they've incorporated a survival mode too, which is nice. It looks like there's a two player wifi option as well; good-o. I liked the way this was put together.
And now the bad news; stuff that really bugs me:
The weapon power seems a bit off. I spent a fair bit of time balancing this so it is very noticeable. The rockets aren't powerful enough, which is a big problem. They are supposed to be your hard-hitting weapon for taking out big stuff quickly; here they seem a bit rubbish and less powerful than the autocannon, which kind of defeats the purpose, a little. A LOT! Also, the beam weapon isn't powerful enough either. This was always a wimpy, defensive weapon, but now it's so wimpy that it is basically impossible to destroy anything but the weakest enemies with it. Not good.
And that leads me to a further point. In the original, everything was carefully balanced so that you could definitely score 100% on each level. I believe that a lot of this fine balance has been lost here - both in the way the enemies and weapons behave, and also in the arrangement of the new levels. There is a bit at the start of level two where there is simply no way you could kill everything. That was never the case in the original game - I tested it so I know!
But that doesn't matter much anyway, because the bonus scoring system has been messed up to the point where it makes almost no sense at all. This was also changed in the downloadable PC version, and it has always bugged me because that is really the heart of the game. You are supposed to concentrate on getting 100% of the primary targets to get a high bonus score. Getting a high percentage of small ships as well will net you an even higher score, and getting 100% of everything (which, as I say, used to be possible) will let you rake in a very fat bonus. But the important thing was, if you couldn't take out most or all of the primaries, you wouldn't get dick. They were your mission objective after all. The way it is here though is totally screwed. I got 0% of primaries and 92% of secondaries for an overall success rating of 92% at one point. You should never
get a high bonus for missing all the primaries! It means that the subtleties of the game - the high scoring subtleties for the advanced player - are no longer in place. Dammit!
All in all, I think it's pretty decent. It is still what it was, which is a fast-paced, old-school 80s-style shooter, and it sits quite nicely on the PSP. If you have a PSP and you like shooters, I daresay you'll be wanting this game; I don't know if there are too many better ones available. However, it's only about 50% of what it could have been if I had been even a little bit involved with it, and it's still not as good as the 7-year-old original, when it should have been better. It doesn't take advantage of the PSPs hardware as well as it should (the hardware accelleration could have been used to improve the graphics quite a bit), it really needed some new graphics made by me, and the attention to detail is not quite up to my standards. It was also a chance to improve the gameplay which I think has actually gone down a couple of notches instead. So it's a missed opportunity I think, but fortunately not a complete embarassment for me. If my name had've been on it which it isn't.