game doesn't look good on small screenshots, I'm aware
Let's start this review with an apology. Waaay
back in April I would've reviewed Milestone's Crows.
There's a couple of reasons this review fell through. One
of them was the general lack of time I had, another was the
tiring nature of the 'Dreamcast 2D shooter review' process.
I didn't really enjoy Crows much, even while it was
better than Radirgy. Should you be looking for quality
2D blasts on the Dreamcast make sure to pick up games like
Ikaruga, Zero Gunner 2 or Under Defeat.
If you're incredibly desperate for more 2D blasting action
you might want to look at Castle of Shikigami 2,
Psyvariar or Border Down. If your hunger
for 2D shoot 'em ups still isn't satisfied after that..well
fine, go and pick up Crows. It's not terrible, just
kinda mediocre, keep that in mind.
Right, now we got that out of the way, we're
taking a look at..Lost and Found volume 2, a Saturn
release by Oldergames. Better still..it's not a 2D
shooter! Now we're talking! Oldergames is a company
that actively looks for unpublished software and new developments
and releases them on classic platforms like the Sega-CD, 3DO
and in this case the Saturn. Lost and Found volume 1
was released back in 2004 and only saw a run of 25 copies!
It featured an early version of an FMV adventure 'Rebellion'
and a disc containing some uknown FMV footage. Not exactly
the most shocking release ever, especially because you needed
a modded system to run them. Still, that didn't stop people
looking and paying loads of money for them after the sale
one of the 3 different ships and one of 3 styles
Recently Oldergames announced a L.A.F. vol 2
and I was one of the fifty lucky people to be able to
obtain it (at $29.95, not too bad a price) If it turned out
to be rubbish, I'd be able to sell it to some lunatic for
a tenfold! (just kidding there).
When L.A.F. 2 came in last week I was impressed with
the overall package. Sure it's just a DVD case with some labeled
discs and stuff, but overall it's a quality job by Oldergames.
The package -once again- contains two discs. One of them holds
an early development prototype of Three Dirty Dwarves,
the other contains the same Rebellion proto that
featured on volume one (as another chance for people to see
Three Dirty Dwarves: Early development prototype
Three Dirty Dwarves was a scrolling beam
'em up released on the all Saturn markets (1996 USA &
PAL, 1997 JPN). And boy did it get a hard time from the gaming
press. It was deemed 'unfunny', 'frustrating' and 'poorly
designed'. Now, to be honest, most of the criticisms pointed
at TDD were justified and most of them could be re-used
in this review. You see, as early as this prototype might
be (or not, but we'll come to that) most annoyances already
made it in. TDD features three characters running
along city themed surroundings beating up freaks, rats, spiked
balls (?!) and mostly more freaks. One of the 'dwarves runs
around with a baseball bat and set of balls, the second wears
a football helmet and tosses bowling balls and the third dwarf
simply uses a pump-action shotgun to dispose of enemies.
The dwarves themselves look funky and I most say I love the
way Segasoft and Appaloosa used all the
Saturn's fancy sprite effects like scaling and rotation on
the backgrounds. It gives TDD a fresh look and I
still think it looks really rather cool in places. The enemies
in TDD are definitely on the weird side, as said before most
of the enemies you'll bashing a green freaks, rats (and mutations
of them) and incredibly annoying spiked balls. The bosses
certainly aren't any different, ranging from a freak packing
in aggressive dogs to a full-blown gym-building walking around
on loads of tiny feet (don't ask me).
So why is TDD such a let-down?
a bubble boy! He lives in a bubble!'
Now I got the niggles out of the way, let's
talk about the actual game. Radirgy features a selection of
3 ships, all with three different weapon classes, effectively
supplying you with a choice of nine different ships. Not bad.
The story of Radirgy is a bit of a mystery to me, but the
most important thing you should know is that it basicly revolves
around a guy playing a (or the) game on his cell-phone. Every
once in a while he received messages from various persons
with either interesting level information, chit chat or -don't
you just hate it- spam!
The interface is very nicely done with 'battery
power' as your life supply, the 'signal' strenght your weapon
strenght and a special 'BBS' (are they referring to bulletin
board service?) mode in which you'll gain special powers for
a short while. It's all a bit confusing at first but after
playing the game for a fair while, you should have no problems.
As for the rest of the graphics; they look
fine, sir. Naturally, they don't look very realistic but that's
the whole appeal. If you want realistic graphics Under Defeat
will be more up your alley. Note that the screenshots on this
page don't do the game justice. Most sprites are very tiny
and just don't look good on small screenshots such as these.
The animation on these sprites isn't too bad either. Especially
the player ship is animated in way that gives it a very cool
3D-ish look. The bullets that fly your way are a little disappointing,
perhaps. Most enemies use the same kind of bullets and the
bullets themselves are a little plain. The bosses are done
brilliantly though, with some original themes. The fourth
boss is a flying car garage and launches cars in your direction!
The levels are somewhat varied but mostly
consist of cityscapes; a little more variation wouldn't have
hurt. Thankfully, the backdrops are pretty nicely done with
loads of small details such as lots of little parked cars,
bridges and buildings in form of calculators(!). The 2D graphics
are enhanced with some clever 3D touches (see the control
tower in the second movie for an idea) which makes everything
look just that little more interesting.
nice animation there
The gameplay in Radirgy is -to be honest- not very original.
It's standard bullet dodging most of the time, with the occasional
'sword' swing to dodge even more bullets. Bullets that come
in the usual patterns we must have seen a million times before.
The power-ups aren't too inspired either, with things such
as a 'shield/smart bomb' and a load of flying objects (bananas,
leafs, rice balls) of which their use is still unclear to
The difficulty of the game is a bit hit and
miss in my opinion. The first two stages are pretty easy and
can be completed without even being hit once. The third stage
is a lot harder (but still fair), but after that the game
becomes just a little too hard too quick for my liking. (yeah,
yeah, I know I'm rubbish at 2D shooters, but still). A couple
of scenes in the fourth and fifth stages are just screaming
'over the top' with the entire screen filled with LOADS of
firepower. It's a case of 'dodge or die' instead of killing.
Other things of note? Well, the soundtrack
of the game is pretty good and goes well with the game. I
don't like it as much as the Chaos Field one but
that's because I'm an electronica freak. The sound effects
are pretty good as well with excellent explosion sounds and
loads of cool cartoonish sounds that go with some of the little
'scenes'. The only effect I didn't like was the sound of the
'bubble' weapon, which gets on your nerves rather quickly.
After playing Radirgy for a good while I've
came to the conclusion that it was enjoyable but not much
more than that. Like said, all the little mistakes Mile Stone
made in Chaos Field were made again in Radirgy. Apart from
the graphics and sound the games are a lot alike (even the
credit system is the same) in the aspect that they are just
too basic a game to be worth the price asked. Hopefully Mile-stone
will learn from its mistakes and will make sure their next
console game is a little more complete..this just isn't worth
the $60 price asked.
fifth boss pulls a magic resurrection trick, d'oh!
Stylish graphics, plenty of detail on the ships but enemies
(and bullets) are a little plain and are used too often.
A special mention goes to the bosses, which are very original.
Not too many bits 'n bobs and overall a little uninspired.
It's not broken, though.
Just one mode (not even a multiplayer mode) but it does have
a good selection of ships.