| paleface [sys=PS2; cat=Shooter_Vert; loc=JPN] |
|Reference added: 96|
"Shienryu and Double Shienryu"
Two, two, two games in one! You've got Shienryu and the apparently console-only (I hear the arcade version got canned?) Shienryu Explosion, together in a nice budget release (Simple 2000 Series Vol. 37, to be precise!).
Unlike the PS1 version (see entry 96), this time around Shienryu has a proper vertical mode and you really get to appreciate the surprising amount of explosions and debris that comes blasting out of what looks at first like a pretty sedate shooter. I was ready to write it off as a fairly mediocre game, in fact, but for some reason continued playing and then got to liking it more and more.
One thing that jarred with me at first was the Raiden-wannabe quality, what with the triple weapon system and the profusion of minute debris effects. But eventually I realized that the weapon system wasn't nearly as annoying as Raiden's because the powerups are fixed at one weapon type, instead of rotating, and really it doesn't matter that much which weapon you pick because they all kick ass--except in a few boss fights, where one or the other may have an advantage based on how the boss moves or blocks.
I really like the Speed ("S") and Power ("P") powerup system, so simple but it works so well.
Again like Raiden, the game mostly assaults you with individual, pretty fast shots. You don't get the Raiden super-fast-and-cheap shots here, however. At first a couple out-of-the-blue instant death beam attacks bugged me, and really they should have given more warning (wait, I can only think of one that doesn't give some warning now) but after the first play you'll remember exactly where they are.
Sound ain't that great, and the graphics won't blow you away with artistic merit, and in fact are fairly generic, but they move quickly and are handsome enough to do the job as far as low-res 2D shooters go.
A couple things about the port could have been better. The menus have weird mechanics, and you can't, as far as I can tell, switch over from Shienryu to Explosion without restarting the system. Worst of all: 100 slots in the high score table but no high score save. What the heck? No options save either, so you have to reset vertical mode and then switch the control rotation off (why is that defaulting to horizontal control when you switch to vert screen? blah) every time you start the game up.
|Shienryu Explosion will always hold a place in my heart as the first shooter I can remember single-crediting. And on "Hard" no less. Which should tell you that the game is way too easy.|
The game gives out bombs and extra lives like free condoms. Not that there's anything wrong with that, mind you, except that it makes it fairly easy to sail right through the game, even on the hardest difficulty level.
Fortunately, all is not over at that point--you can still go for a higher score! I like the shooting and scoring mechanism here. There are three shot powers: Min, Mid, and Max. You've got a button for each one--incidentally, there are no powerups in the game aside from Bombs, and this makes for a pretty intensive exercise with the default weapons. Anyway, with your beam gun you've pretty much got to hold the Fire button down rather than tapping it--a tap will just fire a short fizzle. This applies to all three of the ships available. So you hold one of the three shot buttons. The heavier the shot button you're using, the slower you move. However, you get more points for taking out ships with heavier shots, and also, if you destroy a ship with Max Shot, you're rewarded with a burst of golden star pickups. Stars add up to extra lives, though later on it takes more stars to get another life.
So while you can zip through the game using Min Shot to dodge the bad stuff, your score won't be nearly as high as the score of someone who went through using Max Shot exclusively. Which is no easy feat, because with the wide-screen (non-vertical I mean) setup of this game, you've constantly got a lot of horizontal space to cover, otherwise little badguys swoop down the unprotected side and get you in a nasty crossfire>
Now, that scoring stuff is great and all, but if I can beat the game on Hard on one credit the first day I play it, the game is just plain too easy. The scoring system is kind of neat but the fact of the matter is that, having got all the way through the game, my urge to pick it up again over all the other games I have that I *haven't* got through goes way down. I should also complete it with the two other ships, I suppose, and with the other bomb types (there are six or so, you pick the one you want at the beginning of the game). Realistically speaking, however, that's unlikely to happen. I mean, obviously I've mastered this game. :P
Also worth of note is the excessive use of colored lighting and particle effects--frequently there's so much sparkle the smoke onscreen that you really can't see your ship. It looks purty though. Oh and Explosion saves high scores, thank goodness.