Review by Gosu

"Capcom/Takumi improve on the interesting ideas in Gigawing"

Mars Matrix is the newest 2d ''Hyper Solid Shooting Game'' released by Capcom and developed by Takumi, the makers of the CPS-2/Dreamcast game ''Gigawing''. Gigawing had some interesting ideas, one being a ''reflect force'' that by holding the attack button down, you could reflect shots being directed at you, and by doing so would gain bonus icons. One of the biggest flaws in the game, however, was that it seemed that the later levels revolved around learning when to use your reflect force, and they would throw bullet patterns that were very hard to dodge without them.

Mars Matrix plays very similarly to Gigawing in those aspects, but I feel it improves upon them. Now instead of having a set recharge time for the reflect force, it regenerates depending on how long you held the button down. If you hold it down too long, a ''gravity force bomb'' will detonate, doing damage to all onscreen enemies.

The power-up system is a little like the power up system in Radiant Silvergun, as it rewards you for skill play. Like Gigawing, reflecting enemy bullets makes bonus icons, and when the bonus icons are picked up in a certain time period, the bonus will increase. This bonus combo system has been retained in Mars Matrix, but now you gain experience points from them. When you gain enough to attain the next level, you powerup, and your ship changes form.

The graphics and music are both excellent, despite the game running on CPS-2 in the arcade(which is 6+ year old hardware), it looks great. The music consists of typical techno-style tunes that accompany most shooters, and definitely gets the blood pumping.

Like I stated above about Gigawing's flaw, Mars Matrix also slightly suffers from this syndrome; however I think Mars Matrix is much better than the predecessor. The control feels tighter, and the bullet patterns, while hard, are not 100% impossible to dodge(although the later levels they do get quite crazy).

There are a lot of things to unlock in the game(more credits, ships, etc.), so despite the fact the game is not that long(around 6 stages total if I recall)it gives a lot of replay value. There is the original arcade mode, as well as an arrange mode. You can unlock score attack modes as well.

I highly recommend this game, and hopefully Capcom will release this in America. Lord knows more shooters need to be made for the Dreamcast(where the heck is Shienryu 2 and Battle Bakraid darn it :P).

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 11/14/00, Updated 11/14/00

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