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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Some Shmup Impressions...

Some videogame thoughts from earlier in the year.

Interesting times for a "dead" genre. Well, interesting if you live in Japan anyway. Seems like every month or so a new shmup comes out for PS2 or even the Dreamcast. It's been downright overwhelming for a fan trying to keep up. So, prior to my surgery, I've made it a point to at least spend a little time with some of my newer shmups before I go under the knive.

One thing that's frustrating me a little bit is so many of the shmups coming out on Dreamcast are shortly followed by an enhanced port on PS2 and/or Xbox and Gamecube. Take, for instance, Chaos Field. The DC port is pretty much just the game while the PS2 and GC rev gets an arrange mode as well. (Not to mention the GC port actually got released domestically!)

The game itself feels like a tribute to Radiant Silvergun. It's almost all bosses, there's no powerups, but you do get different weapons through button combos, etc., etc. So far, I'm kind of ehh on it. (Remember, I wasn't a big RS fan either.) I'll have to come back to this one.

Another recent DC shmup, soon to come to PS2 and GC in enhanced form, is Radilgy. This is a slick cell shaded looking game with a lead character who reminds me of Marcy from Peanuts. The game, however, I'm not sure I quite get. Too many of the bullets get destroyed with your standard fire leading to a game that seems way too easy and uninteresting. I don't know how much play this one is going to get.

For PS2, I'm really digging Ibara. Another tribute game, this time it's Cave playing tribute to Raizing. The port is pretty lackluster, I mean, loading times in the level??? However, you do get an "original" mode where Ibara plays more like a Cave game and the same itself is pretty fun, assuming you like Battle Garegga, which this takes a lot from. It's hard not to wish the port was a little better though.

Speaking of bad ports, Gigawing Generations is almost jawdropping ugly. Gameplay wise, it's pretty much the same deflect the bullets/collect the medals gameplay as the two previous installments, but this time the screen is vertically orientated rather than horizontal. The graphics are a trainwreck however. I can't find much here to make me want to play it again, so far.

Then we have Homura. I like the atmosphere, it's a flying guy kind of game. There seems to be a similar "buzzing" play mechanic to the Castle Shikigami games where you have a more powerful shot by playing chicken with enemy fire. I don't have it all figured out yet, but this one is promising.

Last game I have to check out is Raiden III, perhaps the grandfather of all the tribute shmups. If you like Raiden, you'll like this one as it looks, sounds and feels like Raiden. Luckily, I like Raiden. Smile

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