Review by Uncle Fuz

"Now getting blown to pieces is fun!"

Well, it's finally here. And not a moment too soon. Mars Matrix is supposed to be the successor to the old favs, Gunbird, Radiant Silvergun, all of them. And - to be strictly blunt - it sure ups the ante in old-school 2D shooters. With a more unique design than any other game in the genre, Mars Matrix keeps the faith in the style.

Graphics: 7
The graphics in this game could've been much on the DC. But considering that it uses 3-year-old hardware, it still looks pretty good. Basically, all the enemies, aircrafts, and most everything else that moves is in 2D. The effects that litter the screen such as multi-colored bullets, explosions, and lasers are presented in high-quality 2D sprites. Huge bosses in the game are definitely more than eye-candy. They shoot out bullets of so many colors, it'll make your head spin. Very colorful.

Gameplay: 10
When Raiden first came out in arcades, I was completely hooked. The amount of power-ups was astounding and the graphics were as sweet as they came. As challenging as it was, it's nothing compared to Mars Matrix's difficulty. On the outer shell, Mars Matrix is a basic 2D shooter. But when you peel away that shell, you'll find an extremely challenging game under it.

With all 2D shooters, there is always one thing that fans of the genre want. Lots and lots of power-ups! Mars Matrix kinda strays from that part a little. Instead of you finding power-ups and new guns by destroying certain enemies, you find experience points. After collecting enough experience, your main gun will be upgraded. While it may seem like a chore to find experience, there are so many enemies on screen at once, it'll be impossible to not find any.

Which brings up another unique feature in this game. There are lots of enemies. And I mean a LOT. Sometimes you'll find yourself trapped in the crossfire of enemy attacks. The only way of survival is to use the your weapons. There are 4 weapons to use to defend yourself and you'll be using them a lot. There are two different ships and each have a different main weapon. If you choose the blue ship, you fire a very condensed, yet highly powerful, linear cannon. If you choose the red ship, you fire a spread-shot which does less damage than the other ship's. Choose wisely now! Other weapons that are mandatory on the ships include a short-range piercing cannon. This does massive damage but doesn't reach that far. The next weapon is the one that you'll find yourself using to save your life. It's called the GHB. Or Gravity Hole Bomb. When deployed, it sucks up all the bullets fired at you. When you release the button, it shoots all the bullets back at the enemy ships. If you don't release the button, then the GHB will be fired. What it does is it sucks up EVERY SINGLE BULLET ON THE SCREEN. It then attacks in the form of a massive shockwave-like explosion which kills everything on screen. Use it wisely, it'll save your life.

Controls: 9
Nothing special here. Press Y to rapid-fire your main gun, press and hold A to use the Gravity Hole Bomb, and press R-trigger to shoot your piercing cannon. The ships maneuver easily, each of which have their own statistics.

Sound: 8
The techno music blends perfectly into the Martian theme and the explosions have a nice sound to them. Only you can't really here the music when everything else is happening on the screen.

Replayability: 10
Capcom revives the store to buy new option like Marvel vs. Capcom 2. The game is relatively short, but you'll find yourself playing it's 6 levels over and over again to unlock all the options. Plus, you'll find and Elite Mode. Each mode has different enemy formations, so Mars Matrix is like two games in one!

Buy or Rent?
Well, that's a toughie. If all you want is the arcade experience, then I'd say rent. But if you are a hardcore gamer and need to unlock everything in a game, then buy it. It'll last you months and months of fun.

Overall: 9
A great game under the facade and can last you forever. The only shortcoming is the insane difficulty of it. Sometimes you'll realized that you need to use the GHB, only to realized that you're already dead. Oh, well, there's always the sequel. But it wouldn't be on the DC. Oh no!

The Good
-Old-School Shootin' Fun!
-Lots of Power-Ups

The Bad
-Graphics Look Extremely Dated
-Insanely Difficult

The Ugly
-Blisters on you fingers after playing 4 hours straight


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 04/29/01, Updated 04/29/01


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