| paleface [sys=DC; cat=Shooter_Vert; loc=JPN]
|Download added: charselect.jpg (81221 bytes)
"Three characters to choose from. I pick Fake Yellow ship!"
Just some screenshots for now.
|Sorry, make that "Order" field mode. You toggle between it and "Chaos" field mode with the C button. Order is the default. In Chaos, both your and the enemy's weapons are larger and more powerful, the background changes to a reddish type of thing, and your missiles will lock onto enemy bullets.
The bullet lock is interesting. If you fire missiles in Chaos field when there are tons of enemy bullets onscreen you'll fire off a corresponding ton of missiles, sorta Bangai-O style. It's hard to get them to hit the enemy though, they tend to fly off after the bullets instead.
|A boss-rush widescreen vertical shooter, Chaos Field mixes inspirations from numerous previous shooters into something distinctly different, and the end result is a shooter with a nice solid pace to the action and a wide variety of play styles.
You choose from three pairs of ships and pilots, each having different specific attacks, though all three share the same types: a fast shot attack, a Radiant Silvergun (see entry 365)-style sword, a "Meta" power attack, and a lock-on missile attack. These together with a "Field" toggle are all managed from three buttons, so you trigger the Meta and Missiles you with two-button combinations, again rather like Radiant Silvergun. The Dreamcast version allows you to map the combo commands to individual buttons if you prefer, but I've found the three-button arcade style to be quite easy to pick up.
There's no two-player option here, and no small enemies: just you against a boss. Beat that boss (or sub-boss, if you prefer) and it may morph to a different form, but after finally beating it you just go straight on to the next boss with no mucking about in between. I'm not sure if this means that the game is relatively short in terms of straight play-through, but it makes for some fun and intense play sessions.
The bosses are more or less generic big ship things with lots of guns, nothing really amazing to watch. They make up for things by tending to move around in interesting ways and by overlapping different bullet patterns. Instead of the individual fast bullets of a Psikyo-style shooter like Gunbird (see entry 428) or the tight grid formations of a Cave shooter like ESPGaluda 550), the Chaos Field bosses tend to have a variety of somewhat loose, patterns that sometimes appear to run on different overlapping cycles, so as you fight you can't really predict what combination of bullets is going to be coming out next. This makes for a nice feeling of freedom and improvisation as you dodge the attacks.
You can also do a good amount of improvising on your own due to the variety of attack types available. The sword whips around the front part of your ship and will destroy all incoming bullets except purple ones. It also does a decent but not incredible amount of damage to the enemy. Meta attacks vary widely but tend to be summoned, fixed-position energy formations that do constant damage when they come into contact with something. Missiles have various almost Soukyugurentai (see entry 258)-ish lock on methods, and can shoot out at multiple targets at once.
Chaos Mode mixes things up further. You can toggle between Chaos and Order modes at the touch of a button, but you have to wait five seconds or so before you can toggle back. Since mode-toggling destroys all bullets onscreen, you can use this once in a while to save yourself if you think of it quickly enough (I haven't been too good at this). In Chaos Mode, both your own and the boss' attacks are larger and more powerful. The bosses tend to shoot a lot more purple, un-blockable bullets, and your missiles can lock on to enemy bullets.
At first this seems a little pointless, but you'll find that if you time your lock-n-shoot right, by the time your missiles wind onto screen the enemy bullets will be offscreen, so the missiles fly forward and smack into the boss. Since the number of missiles launched corresponds to the number of locks you get, and you can lock entire bullet formations at once, this means that you can potentially hit the boss with a hundred or so missiles simultaneously. Furthermore, chain/cluster hits build up a score multiplier of some sort, giving you more points while the multiplier lasts, or something.
Missile and Meta attacks use a chunk of your energy meter. You refill the meter by collecting gems knocked off destroyed parts of bosses. If you're good with the missiles you can pretty much keep them charged up all the time by getting all the gems that come down. On the other hand, another strategy is to keep your meter maxed at all times. Why? Because while maxed, instead of power gems you get point gems, and getting a lot of these can make a major impact on your score. My best success thus far has been avoiding the power weapons and getting as many point gems as possible. But I like how there are different approaches you can take. In fact if I was really going to try to be good I suspect that I would try to hit the boss with a missile combo in Chaos Field to raise the score multiplier, then switch back to Order Field, recharge to full, and kill him to get lots of point gems.
While the game saves your button layout and time played (which unlocks more continue credits), it doesn't save high scores, which is a pretty weird thing for a shooting game not to do. Dang.
The music is trance/techno kind of stuff which suits the slow slugfest nature of the game well, although I may be biased toward that genre anyway. As far as graphics go, the ship designs are pretty generic, really, but the colors and bullet patterns are nice, and I like how when you switch to Chaos Field the backgrounds texture-swap to a glowing red color scheme. When a lot of effects are shooting off you'll hit a good chunk of slowdown, in fact a huge missile counterattack will pretty much bring the game to a crawl as long as the missiles are onscreen. This is usually rather helpful, since it gives you more time to make out what's going on, but you can't by any means say that the game maintains a consistently smooth framerate--although I think a lot of the slowdown is sort of "by design."