By: Jared Black
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.
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.
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
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
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