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by Majesco

level1302-01.jpg (2704 bytes)Had Iridion 3D come out as a coin-op game fifteen years ago I would have blown good chunks of my allowance on it. It’s like a really tight version of Buck Rogers (I wonder if I’m the only person who remembers that game); a game that robbed me of what little coin I had. I liked the game so much I even bought a watered down cassette-based version for my Coleco Adam (does anyone remember that system?). If you’re not familiar with Buck, Iridion plays a lot like Space Harrier with sharper graphics. There’s something about being put into a cockpit that changes how you view and play a game. The overhead view distances you somewhat from the action. But when the enemies are heading straight for you, getting bigger and bigger as they approach, then you are there. Buck, Space Harrier, and, of course, the original Star Wars all made you believe you were a space pilot. The effect is a little watered down on the small Game Boy Advance screen, but it still does a pretty good job of putting you in the middle of the action.

level204-01.jpg (3448 bytes)I hate to admit it, but every now and again, I get suckered by the graphics of a game. When I saw the first screen shots, I knew I had to play this game at launch. I didn’t even question whether or not it would be any good. It looked fantastic and that was good enough for me. Now that I have it in my hands, I know for certain that it does indeed look fantastic. I promise that you will wow anyone who picks it up. The 3D effect is remarkably well done. Even the explosions look great. However, there was one little thing about the ship that really annoyed me. It doesn’t tilt. It stays perfectly level as you strafe left to right on the screen. For all of the detail that went into the background, I was surprised that such little attention was paid to the actual ship.

level_2001-01.jpg (3456 bytes)The gameplay is incredibly shallow, but most space shooters aren’t exactly known for their depth of gameplay. You only use one button with the D-pad. The game consists of little more than shooting and avoiding getting shot. It’s good fun, but a little repetitive. There is a weapons power up system that adds a little bit of variety, but the power ups seems a little pedestrian compared to some of the more popular 2D space shooters out there. It’s clear that all of the attention went into the bosses and backgrounds. Gameplay and controls were secondary. Majesco seems to have been intent on creating a really strong demo for the Game Boy Advance. The problem with demos is that they’re only concerned with superficial elements like graphics and sound. Quality games are less concerned with first impressions than they are with lasting impressions.

boss013-01.jpg (6048 bytes)Another strike against the game is the lack of a battery back up. With the advances that gaming technologies have made in the last 10 years, I resent relying on a pencil and pad of paper to save my place. There is no reason for entering in long complicated passwords other than the bottom line. If more people don’t start using battery back ups, I anticipate that we’ll see a pen and notepad peripheral in the next few months. Not a pleasant idea.

I can’t slam the game too much. It sucked me in for a few entertaining hours; I just left the table a little unsatisfied. The top-notch presentation wasn’t enough to distract me from the lack of substance. However, if you want to make your friends jealous of your new Game Boy Advance, you’re not going to find another title that will make their jaws drop quicker.

Jason Frank   (16/25/2001)

Snapshot

Ups: Great graphics; great animation; great bosses.

Downs: Very simple gameplay; password save?!

System Reqs:
Game Boy Advance

 


1995-2001
GamesFirst! Magazine