Thursday, 10 March 2016

Simple 1500 Series Vol. 35: The Shooting (Playstation)

I said it in my review of another Simple Series game with a very to-the-point title, Vol. 24: The Gun Shooting, but this game isn't as generic as you'd expect. Not only does it have a plot told in (thankfully skippable) FMV cutscenes between stages, but there's also little bits of voice-acted dialogue between your pilot and their comrades as you play through the stages themselves. As well as there being more plot and more effort put into the presentation than you'd expect, it's also a pretty full-featured (if not particularly original) horizontal shooter that gives the player lots of attack options.

But before I get onto how it plays, i'll talk a little bit more about how it looks. Now, the difficulty spikes massively in the third stage, and as a result, I haven't been able to get past that stage's boss. But, those three stages display either a love of the game's contemporaries, or a lack of shame in ripping them off, depending on how cynical you are. For example, the first stage takes place in a futuristic cityscape reminiscent of Einhander, the second over and under an idyllic ocean that calls to mind G-Darius, and the third a desert with a brief foray into an underground technological tunnel that vaguely reminded me of Thunderforce V, but only a little. All of this in that "low-poly models with low-resolution textures" aesthetic with which I'm sure all my discerning readers are enamoured.

Though the game doesn't have any power-ups, the player does start with an array of different weapons that really really remind me of Thunderforce V (as an aside, The Shooting was apparently developed by two companies called CyberDreams and C.I.I, and I haven't been able to find anything else they worked on. I guess there's a chance that those are psuedonyms for ex-Tecnosoft employees, but this is pure conjecture on my part). You have a machine gun, fired from the front of your ship, and from two options. By moving left or right while not shooting, the two options can be moved around the ship, allowing the player to shoot i wide angles, as well as above, below and behind. You've also got a lock-on weapon, which can shoot up to sixteen guided missiles in a nice Itano Circus-esque fashion. Unfortunately, it takes so long to fire that you'll usually have killed all the enemies with your machine gun by the time the missiles reach them (it's useful in boss fights, though). Finally, you have a forward-firing giant, powerful laser that's limited by a power meter at the top of the screen. The power meter recharges in a matter of seconds, but the catch is that it's shared with another, non-offensive feature of your ship: a quick dodging move that can pass harmlessly through enemy bullets.

What ties all these weapons and features together is a control system that's simple and elegant. Square fires your machine gun, holding X locks on your missiles and releasing fires them, and the dodge and laser are assigned to the two right shoulder buttons. It's obviously designed around the idea that the player will spend much of the game holding down the square button, but will also need regular, comfortable and instant access to the others (which wouldn't have been the case had all four functions been assigned to the Playstation controller's four face buttons). It's a little thing, but it's done so well that I feel it's worth mentioning.

Simple 1500 Series Vol. 35: The Shooting is a pretty good game. It's nothing particularly spectacular or original, and the sudden upturn in difficulty presented by stage 3 is a pain, but it's much better than a budget title with a generic title really needs or deserves to be. Apparently, it also got a western release as "Shooter: Space Shot", which somehow feels like an even worse title. I don't know how intact the US version is, though, as we all know that western budget publishers loved to meddle in games, especially shooting games.

No comments:

Post a Comment