Monday, 9 July 2018

Ordyne (PC Engine)

Not every game has to be original to be fun,a fact that definitely works in Ordyne's favour. Though Namco's output in the late 80s was mostly pretty varied (something that shows in the massive array of PC Engine games they released in the console's early days, most of which were pretty unique in some way, and most of which were also really high quality. Making it so much stranger that they didn't release any PC Engine CD games, as far as I know), Ordyne is a game that's clearly very heavily influenced by SEGA's Fantasy Zone.

For a start, it's a cute, cartoony shooting game, though to be fair, that was a pretty popular thing at the time, and Ordyne isn't as strange or psychedelic as Fantasy Zone. The real similarities lie in its actual mechanics. Firstly, you have a straight forward shot fired with one button, and a bomb that drops down from the front of your ship fired with the other, and like in FZ, playing this game without a turbo controller will build up massive muscles in your right arm as you try to shoot fast enough to get through the enemies. For some reason, Ordyne starts giving out a lot of bullet sponge enemies that take a ton of punishment from the second stage onwards, which is never a good thing.

THe other big thing taken from Fantasy Zone is the item shop. I know bombs and item shops are fairly common things in this era, but both of them together in a horizontally-scrolling cute-em-up just feels like too big a set of coincidences. The shop does work a little differently to FZ's shop, though. While Fantasy Zone and its sequels have every item available throughout the game as long as you've collected enough money for them, each time the shop appears in Ordyne, there's only three non-randomly selected items available. Also, when you by a weapon, its use is limited by time, not by how many time you fire it (just like in Fantasy Zone).

To be fair to Ordyne, it's not totally a rip off of Fantasy Zone. It's one-way forced scrolling, as opposed to FZ's Defender-style free roaming style, for example. More interestingly, there's the occasional appearance of the Dream Company, which allows you to gamble 1000 crystals for the chance to win either a power up or a larger amount of money, and other such prizes. I'm not sure if it's possible to lose at this, since t hasn't happened to me yet. Maybe I've just been very lucky, but still, if you see the weird clock guy floating around, approach him.

Ordyne might not be an original game, and there are definitely much better PC Engine shooting games in the same price range, but it's still a pretty good game. I wouldn't bother actively seeking it out, but if you see a copy on sale at a slightly lower price than usual, you probably won't regret picking it up.

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