Tuesday, 21 April 2015

GG Series Collection Plus (DS), Part 2

Time for part two of the review of this colossal officially-sanctioned multicart, and this installment covers the "shooting" section.

Piloting a ship that bears an uncanny resemblance to the Vic Viper, the player navigates tight space-tunnels and destroys stationary energy ball enemy things. The gimmick is that your shots are fired from two orbs on the front of your ship, and when you're not shooting, they'll turn to point in the opposite direction to the one you press. So you can shoot in eight directions. Although the lack of variety in the enemies does make the game feel cheap, it's still a lot of fun to play, and it's a shame the sequel is only available (as far as I know) on the Japanese DSiWare store.

Wonder Land
Feeling a little bit like a knock-off Touhou, Wonder Land is a simple, Alice in Wonderland-themed vertical shooter that does start to get a little bullet helly a few stages in. The player can shoot a slow, weak 3-way weapon or a fast, powerful narrow stream of bullets, and rather than bombs, there's a meter on the side of the screen that fills up when enemies are being shot. When the meter's full, the player can use a one-off attack that freezes time for a few seconds and turns all the bullets onscreen into points items. One cool touch is that damage done to enemies during the time-freeze doesn't actually happen until it ends. I saw screenshots of this before I'd unlocked it in the collection, and I have to say i was a little disappointed. It's a bit slow, the boss fights take far too long and are far too repetitive and though it's not a bad game, it's far from being the best shooter on this cartridge.

Dark Spirits
This one has a bit of an action-horror anime theme to it, and you control some flying guy with four familiars floating around him. The familiars can be made to focus all their fire straight ahead, or to spread their shots out either in front or behind your guy. This game's gimmick lies in the fact that there are a few different weapons to collect (and level up), and all four familiars collect power-ups individually, so if you choose, you can have each one firing a different weapon. When I first played this game a long time ago, I wasn't really impressed with it. Though it's one of the better looking games on the cartridge, I felt that the game itself didn't live up to that. Over time, however, I've changed my mind: it is actually pretty good, and one of the better games in this section.

It's safe to say that the "D" of the title stands for "Defence", as D-Tank sees the player controlling a little tank, charged with the responsibility to defend bases from invading enemy tanks. Although there's a fair few different enemy types, and a bunch of different power-ups to collect, this game just doesn't excite me at all. It's a bit slow, it takes a while to get even a bit challenging and it's just not very fun.

Score Attacker
This one is easily my favourite of the section. You have a power meter that can be filled up to five times, by shooting enemies and collecting the E items they drop on destruction. The meters can be spent either on a temporary shield that absorbs enemy bullets for points, or on one massive, super-damaging shot. The super shot is big enough to take out several smaller enemies at once, or do big damage to one (or two if they're right next to each other) large enemy. Furthermore, enemies that are killed with a super shot drop bigger E items, which not only fill up more meter, but are also worth more points. So it's all about the building and expenditure of meter to maximise your point-scoring potential and I love it. There's also a bit of a dynamic difficulty level thing going on, scoring more points on one stage means playing the next stage on a harder difficulty, which means there are more bullets to absorb for more points.

Shadow Army
Something a little bit different with this one, as it's a psuedo-stealth game, that sees the player infiltrating enemy bases and killing everyone they meet with a variety of weapons that all have limited ammunition and their own uses. It's got a few neat little touches, like having to reload, and being able to hide behind boxes and pop out to shoot. It's hard, and it can start to feel a little repetitive after a while, but it's not a bad little game.

Harisen Bon!
Last, and definitely least, is this game that's clearly inspired by Kirby and maybe also Starfy, about an orange puffer fish floating about collecting stars and shooting spikes at other fish. Though it looks nice and colourful, and it has pretty nice music, it's slow and boring and awkward to play. It's definitely the worst of the section, I wouldn't bother rushing to unlock it.

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