If you told me I’d be playing a brand new Dreamcast game in 2014, back when the system saw its demise in 2002, I’d probably have said you were crazy.
It was at that point that Sega moved on to become a software-only developer in most of the world. But as it turns out, they actually continued to support the system in their home country for an additional five years, primarily with quick and easy ports from arcade games built on the NAOMI board (the Dreamcast’s arcade counterpart). Titles such as Puyo Puyo Fever and Trigger Heart Exelica kept the system relevant, for the arcade aficionado at least. But even Sega eventually left their fabled console past behind.
In Sega’s absence, an indie scene has embraced the all but forgotten console and churned out more than a dozen titles since 2007. The latest, Redux: Dark Matters, is a blast from the past that harkens back to the console’s glory days.
Redux: Dark Matters (Dreamcast [reviewed], iOS, PC) Developer: Hucast Games Publisher: Hucast Games Released: January 27, 2014 (Dreamcast) / TBA (PC, iOS) MSRP: $49.99
As 2D side-scrolling shoot ‘em up, Redux: Dark Matters rekindles fond memories of the R-Type series, thanks to its visuals and gameplay. Slow and methodical, the game relies on memorization and powerful weapons over the reflex driven “bullet-hell” style shooter that seems to be all the rage today. It also implores a difficulty that requires plenty of skill and dedication to master.
Stretched over seven stages, Redux: Dark Matters offers two difficulties paired with two distinct ships. On normal difficulty, the ship is most akin to R-Type’s Arrowhead. As you collect power-ups, you not only build its shot, but also its shield. The shield sits in front of the ship similar to the pod from the R-Type series; the difference being that it’s a stationary means of defense only and not an additional tool for destruction.
The key to success is in building your ship into a flying fortress of defense and offensive while avoiding death, as it only takes one shot to take you out. Once you run out of lives, it’s back to the beginning of the stage stripped of all power, which makes the game extremely challenging to complete. And because the levels build in difficulty (though I found stage 3 to be a major roadblock in having a successful run), finishing the game is near impossible without sufficient firepower. Redux: Dark Matters is clearly a game built for the 1cc (one credit clear).
This becomes even more apparent on the title’s harder difficulty: veteran, where your ship lacks any kind of shield, making reflexes and pattern memorization essential. This mode kicked my ass repeatedly and is definitely something I want to master down the road, but it does give the game a different vibe; something fans of the Gradius series may enjoy more.
Whether playing on normal or veteran, Redux: Dark Matters captures the essence of the Dreamcast exceptionally well. The visuals signify a time when the shoot ‘em up was at its pinnacle: colors are muted and gloomy, the visuals a muddied remembrance of a time before high-definition graphics. Although you might feel like someone wiped a layer of vaseline over the screen if you’re using a standard composite hook-up, owners of the Dreamcast’s VGA output shouldn’t feel nearly as left in the past thanks to a nice resolution boost.
All that said, Redux: Dark Matters doesn’t quite live up to the predecessors it most resembles original charm. It’s still a solid release for shoot ‘em up fans looking for a new age nostalgic feeling, but it also comes with a price of admission that’s tough to swallow in a day where indie games have moved on to the more lucrative PC and mobile scene. Unless you’re the most diehard of Dreamcast fans, or shoot ‘em ups in general, do yourself a favor and wait for Dark Matters to see some love on a more modern piece of hardware.
CoilWhine I am pretty hyped for when I get a laptop because I'll be able to have a good enough connection to stream XbOne/soon PS4 games to it along with natively rendered Steam games. Hype!Avoclefo Got a PS4 that came with SW Battlefront this week, and planning on picking up the FFX/X-2 remake. Hype is through the roof, especially for FFX. If I were to get one other game, what should it be?Niero Desu Did a google maps search around my parents house for bars and there isn't one in like 25 miles, so I picked up an Intel compute stick and South Park: Stick of Truth on Steam. That's more or less the drunken screaming I'm in the mood for at about the cost.OrochiLeona Do you ever have that moment of clarity when talking to someone and suddenly realising: You're just a skull, and they're just a skull, with fucking eyeballs and a sac of skin being the only comparative difference between you visually? ..just me then?Nathan D After quitting for two days out of frustration, I beat Ludwig on my first try of the night. I'm on cloud fucking nine right now. Pixie The Fairy When I did my retail shift today, we were moving more Smash/Splat Wii U bundles and the Gears/Rare Replay/Ori XB1 bundles than Uncharted and Battlefront PS4s. I think Nintendo and MS have better value on their side this holiday. Sony got lazy.Confuseddalek I found this weird game called Samurai Heroes for 8 dollars today. Its not bad.Solar Pony Django Got Deadpool, Arkham Asylum and BioShock 1 and 2 all for 30$. Not to bad for going Black Friday shopping late.RadicalYoseph If you haven't played Tales from the Borderlands yet, GO BUY IT! By far the funniest game I have ever played, and the characters and narrative are incredibly well written. Very few memes unlike BL2 by the way.James Internet Ego Played all of Life is Strange today in one sitting. Bloody hell. You should all play it. Only game this year to make me cry. Bravo developers. Possibly the most valuable thing I've ever bought for Â£10.Gamemaniac3434 Last night, got farther than ever in Wasteland 2. This is my third playthrough-once thru beta, once through the orig version, now on Directors cut. Worth the restart, and it speaks highly of the game that I like it enough to do this. DAMONTA HERE I COME!KeithTheGeek GUYS HELP I KEEP BUYING MORE AMIIBO.
Today it was Little Mac, since he went back up on Gamestop's website. I probably would have gotten Captain Falcon as well if I wasn't already running a little short on cash.BigDoniel 50 hours in and I can safely say that Xenoblade is the best JRPG I've played in years. Should hopefully be finished in time for X too!Pixie The Fairy One job down on day I should have off, now for the other job.CoilWhine I beat Murasaki Baby on PS Vita. Easy 100% trophy. That ending theme tho. http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=UhjLfeetxM8TheGwailo I have 34 games in my Steam queue alone, 4 on xbone, and a handful on handhelds. I have 3 days to make a dent. Time's up, let's do this!Archelon Community Question: To make up for yesterday, I decided to ask a second Community Question today. Have you taken advantage of any Black Friday deals today? If so, what did you purchase? Feel free to share pictures of your spoils, if you have any.Jiraya Some Black Friday artwork arrived today !
[img]http://i.imgur.com/VBD539P.jpg[/img]Lawman Black Friday is getting to me. All these games I kinda, maybe want that are at anywhere between respectable and deep discounts, but I'm not sure if I want to bite. I'm wondering if Godzilla's worth $12? After checking review scores, I'm not sure.Amna Umen Mission complete![IMG]http://i.imgur.com/SJKhuXP.jpg[/IMG]