| paleface [sys=PS1; cat=Shooter_Horiz; loc=JPN]
|Fish heads, fish heads, low-poly fish heads!
Flying fish heads aren't all fun and dance, though, particularly when they belong to the numerous bosses and sub-bosses in this game who take half an hour to kill each. Well maybe not quite that long but still the boss battles here are quite epic. The 3d bosses, each of whom easily dwarfs your little craft, each have multiple attack patterns, most of which are downright nasty or visually spectacular or both.
The graphic effects are truly gorgeous, with hordes of missles and bombs exploding around you as dragons or death rays twist in the 3d background--the 3d gradient effects in particular are jaw-dropping, and one of the background patterns in one of the last levels beats Rez at its own game.
I say "one of the last levels" because after each stage you pick from one of two succeeding stages, so the game expands like a pyramid, adding an insane amount of replay value.
Downsides? Well, the graphics are so concentrated on the spectacular that it's sometimes hard to distinguish your ship from the background, the collision detection with some of the projectiles is frequently mysterious, and there are numerous instances of marked slowdown even in single-player, particularly after you've captured an enemy.
Oh yeah I forgot to explain that: some of the powerups you get are "Capture Balls" that you can fire at an enemy ship--if you hit them, they are drawn to orbit your ship and fire for you, their precise pattern and function depending on what type of ship you captured. Pretty simple, though the weapon system is otherwise limited to straightforward gun bolts and upward/downward curving missles. If you tire of a particular trapped enemy you can tap the Capture button again to detonate them in a massive blast.
Captures are really rare in boss fights, though, so for the most part against bosses you're just pecking away with your standard blaster, which may help explain why the boss battles last so long. And if you can't get enough of 'em, there's a separate "Boss Battle" mode where you can skip all that mere fluff and filler and between and go directly from one boss battle to the next. Boss Battle mode has me thinking that the bosses are simply timed rather than destructible by weapon fire, because you can set BB mode to "Free Play" and just watch your ship idling against the bosses: the bosses die after a number of minutes.
Hmm... Still, one of the most spectacular horizontal shooters I've seen on the PlayStation--wait--probably the most spectacular.