Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Disc Station MSX #06

Sorry if anyone's disappointed by this, but I've skipped a couple of DSMSX volumes, simply because they have nothing interesting enough for me to write about on them. Volume 6 isn't exactly packed, either, but it'll do.
Disk one is where most of the action is for this volume. The first interesting thing is a "Kids" minigame, which has you trying to put facial features on a face. The catch is that you can't see the face or the features you've already put down. You won't get hours of fun out of this, but you will get at least a minutes or two of childish amusement when you make a horribly disfigured face.
The sole full game on this volume is Taito's Xyzolog. I really, really like this game. You control a red ball that rolls around single screen stages avoiding enemies and turning off red lights by touching them. Once all the red lights are off, you go to the next stage. Your only means of defence is to self destruct, releasing a bunch of smaller balls that destroy any enemies they hit. This takes one of your lives away, but it's better than dying by touching an enemy because you score points for the enemies you take out, the red lights don't get reset like they do when you die normally, and it gives you a few seconds until the enemies respawn. To balance things out, you get an extra life for every stage you complete. The movement of your red ball is pretty great, too: there's hills and pits in the stages, and the way you have to build up momentum to climb steeper hills feels perfect.
Another thing I like about this game is the way it looks. It has incredibly striking visuals mostly using just a few shades of blue and grey for the backgrounds. There's a nice, clean 1970s sci-fi feel to it all.
There's also the usual pixel animation, albeit an incredibly boring one this volume round: there's some fish swimming in the ocean, like a mid-90s screensaver.
Disk 2 is a bit of a wasteland, mainly containing all the magazine-related content. The only remotely interesting thing in here is a demo for some kind of Gundam strategy game. Though I couldn' even work out how to start playing, it did have some nice artwork.

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