Had Iridion 3D come out as a
coin-op game fifteen years ago I would have blown good chunks of my allowance on it.
Its like a really tight version of Buck Rogers (I wonder if Im 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 youre not familiar with Buck, Iridion plays a lot
like Space Harrier with sharper graphics. Theres 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.
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 didnt 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 doesnt 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.
The gameplay is incredibly shallow, but most space shooters arent 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. Its 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. Its 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
theyre only concerned with superficial elements like graphics and sound. Quality
games are less concerned with first impressions than they are with lasting impressions.
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 dont start using battery back ups, I anticipate that
well see a pen and notepad peripheral in the next few months. Not a pleasant idea.
I cant 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 wasnt enough to
distract me from the lack of substance. However, if you want to make your friends jealous
of your new Game Boy Advance, youre not going to find another title that will make
their jaws drop quicker.