Monday, 11 July 2016

Retro Force (Playstation)

"Cultural appropriation" might be a bit strong for what Retro Force is, but it can't be denied that there is something at least a little annoying about the circumstances under which it was released. In the late 90s, unless you were able to import, you pretty much didn't get to play any home ports of arcade shooting games, and if you did, they were often insulting, mangled messes like the infamous Mobile Light Force, stripped of its character to make it "less Japanese", for some reason. It's in this climate that Retro Force, a vertically scrolleing shooter with a Wipeout/Jet Force Gemini-esque faux-Japanese aesthetic was released.

All this aside, is it actually a good game, though? No. The first and biggest problem you'll encounter is the controls: your ship doesn't stop moving until about a second after you stop pressing the d-pad. This alone is pretty unforgivable in a game and a genre that demands precision at all times. I guess that's why you have a pretty long health bar for each of your lives, and almost nofeedback on getting hit, making you into a kind of bullet-sponging ice hockey puck.

Another problem is that your weapons all feel incredibly weak, and power-ups are unbelievably rare: you don't see one until midway through the second stage. Speaking of stages, there's some odd choices in the game's visual design, like how the first stage is set in a pretty cool-looking futuristic city, while the next three stages are spent flying above boring, white ice fields.

I could keep going on and on about all the flaws this game has, and how it's just no fun to play at all, but that kind of negativity isn't very interesting, despite what thousands of squealing youtube critics would have you believe. I'll just say that it's a bad game, and there are many other, better shooters on the Playstation alone.

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