Saturday, December 11, 2010

AA Look - Irem's other games

Battle Chopper Mr. Heli - Even Irem's "cute-em-ups" are a kick in the nards. "The Muddy" is out to take over and or destroy an earth-like planet and it is up to some cutesy copter to stop him. The goal of this game is to collect crystals, buy power-ups, and blaze a trail through seven levels. This is a bit of an interesting twist on the standard side-scrolling as some sections allow the player freedom to move forward and at other times scrolling is forced like any other shooter.

The main problem I have with this game is the challenge level is a bit on the rough side. I expect a challenge sure but Mr. Heli's doesn't seem quite right. Frequently enemies will fire without so much as a warning and health is drained far too quickly. Furthermore it hurts especially bad when I die because not only do I lose all my weapons I also lose all my money so I can't buy new ones when they become available.

As for the rest of the game. Well I'm not sure what to think. It's a neat twist and all but things like being unable to drop bombs unless sitting on the ground is very frustrating(enemies love to come from below) and way too much time is spent digging in the ground for money. On the other hand maybe I'm not playing the right version of the game. One of the most frustrating aspects of arcade games involves region-differences. I mentioned this way back when I reviewed XEXEX by Konami. While the Japanese version is a great game but the US release is unplayable. I doubt it's quite the same situation with this game but all it takes is a few slight changes to make something either far more enjoyable or not fun at all.

Cosmic Cop - The original name for this game is something to the effect of Armored Police Unit Gallop. What we have here is a combination of the methodical style of R-Type with the fast-pacing and nards-out style of...well..whatever the opposite of R-Type is called. It's a jarring combination to say the least.

The concept is interesting since depending on where the ship is on-screen the level moves by slower or faster. Speed is imperative to a high-score and the level-designs are good enough for that sort of play. The weapons are similar in that there's a high-powered forward cannon and a weaker but area-clearing laser available at all times. Power-ups are available as well but they can be lost if the player bumps into walls.

As the game progresses however the memorization aspect starts to become more pronounced and while the ship's hitbox is smaller than the ship itself it's little comfort when the ship itself is freaking huge. There are those that can get around this and clear the game with little trouble but uh...I dunno, I just can't get into it at all.

Dragon Breed - Oh joy another checkpoint-based shooter by Irem. Imagine how different everything videogames would be without the checkpoint? Just think next time you die in some FPS you don't end up redoing the entire section as you'll respawn instantly. This is how I feel a lot of the time when I play games such as these. Yes I'm well aware that dying showcases my lack of skills and I haven't memorized the level enough but come on. I'll do better next time so just let me move forward!

With that rant over with let's look at the game itself. You're a wimpy little dude with a crossbow who gets to ride on a large invincible dragon. It's a pretty sweet deal until you realize that draggy can be effective at nullifying bullets he only offers to join in the killing with power-ups. A simple fireball would have sufficed because the hero's pea-shooter is sad, sad, SAD. At certain points the hero is free to jump down from the dragon to battle on-foot. I'm not sure why this is included but the hero gets a pretty sweet three-way shot when on the ground and that's just not fair. Also when the dragon gets the yellow power-up it can wrap itself around the hero and do a different attack occasionally. This is really useful but apparently it only works with the yellow weapon, thanks a lot.

The checkpoints are also badly done. I die at the boss so obviously my weakness is the boss. Logically the checkpoint kicks me back to about the last 1/3 of the stage. While I guess I'm supposed to be grateful to get the chance to grab some power-ups these checkpoints feel like they were added after the game was completed. A better idea would have been to throw out some power-ups just before the boss and have the checkpoint sitting there too but man that's just too generous. Irem may as well give out unlimited lives while they're at it.

Dragon Breed was also unique in that it had a sit-down cabinet. Maybe I'm just imagining things again but it was pretty neat and the sound-system was loud. Every time the player died the noise would blow out one's eardrums. It was pretty awesome.

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