| paleface [sys=DC; cat=Shooter_Vert; loc=JPN] |
|After their boss-rush debut in "Chaos Field" (see entry 721), Milestone brings life back to the Dreamcast yet again with the very offbeat "Radirgy."|
The name has been romanized in a bunch of ways, even by Milestone themselves, but "Radirgy" is what's printed on the side of the case, so that's what I'm going with.
I think I heard somewhere that the game "story" is that it takes place inside a cel phone, or something? The logo is kind of cel-phonish, and the cel-shaded (hah!) graphics seem sort of smooth simplistic, like you're viewing things up close. That, and your health/life meter is in the form of three side-by-side vertical bars, like a cel phone signal readout.
Anyhoo, you have three ships/mechs to choose from, each coming in three speeds. They're pretty much all just palette swaps of each other, which is too bad, but it's not like you have much time to spend looking at the details of your ship as you play, anyhow. The difference in the three ships is their weapon: one has a green laser spread shot, the second has forward-firing red lasers (with sub lasers that can lock onto a target, similar to the lasers in Chaos Field), and the third shoots massive bubbles. Yes, bubbles. They kick ass, too.
Take out an enemy wave, or large enemy, and they drop a flashy weapon energy powerup. Juggle the powerup up the screen with your melee attack, and it may become a bigger powerup. The juggle range is quite generous, and you can have a screen fully of juggly things if you really try.
Now hold on, because there are two more systems to consider. First, when you kill something, a little light blueish pill zips from the something down to a meter in the lower left. This is your "bomb" meter. When full, you can uncork a bullet-absorbing shield around yourself. For the few seconds that this lasts, you're invulnerable, and all nearby bullets get converted into little green pills.
Green pills zip up to a meter in the upper left. This is your score multiplier, and I've heard that it goes up to 16x; I need to get better with this, because I think I've only seen 8x once, and usually I only see 2x. The meter decays rapidly, so if you want the big multiples, you'll have to get green pills almost constantly. Aside from bullets absorbed by your shield bomb, they also come when you take out a bullet with your melee attack (and maybe your guns, I'm not quite sure about that). Unfortunately for you, only certain types of bullets can be taken out by your conventional weapons.
If you stop shooting for a bit, a blue shield appears on the prow of your craft. Run into bullets with this, and they're absorbed and converted green pills. Keep it sitting on an enemy ship, and it sends a constant stream of green pills to your multiplier meter. Since you're invulnerable while using your shield bomb, it seems to me like a good idea to trigger the bomb, do one quick semi-loop to suck up all the bullets and kill all the enemies around the screen, then park on top of a big enemy and get that fore-shield pill flow going. Do it right and you'll have your next shield bomb nearly fully charged by the time the first one ends, and you'll have a nice little score multiplier going.
That little dynamic seems to be the real schtick for this game, and so far it's pretty compelling--which is to say, I think I can see sorta how it's done, but it's hard! And I want to keep working at it.
Bullets come in huge, fairly slow, loose swarms, for the most part. As long as you don't absolutely waste your shield bomb, you won't really have to worry about touch dodging until I think midway through stage 3. That's where it really starts pouring in at you from all sides.
The music is a light breakbeat thing, kind of hip and cute and peppy. Not brilliantly memorable, perhaps, but sort of pleasant to play to. The graphics aren't actually cel shaded, I don't think: just covered with bright, simple textures, with some darker baked-on edges. If you looked really close, I bet they'd look kind of ugly, but the effect while playing is to give an impression of a big, bold, simulated world, kinda. It isn't really the most beautiful of visual styles, maybe, but it sets a unique tone, and it's very easy to pick out bullets and ships in this stark, sharp, high-contrast world.
As ports go, this DC version is quite bare-bones--no additional modes besides the regular Arcade mode, unless they have to be unlocked or something, which seems unlikely somehow. Tate (vertical screen) support is here, though, which is very much appreciated, as is the VGA support. Go Milestone! On the other hand, slowdown is not at all infrequent. It's usually more helpful than not, what with all the bullets onscreen while it's happening, but still, sometimes it would be nice to have the game running a little smoother.
Milestone went out on a limb with this design, as far as shooters go, and I hope it pays off for them, because they're starting to get pretty darn interesting. Radirgy has a whole lot more to it than Chaos Field, as far as stage complexity and game systems goes, and at least here in the early going it's got me pretty well hooked with its tough juggling and bonus multiplier systems.