Saturday, June 19, 2010

Gundemonium Recollection

Gundemonium Recollection for the PS3 is an arcade-style 2D shooter originally released on the PC in Japan back in 2007. This is the first game in the Gundemonium trilogy. It has classic, side-scrolling gameplay that is fast paced and challenging (the kind of challenging that makes me happy I'm not going to spend $50 in quarters over the span of the next week). I'm a sucker for mindless, arcade-style games, so it's no wonder that I find this game extremely entertaining.

The graphics in Gundemonium Recollection look like very typical animé. Colors are bright, making it easy to see everything that's happening on screen. Character animations are very reminiscent of 16-bit RPG's (think the sprite character in Secret of Mana). My only problem in this area are that the characters and enemies are quite large, so there really isn't all that much room to move around on the screen.

Controls are extremely simple. You have shoot, which autofires as long as you hold down X, Mana Action which does a special attack using mana points, Bomb Action which does more of a “clean house” kind of special attack, and then Demonic Shift which does more of a “kill everything on screen” special attack but at the cost of a life point. That's it. If you find this difficult, go back to Pong.

And now the FUN part, gameplay. Going through the game is pretty simple. You start an Area, blow up some enemies, kill 1 or 2 mini bosses, start another Area. Finish 3 Areas and you fight a main boss. When you beat him you finish the Chapter. After 4 chapters, you fight Elixirel, who's basically every boss you've fought so far. I haven't counted how many times you kill him before he actually dies, but he can be frustratingly hard. Fortunately, Gundemonium Recollection auto-saves your game, so that when you lose all your lives or start the game up the next day, you can start at the last chapter you were at. Makes it easy to battle Elixirel 20x. Playing through the whole game will take you about 20-25 minutes, depending on how long it takes you to beat each boss.

My favorite part of this game is the Friction System. Basically, there's only one place that your character can get hit and take damage. Although the characters aren't vampires, their heart is the sensitive spot and it's cleverly noted by a red jewel on the character's chest. Hundreds of bullets fly across the screen and as long as you don't get hit in the heart, you'll get through the battle without a scratch. (This reminds me of 1943, where I wouldn't even pay attention to any enemies on the screen. I'd keep my eye on the plane and just move it around bullets on the screen.) The more friction you build up (e.g., the more scratch free hits you take) the more you build up your Phase Level, which increases the difficulty of the level. Throwing a bomb or gaining a life point will lower your Phase Level.

So that's it. For $6, you'll have yourself an extremely fun bullet-hell shoot-em-up. Also available on PSN is the Gundemonium Bundle, for $15, which will get you the whole Gundemonium trilogy.

- Donny

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