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Iridion 3D

Review By:  Jared Black

Developer:  Shin'en
Publisher:  Majesco Sales
# of Players:  1
Genre:  Shooter
ESRB:  Everyone
Date Posted:  7-30-01

One of the first GBA titles we got a good look at was Shiníenís Iridion 3D. With graphics that put other GBA titles to shame, old-skool shooter action and some excellent sound programming, Iridion 3-D looked set to surprise everyone and become one of the best portable titles yet. Unfortunately, somehow it just all went wrong along the way. All the ingredients for a classic are still there, but for some reason Iridion 3D just falls short of being a good game.

After giving the game a lot of time and effort, itís apparent that the blame for Iridion 3Dís mediocrity falls squarely on the gameplay. The main problem with a game of this type is that the gameplay is very simplistic. The screen scrolls forward while you dodge and shoot back. This simplicity is ok whenever there are a variety of areas, targets, weapons, etc., but here things are pretty bland. Each level, while pretty, looks almost exactly the same throughout the level. What you see in the first 30 seconds is what youíll experience throughout the rest of the level. The weapon choices are very limited, with only minor upgrades (aka two bullets instead of one) and no mega-weapons like those found in games like RayCrisis. Those mega-weapons are half the fun in any shooter, as they can often wipe out an entire screen of enemies at once. The enemies that come after you are nicely varied in both look and attack patterns, but often it can be hard to distinguish what type of enemy something is until it gets really close to you. This isnít helped any by the size of your ship, which is huge compared to the rest of the screen and often obscures the targets youíre shooting at.

Thatís not to say that the gameplay is horrible, because it certainly isnít. There are plenty of frantic moments to be found, and it is entertaining to be able to play this type of game on the GBA. The gameplay just doesnít measure up to other games in the genre, and doesnít offer enough variety to keep the gamerís attention for extended periods of time.

Shiníenís technical excellence shines through in every other area however. The graphics are awesome, with detailed enemies, vibrant and complex-looking environments, and a rock-solid framerate. Somehow the game even looks better in person than in screenshots, thanks to the GBAís "sharp" screen.

The sound is also another fine piece of coding. The music, while slightly generic, has a great feel to it that perfectly fits this type of game. With a decent set of headphones, the richness and tempo of the music really help to pull you into the game. The sound effects all sound wonderful as well.

Despite excellence in both graphics and sound, Iridion 3-Dís stale gameplay and repetitive nature really hinder the gameís overall value. If youíre a fan of classic shooting games, you may find Iridion 3-D to be worth a purchase. Everyone else is advised to avoid it.


  • Fantastic graphics that look even better than these screenshots.
  • Awesome sound engine with lots of good effects. Headphones recommended.


  • Gameplay is flat, with limited variety.
  • The playerís ship is too big, thus obscuring enemies in the distance.
  • Often hard to judge distances properly. Better use of scrolling wouldíve helped immensely.

Final Verdict:

Iridion 3D really tries, but it just canít get over that "mediocre" hump. Hopefully Shiníenís next title will feature a little more emphasis on beefing up the gameplay, and a little less emphasis on wowing GBA owners with flashy effects.

Overall Score: 6.3

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