Thursday, 29 May 2014

Nemesis (GB)

Looks ominous, but Easter Island head??? Konami you've some explaining to do

More Gameboy reviews and this time it's a lovely little quaint side scrolling spaceship shooter called Nemesis. Sadly that's not the Nemesis from Resident Evil punching his hand-dick through idiots faces. Nor a righteous designation of retribution or punishment, personified by a "roight 'orrible khant, me", though the wonderfully lyrical stylings of BrickTop would be amusing anyway. Perhaps if we can do it to the trackline of Darth Vader... No it's been done already.

I... should have paused before taking this image.
Nemesis, is part of the Gradius series though released on the gameboy rather than in Arcades and on the NES. Retitled for some reason and made all the redundant when re-released later with the other game's title instead. Makes you wonder what the point of it was really. However while it's here, I'm reviewing it and despite a few flaws it's a good game overall. There are problems as usual with games but then nobody has made the perfect game and this isn't it because it lacks an ability to nuke-slam people from orbit. What we do have is a side-scrolling game with variable items to collect and use as powerups.

The distinct difference that Nemesis has over games like R-Type is that you choose your power up. Speed, missiles, double shots, lasers, extra ships (options) and Force Fields are all collected by simple power up objects and you select which one you want when you want. The problem with that is you're restricted to having to collect 6 items to get a shield that lasts 3 hits or one BIG object that may or may not kill you outright anyway. If you're continuing from a checkpoint there may not even BE enough objects to get the shield. You also cannot have double AND laser at the same time.

Kinda defeats the point really...
Given the lack of available colour, the detail and such for the levels is astounding for what was possible and what was achieved. Sometimes the enemies get a little difficult to differentiate between each other, the projectiles they're firing and the background/foreground, while it does seem that nearly every effort has been made to try and keep these objects and items separate and discernable enough for the player to recognise as enemies or things that need to be avoided.
Missiles, Double, Speed, but I need more, MUCH more POWAH!

The music is upbeat enough that it becomes memorable and while not entirely in fitting with the theme and style of the game (one boss music in particular is very out of nowhere and makes it sound far more dangerous and sinister than one might expect from a side-scrolling shoot em up. Else the usual beeps and plinks of the gunfire, laser fire, explosions and power ups are clear enough to know which is which (the fact they're being played when you do key things anyway is often the biggest giveaway at that point) and it all goes hand in hand together for the game.

Shields are out, boss just arrived, it's go time!
The controls are fairly solid, one button to fire and one to use your power ups and the well recognised D-Pad for movement. However you'd be advised to NOT sit at the back of the screen (i.e. the left edge) as you'll likely be smashed apart by enemies approaching from the rear and you'll have no indication of it happening until you actually explode, lose all your power ups and have to restart from a checkpoint. Quite the unfair instance of gaming there and it will happen more and more often as you progress through the game towards the final boss. (A blob with 2 guns... bit anticlimactic there. Imagine the CyberDemon turning up in Doom2 with a fucking water pistol and you're on my wavelength now for disappointment).

Even in the future, Margaret Thatcher haunts us.
Sometimes in games like this you'll encounter things like Easter Island heads (It IS Konami after all) and it makes no sense. It doesn't here either but at least the graphics artists made it look like it fits in well enough to have them hurl large hoops the size of your ship. Likewise with other levels, everything fits within that level and the fluidity of the scenery is impressive all the same. Each level also has a sub-boss of sorts (which in some cases is HARDER than the actual boss, but oh well) and it all makes for a good sized challenge with a decent level of replay value. Well worth playing at least once all the way through.

The Konami code works here too, I should add. But just once...