| paleface [sys=PS2; cat=Shooter_Vert; loc=JPN] |
|Vertical arcade-mode shooter with unusual mechanics. Each of the six or so playable characters has a more-or-less straight-ahead shot attack, a bomb, and then a charge attack that varies widely from character to character. All these folks are psychic, naturally, and fly along over the city unleashing mind rays on freaky-looking baddies that include giant stuffed bears, giant mutant tanks with eyes under their turrets, floating doll heads and, of course, other psychics. Charge attacks include nifty things like summoning an old person with a knife who flies around the screen chopping things while you dodge bullets, or spinning a multi-bladed pyschic sword around yourself. Some of these psychic charge thingies can even eat bullets, which comes in quite handy as the game slings bullets a-plenty your way.|
Now, the whole trick of getting a high score lies in whacking the baddies with your charge attack, 'cause then they drop buckets of coins that zing right into your pocket without you even having to move around to pick them up. Getting coins not only gives you points and powers up your pyschic abilities, it also adds to a general score multiplier as you go along. Maybe it's just me but certain characters seem to have the advantage with their particular psychic charge attacks. Oh, you have to be careful with the charge attack however because while doing it you move very slowly and can't dodge large bullet clusters. Finally, you've also got a "buzzing" thing like Psyvariar going on, where if you can stick right up next to bullets your shots change color and get much more powerful.
The presentation is top notch, you can save a replay when your game ends, and the button mapping actually remaps the buttons used to navigate the menus as well, which is something that is not done nearly often enough in games. The whole affair has a sort of eeries Akira-esque evil psychic children feeling to it and some nice spooky music and character art. I'm not a huge fan of the in-game graphics, though--lots of chunky sprite scaling visible, way too much gunky-looking fog everywhere in the 3D backgrounds, and just generally a lack of color and style coordination everywhere.
Fortunately the game itself is so fun that you'll be able to overlook the odd graphics easily enough, and the character variety and scoring devices keep things interesting as you dig deeper into it.
|Download added: bigbrain.gif (109188 bytes)|
"Check out the big brain on that boss."
The graphics have a funky blurry quality, even aside from Alfa System's usual preference for heavy fog. There's a slider in the options screen to change from "Soft" to "Hard" image quality, but even on "Hard" it's still oddly blurry. Maybe they're rescaling from a different resolution or something--I noticed too that the active screen space is smaller than normal. The 3D ground wiggles funny when the 2D character shifts side-to-side.
That boy with the old-man charge attack (an old man just goes and humps all the enemies automatically, one by one, while the boy watches) is just so darn unbalanced (in the sequel too).