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View Full Version : Lackluster Review


Grumlen
08-12-2010, 12:55 PM
I recently purchased this game, as I truly enjoyed Tyrian (the best shmup ever) and the descriptions of this game put it in a similar category

The Shop and Upgrade System:

"Upgrading" your ship doesn't have any real feel to it. There is no point in upgrading anything except the Laser for main weapons. The Pulse Cannon simply does less damage, and the Spray Cannon isn't strong enough to take down anything the Laser will take longer than a casual strafe to kill. This effectively means you have 1 main weapon for the entire game.

The Shields are all basically the same . . . simply buy the strongest one and you're done. This also applies to Engines and Power: They're straight upgrades with no real decision.

The side weapons offer a bit more interest, but 2 of them are practically the same weapon. The remaining 2 (Grav Cannon and EMP) serve very specific functions and have such limited ammo that you can't use them much.

So, for all the customization that you technically have in the shop, it just boils down to a stronger laser, stronger shield, faster move. Even Gradius had more versatility to the ship than this game does.

Graphics and Audio:

Graphically the game looks very nice. 2.5D graphics are the best you'll ever get for shmup games, and the models are highly detailed. Bullets are easy to spot despite everything that is going on. Unfortunately, the game makes heavy use of full-screen flashes that I found somewhat painful to my eyes.

As for Audio, the speech tracks seem to assume you're a complete idiot (in the first mission you'll hear "Enemies coming from behind" about 3 million times). If you listen closely to the narrator, it almost makes you feel like you're in a simulator and not an actual battle. The game also tries to overlay the sounds of everything that is occurring at once, and it just turns into a mash of noise.

Finally, the music leaves much to be desired. It's not that the tracks are bad, it's that they simply don't fit the game. The music track of the first mission sounds like it should play for the FINAL boss. While I generally approve of more classical style music in game, this is one where it simply does not fit.

Gameplay:

Once in game, you'll find that each level is simply a cycling spawn of the same enemy groups over and over and over. They even continue spawning during boss fights. Once you figure out the patterns for a given level, easy given only ~6 spawn groups per level, it becomes almost trivial. And they didn't even use different spawn groups in each level . . . many times you'll see the exact same enemies that move in the exact same pattern across multiple levels.

The bosses aren't much better. They are highly predictable in their attack sequences, which at best consists of alternating between 2 different attacks. To make it worse, several of the bosses utilize attacks that you simply cannot dodge, like one boss that spins and fires continuous lasers in all directions (you can't follow the lasers either, the boss spins too fast).

Also, despite the presence of an upgrade shop, the game insists on having enemies randomly drop power-ups. These take 2 forms: energy which is used to replenish shields, and ammunition for your secondary weapons. If you have an empty secondary slot, then it gives you that weapon for use. This renders the ability to purchase secondary weapons in the shop practically useless. And of course all of these drops, which common, are also random. This means that you can't ever depend on getting energy or ammunition for a weapon you actually have.

Conclusion:

This game fails to deliver. Graphics aside, this is the quality of game you expect from a free flash game, not from something with a $10 price tag. It does nothing new or innovative, and in fact seems to run shy of implementing many features that have been used in shmup games for years.

If you're a die-hard fan of the genre, you may get some enjoyment out of it. Otherwise, go download Tyrian (http://camanis.net/) and play that instead since it's FREEWARE. Of course, you'll have to figure out how to get it to work on a 64-bit system if you have one.

ashley_au
08-14-2010, 10:58 PM
Agreed, I'd like to add DoDonPachi as a must try, too.

I'm just disappointed this genre is often uninspired.

RockyMM303
08-21-2010, 04:26 AM
Great review Grumlen, thanks.

I'll download the demo, and see how it's like, but I'm afraid that it would be exactly how you've described it.