Review by Ghostlight
"Misunderstood quality shooter."
This game made an impression on me for mainly the reason that I got it, played it for ten minutes, then read the Gamefaqs reviews on it.
The strangest thing was, after ten minutes of play I got the distinct impression that the three people who ranked it low hadn't even bothered to explore the game nor let it impress them, instead they played through, abused the free continues and then threw it away complaining.
One complains the bullets were randomly strewn across and impossible to dodge without abusing the the Deflector Force, although the number of bullets being strewn across the screen is an incredible amount compared to most shooters, after some practice and a little attention I found the majority of them laughably easy to dodge even on the default difficulty let alone the easiest - Finding myself using the Deflector only two or three times in a level and always in the same place.
The planes do move at a different pace to each other, and it's actually quite obvious they do - However, on a whole they move slower than most other games. I've always played as the slower planes on most games so I wasn't terribly handicapped by this - People coming in from playing Judge Spear on Raiden Fighters however would be at a severe disadvantage, being used to using a lot more speed to dodge bullets.
Another complaint was that bullets passed through the plane at random - I noticed this only after reading the review, then wondered why it was. That was when I noticed the planes can barrel roll through bullets. It's not some 'poor programming' as NickEvil puts it, but an actual evasion move you can perform.
The gameplay is possibly hard to get into, as the range of reviews reflect - Some will, some won't. I found it hard to begin with but with a little patience I've grown to love this game, I've yet to complete it however since I have a habit of never continuing in a shooting game, the unlimited continues don't tempt me to 'cheap' my way through this experience.
The levels are absolutely gorgeous, boasting perfect dramatic music to suit their romantic industrialism setting - Although, unless you learn the levels well you'll be facing near instant death in a few places.
Although the engine does bog down, it tends to do it mostly when you are pulling off a Forcebomb after a Deflector or when you are Deflecting a large amount of bullets - I've seen it bog down a few times when large amounts of bullets are coming my way but it didn't really affect much except perhaps increase my chances of dodging the bullets.
I've come to expect engine bogs from 3d shooting games, so I didn't mind too much when it did, it's not something that I found seriously detracted from my enjoyment.
More of a relaxation time during a level.
I can't comment on the story, having only a Japanese copy and no knowledge of the language, however I didn't mind the anime stills, although I would have rather no storyline and an extra plane... Although, as CMoon pointed out, the storyline is completely skippable with the B button, and you can skip to the next 'frame' with the A button. It makes me wonder whether NickEvil even tried pushing buttons before complaining about not being able to skip the sequences.
All in all, I'd definitely recommend buying this game to complete a shooting collection, but wouldn't recommend it to the person that doesn't want to put some love into it. I feel that the low reviews on Gamefaqs reflect how different this game will be for different people and can quite clearly see that it isn't for everyone.
My only true complaint is that of the default ships, only Cherries gives you a proper spread of fire, with Ralugo proving to be very difficult to play because of his limited firing range.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 06/19/01, Updated 06/19/01
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