Review by z026445

"Attack of the Mutant Chicken Skeletons"

The Setting: Space, Solar System A-27, Farming colony B22. Disgruntled farmer Bob Mackinze, after years of over taxation by the Intergalactic Chicken Conglomerate, decides to take his revenge on the universe and releases a variety of spaceship spawning, giant mutant chicken skeletons! You must pilot the spaceship in existence capable of destroying these egg laying mutants, the S.S Col. Sanders, into the heart of the Mackinze farm and destroy the chicken menace!

Man, wouldn't that be a cool game. Dead Moon isn't quite like this. While it does feature mechanic-spawning chicken/ostrich skeletons, it's not a plot against the Intergalactic Chicken Conglomerate, nor do you pilot the S.S. Col. Sanders into the heart of Bob Mackinze's chicken farm. Dead Moon is a so-so horizontal shooter from farming-sim giant Natsume for the Turbo Grafx 16.

Gameplay: 6
Really, the only thing that sets this game apart from the others is it's blazing mediocrity. You fly a mediocre ship through mediocre levels, blast mediocre enemies with mediocre weapons, and eventually get to the most amusing part of the game, the bosses, the skeletons! You must beware of the skeletons, because unlike the rest of the enemies in the game, the bosses actually have a weak spot that you must exploit.

The game design is pretty simple, really. You fly through a variety of levels, ranging from ''Earth,'' space, ''Technical Cave,'' under water and ''Biological Cave.'' It follows the standard fare of blasting bad guys, picking up power ups, wasting mid-boss, then flying to the chicken boss. The chicken bosses, in any other decent game, would have made good mid-bosses, but here they are the stage bosses. You have to carefully maneuver your ship into position to shoot the only weak spot on the chicken boss, the heart! How original! The weak spot on a boss is it's heart!

Diving deeper into mediocrity, are the enemy designs and weapons. There's not really any cool enemies in the game. All the designs are space-bound, UFOs, balls and the standard fare of shooter enemies. The weapons also are not great. You collect power ups by destroying special power up carrying enemies. Their are four different weapons to choose from, including wide shot and lasers. None of the weapons really shine, and the only one that's really any fun to use or power up is the laser.

There's not much to say about the controls. The game controls perfectly. No lag or anything else wrong, but there's not many ways you can screw up controls.

Story: 6
Dead Moon's story isn't too interesting. Much to the horror of the human race, a comet is heading towards their planet. They launch missiles into the comet to try and change it's course. They succeeded and instead of smashing into the planet, it hits the moon. Nothing happens, so the planet relaxes. Suddenly, creatures start pouring out of the moon and invade the planet. It's that the discovery is made that the comet was really an alien ship and it buried itself in moon! It's up to you and your ship stop the alien menace. Meh.

Audio/Video: 6
Nothing impressive. The graphics are plain and flat looking, nothing eye catching at all. The music is also mediocre.

Replayability: 7
Well, Dead Moon is on the easier side, so it's not hard to pick it up again, but there isn't anything nifty to unlock. Actually, since the game is so short, it starts over again after you beat it one time, much like Donkey Kong and many other classic arcade games, on a harder difficulty. This adds a bit more to the playability.

Buy or Rent?: Meh.
In my opinion, I wouldn't have bought this by itself. My copy of Dead Moon came in a bundle with some other games. There are many other, better, shooters out there for the Turbo Grafx 16.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 10/20/02, Updated 10/20/02

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