Review by Himura Kenshin

"Classic arcade shooter= carple tunnel syndrome ^_^"

This is one of those games where, if it was in your local arcade, you'd probably pump enough quarters in to feed a small country. If you've ever played 'Radient Silvergun' for the import Saturn, then you have a slight advantage because this game is quite similar. Ungodly amounts of bullet's, missiles, and such constantly flying towards you for inappropriate amounts of time. In other words, FUN! ^_^

Well, I guess it's time to tell you what I thought about this wonderful game (if ya haven't guessed yet, I really liked it ^_^)

Graphics 8/10

When I first saw Mars Matrix I thought it was a little dated graphically. It does have that 'retro' arcade shooter look to it but, since that's what it is, that doesn't matter. The backgrounds are pretty standard for this type of game, however, some stages seem to look more 'smoothed' over. Stage 5 for example seemed to have a 'rendered' look to the backgrounds. The sprites vary in size from really tiny bullets to a huge train. I liked the design of each ship (there are two) The Mosquito 2 has a more 'high tech' look to it than the Mosquito 1. My only qualm with the graphics was that when you play the two-player mode, and both of you pick the same ship, the colors weren't very distinguishable. Player two's ship is just a lighter variation of player one's. This may be different though because at the time of this review, I still hadn't opened the option for changing the ship colors (I'm about 6-trillion points off ^_^) One of the video options that I especially liked was the 'screen adjustment'. With this option, you can shrink, stretch and squeeze the screen to your own preferences. From full-screen to wide-screen to the traditonal ''vertical letter-box'' (black bars on each side)

Sound 7/10

This, unfortunately, was one of the low points of the game. Don't get me wrong, the music was great. Good, fast-paced techno is perfect for a game like this. The problem was that you can't hear the music very well when you're playing. You can hear it when you stop shooting, but the way this game is, I seriously would NOT suggest you do so.
It's not worth being blown to bits just so you can hear the music ^_^. The game does have a sound option that allows you to listen to all the music and sound FX in the game, but an option to either turn the music up or the sound FX down (or both)would've been greatly appreciated. The sound FX however, were well done. While nothing along the lines of a Tie-Fighter exploding in THX, they get their point across. YOU'RE DEAD! or, the enemy is (more than likely you though, at least the first few times you play)

Play Control 9/10

The key to a good shooter is in the play control. There's nothing worse than playing the coolest looking shooter you've ever played only to have it completely screwed up by sluggish or over-sensitive control. The control, while already very good, can be manipulated by you, the player, by using an option to change the speed (once you've unlocked that is) You can change the speed of both fighters, though not separately. What ever you choose, effects both players and both ships. The previously mentioned ships differ in more than just color (red & blue)
They also differ in speed and strength. The Mosquito 1 (red) is slower and weaker, but has a much wider range than the Mosquito 2 (blue, duh!) I personally use the Mosquito 2 for a couple reasons. The main being that it's much faster, which makes dodging the insane amounts of bullets flying towards you easier (term used lightly ^_^) to avoid. The other being that the fire-power is better (although very narrow)

Replay Value 10/10

This has got to be the most addicting shooter I've played in a long time. Capcom has used the point system we've all grown to love (or hate depending on the game ^_^) The way the point system works in Mars Matrix is actually quite simple. Each time you play the arcade, elite or score modes, what ever your score is when it's ''game over'' time, that's what your points will be. The more times you play, the more points will be added. There are several options that you can buy including an art gallery and the ability to change the backgrounds (which I still don't have unlocked) The prices for different features range from 10-billion dollars/points all the way to 99-trillion (now you know why I don't have the background option yet ^_^)
While the replay value comes mostly from trying to earn enough points to buy the extra's, there is also the fact that this game is HARD. I won't lie to you, it is difficult, even on difficulty 1 (of 8). But fear not my trigger happy shooter freaks, it's not a 'frustrating' hard. You know, the kind that makes you wanna throw your controller out the window? With a little practice, you'll be able to get past what you thought to be impossible before. The game also has 'strategy' stages where, once purchased, you can watch the computer play each individual stage. I didn't think much of this at first, but when I watched the com. go through the entire last stage on difficulty 4 and ship level 1, and only die ONCE! I knew Capcom put this in here for a reason, to give you something else to try, NOT DYING ^_^ Lastly, there are a few different modes of play (more stuff ^_^) There is the original arcade mode, two 'Elite' modes, and a score challenge mode. Arcade mode is self explanatory, and the score challenge is just what it sounds like, you play through one stage of your choice, and try to beat your previous score. The 2 'elite' modes (A & B) are basically the same as arcade, with the exception that all the extra options you bought (like how fast your ship flies) are put into play. Elite A is the ''Dreamcast'' version different enemies in different locations. Elite B is exactly the same as Arcade mode, just it allows the use of the extra options (like mentioned before)

Overall 9/10

Well, as you can see, for a shooting game, there really is a lot to it. Capcom really did everyone a favor by bringing us this shooter fan's dream. And at $19.99 (brand new) you simply cannot go wrong. If you've been a long time fan of shooter's, or are wondering what all the fuss is about on the DC message boards, then you've got to check out Mars Matrix. I have not been disappointed with this game yet, and don't think I ever will be. And since I still need about 105,000,000,000,000 more points to unlock the last two options, I bid you farewell and happy shooting ^_^

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 05/15/01, Updated 05/15/01

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