Have You Played... Major Stryker?
Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every weekday of the year, perhaps for all time.
Truth be told, I don't know which of my muddled memories are of Major Stryker and which are the many other gloriously over-the-top shmups of the late DOS era. I just know that, for a time, I loved them more than anything: the action, the explosions, the really big guns you got if you collected enough orbs, the fact they weren't particularly difficult (which made bullet hell games such as Ikaruga a nasty shock when I tried 'em years later), the way you could blow up things on the ground for no reason other than DESTRUCTION. They were everything games needed to be.
The name Major Stryker lodged itself in my head above all others, and it's only really now that I know it was blatantly given that name in the hope of bottling Duke Nukem lightning again. I imagine Apogee, the predecessor to 3D Realms, had money and talent to pour at their shmup which other studios lacked, and so it would have been the glossiest one, the biggest one.
Of course, I never played anything except the shareware version, delivered to me by a cover disk on PC Zone. This means that, one day, I will be able to treat myself to the other two-thirds of the game (now officially made freeware), and the only reason I don't is because it would shatter memories and illusions. Best to wait until my faculties start to wane, and simple things become incredible. Then, Major Stryker, we shall at last meet again.