| paleface [sys=PS2; cat=Shooter_Horiz; loc=JPN] |
|I never really caught the Thunder Force series. There seems to be a lingering affection for it among old shmuppers, so I guess there must have been something to like. I vaguely remember being able to choose which level to play next in whatever PS1 version it is that I have--V I guess, and you can do that here, too.|
This one's from Sega, who wasn't involved in the previous games. I read some interview with the project lead once, and he was basically trying to develop a shooting game engine that his team could have used to crank out sequels to many beloved old shooter series. His love for old shooters is sort of admirable, but bringing mediocre sequels to revered old games is not the way to endear yourself to fans--and this one is certainly mediocre, if not worse.
It tries hard, and there's a lot going on: lots of things whizzing round, J-rock playing, huge obstacle-laden levels, and multiple weapons available right from the get go. There's actually too much going on, and it's often hard to see where you are or what's coming at you--really hard, actually, and I think this has to do--aside from the overall design, and stage design--with a fuzzy, flickery rendering of many of the moving items in the game, including your ship and bullets a lot of the time, and enemy bullets and obstacles. There's just a lot of hazy stuff happening, and suddenly you died. Oh dear.
The other not so great thing is that although this is a horizontal shooter, with 2D-style control of your 3D ship flying sideways along a level, they decided to shake things up by moving the camera around to different angles with no warning, which really throws off your aim. They also love to bring in enemies from all sides, and even though some of the weapons can aim in unusual directions, this is a big pain, especially when combined with the camera swiveling around and about--and the designers seemed to think that combining these two nasty mechanics would make them more awesome, but in fact the opposite is the case.
It's theoretically possible that there's a halfway decent shooter buried somewhere under this mess, but nobody's going to find it. This really didn't turn out well, and I have the feeling that it killed the shooting game revival project that gutsy Sega producer was aiming for.