So if you thought that the days of vertical scrolling shoot them ups was done and dusted, think again.  Dogs brings the format slap bang up to date with it's bright graphics, intense action and reflex testing gameplay.

You are going to have be on the ball with this one as the screen fills very quickly with enemies both airborne and ground based and enemy missiles and energy bolts come flying your way, trying to send your space ship/fighter plane, spinning into the earth leaving an impact crater!

PLOT

Well this is as basic as it can be but for some reason it's not included in-game. You are Desmond Phoenix, a veteran of an earlier confrontation with your enemy, the invading Zeetnuks. Yes you read that right and like me, if you hadn't had looked that detail up, then you would have not had a clue as to any of this. Odd to say the least.....

Gameplay.

This works on a very familiar path, collect power ups and upgrades as you blast the enemies out of the skies around you. You can move all over the screen which is nice but the main route is still an on the rails one so even though you can look at paths that lead off to the side, you are soon dragged by the nose back to the main route.

Mind you it's not as if you have that much time to explore because you will be too busy trying to dodge rockets, bullets etc to take notice of it, and a lot of those enemy missiles etc have a tracking ability so once those suckers are locked on....

Controls

Controls are responsive and very intuitive, with firing lasers and bombs being launched by both triggers. The lasers are accurate but the bombs, well you have to get used to dropping them from different directions to hit their targets, literally bombing is a very hit and miss affair. It will take some time to get used to this.

The rest of the package....

So it's fast and furious but is it fun? Well yes and no. There are some glaring omissions, one of which is the absence of any kind of cooperative or two player mode. Why? As a co-op game this would elevate it into a great two player game rather than an better than Okay single player.

And why oh why does the camera at times, zoom in so close to the action that it's next to impossible to see the path ahead and see incoming enemies? By the time you realise you are in trouble then you'll either fly into an outcrop of rock or gun tower or find yourself surrounded by airborne enemies and then blasted into pixellated bits. 

Plusses.

Fast and frenetic action to keep you on your toes.

Some very nice powers keeps you in the game provided you can outfly your enemies. 

Minuses

The sudden and unwanted key hole surgery camera view that makes navigation a pain in the you-know-where.

No two player competitive or co-op mode. Why? This I thought, would have been a shoe in.

Thanks to X Box for the code.