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Game Guys review - Under Defeat HD: Deluxe Edition

2:26 PM, Dec 27, 2012   |    comments
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  • PS3 game 'Under Defeat HD: Deluxe Edition' from Rising Star Games.
  • PS3 game 'Under Defeat HD: Deluxe Edition' from Rising Star Games.
    

In 2006, the SEGA Dreamcast got a very good top-down helicopter shoot'em up (SHMUP) game called Under Defeat.  Sadly, the title never left the shores of the Land of the Rising Sun.  Six years later, courtesy of Rising Star Games, American gamers can now enjoy the exciting bullet-hell this title provides in full HD on the PlayStation 3.

Under Defeat HD: Deluxe Edition takes the Dreamcast original and gives it the 16:9 HD treatment, but keeps everything else more-or-less intact (plus the in-box addition of a soundtrack CD).  Those who would rather play the game in its original narrow-screen form need not worry, however, as the game gives players the option to play either way.  The game itself, as far as one can tell, is identical regardless of which is played.

The game provides some very hardcore action -- even on "normal" difficulty -- that is, in a word, intimidating.  The game is difficult regardless its user-defined difficulty setting (even "easy" isn't very easy) if nothing else because there can be way more going on on-screen than one can reasonably keep track of.  Glowing bullets are flying in every which way both from and at your high-tech helicopter, not to mention the nearly all-obliterating bombs you can drop.  The bombs, by the way, aren't so much a killer end-move so much as a reset-the-action-and-clear-the-screen-so-I-can-finally-take-a-breath move.  Yeah, it can get that hard and chaotic; and, for some reason, the game leaves you waning more until you finally cry out "uncle!".

Under Defeat HD has a storyline in there somewhere, not that it matters much.  At the onset of the game there's something about two warring sides and the making of one last major offensive push before an impending cease-fire is agreed upon, but it's really neither here nor there.  The real story is that there's this really awesome helicopter (two if playing co-op) that lays waste to everything that's in its path.  That's assuming, of course, that its pilot can handle it.  Could the game use more of a legitimate storyline?  Sure.  Does it need it?  Absolutely not.

The visuals found in this game are worth noting.  While Under Defeat HD will not be taking home any awards for its graphics, they're still extremely good -- especially so since the game is really an HD-finished and tweaked port of the SD original.  What's seen on the screen is delivered with good depth and the game never seems to slow down even when things really get hot and heavy.  The game's soundtrack really isn't anything too impressive, but it fits the game well.  It doesn't matter in Under Defeat's case, though, as there are often times too many explosions being heard to actually make out that there even is music playing in the background.

The bottom line is that Under Defeat HD: Deluxe Edition is a well-made, good looking SHMUP that becomes so chaotic with bullets, missiles, and whatever else on screen that all but the most ADHD of gamers will be able to get more than a few stages in.  It might be a great title for fans and experienced players of the genre, but those who aren't will find themselves in an uphill battle.

Final Game Guys grade: B+

(Rising Star Games provided a PS3 copy of this game for review.)

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