Quantcast
Review: Steel Empire - Destructoid




Game database:   #ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ         ALL     Xbox One     PS4     360     PS3     WiiU     Wii     PC     3DS     DS     PS Vita     PSP     iOS     Android


Steel Empire  




Review: Steel Empire photo
Review: Steel Empire

12:00 PM on 08.05.2014

A pricey classic


Steel Empire is a game that not many people were able to experience, sadly. As a child, you likely only had access to either a Super Nintendo or Sega Genesis, which cut out a ton of potential classics for you to play and cherish as time's cold embrace passed you by.

I was very lucky to experience it for a few brief days attending a friend's house many years ago, and now, thanks to the magic of porting, everyone can give it a go on the 3DS. As long as the price point isn't too rich for your blood, you should jump on this opportunity.

Steel Empire (3DS)
Developer: Teyon
Publisher: Starfish SD
Released: July 31, 2014
MSRP: $29.99

What you see is what you get -- Steel Empire is a horizontal shoot-'em-up with seven levels. It follows the tried-and-true "shoot and bomb" configuration of so many shooters before it, where the vast majority of time is spent on dodging bullets while keeping a continuous stream of fire going. The story is rather inconsequential, as it involves your typical "rebel versus empire" plot device -- but like pretty much every other shooter on the market, the proof is in the gameplay.

Right off the bat, you have the option of choosing between the Etopirica, a swift yet small plane that lacks firepower, or the cumbersome Zappellon, which hits like a truck and moves like a snail. Each plane allows you to play with a completely different style, which lends itself well to multiple completions. I personally prefer the Zappellon, as it operates with a wholly unique movement pattern that isn't found in most genre staples.

Steel Empire is not a bullet-hell shooter, as it follows the more traditional pattern of providing more enemies to deal with than bullets, which can get just as tricky at times. Said foes can come from the sides, the sky, or even the ground -- the latter of which can be particularly difficult to hit with your ground shot, which strikes every time you fire your weapon. One hit doesn't mean instant death, as you have a health bar that slowly drains as you take damage. As you can imagine the Zappellon is a bigger target with a larger hitbox, but it can also take a beating due to its increased health pool.

Power-ups litter the field, granting you extra firepower, bombs, bonus points, more health, and so on. What I like about how Steel Empire handles these pick-ups is that it never really goes overboard with them. The "P" tokens will slowly upgrade your standard shot over time and reward players who manage to avoid death, but it's entirely possible to beat the game with your standard ship and some skill. It's a very well balanced mechanic.

In terms of its presentation, Teyon has lifted the game perfectly from its source material. It looks, sounds, and feels great on the 3DS, and is a natural fit for Nintendo's portable. The 3D effect is more pronounced than many other eShop games, and the user interface is wonderfully minimal. The same could be said about the retro soundtrack, which is phenomenal.

The stages have a ton of character to them however, and every theme is memorable in its own way. From soaring through the beautiful cloud-filled skies to dank cavernous ruins, it's easy to get drawn into an individual level and the appropriately themed enemy models that accompany it.

In terms of extras, you're really not getting a whole lot -- you can adjust the difficulty level to your liking, up your total lives and continues, and change your button configuration. That's ... about it. You're going to get most of your enjoyment out of playing on the hardest difficulty setting and going for the most amount of points in score-attack fashion, although there are no leaderboards.

If you have a Sega Genesis, you'd probably be better off just picking up the original cartridge for less than $10 online. The 3D effects and dual-screen interface simply aren't enough to warrant a full $20 upgrade, but the fact remains that the game is as classic as ever and worth playing. If you're a shoot-'em-up junkie you likely won't feel the sting of the price tag, but everyone else will want to wait for a sale.



THE VERDICT - Steel Empire

Reviewed by Chris Carter

8 /10
Great: Impressive efforts with a few noticeable problems holding it back. Won't astound everyone, but is worth your time and cash. Check out more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.








Comments not appearing? Anti-virus apps like Avast or some browser extensions can cause this.
Easy fix: Add   [*].disqus.com   to your software's white list. Tada! Happy comments time again.

Did you know? You can now get daily or weekly email notifications when humans reply to your comments.





timeline following:
Steel Empire



10:00 AM on 07.24.2014
Steel Empire will hit the 3DS next week for $30

Publisher Teyon has just confirmed to Destructoid that Steel Empire, the Sega Genesis and Game Boy Advance shoot-'em-up, will arrive on the 3DS eShop next Thursday. It's a classic steampunk-themed shooter that will feature f...more



12:00 PM on 03.25.2014
Steel Empire on 3DS is like Castle in the Sky, the shmup

That Steel Empire remake is still on course, and it's going to drop in North America this summer. As a blend of steampunk and shoot 'em up, Steel Empire is a new take on the original Genesis game, remade from the g...more



6:00 PM on 08.23.2013
A 3D Steel Empire remake is coming to the 3DS

If you're a long-time shmup fan, you may remember a largely forgotten Genesis classic called Steel Empire that dropped in 1992. Well it appears as if said classic was fondly recalled by someone, as it's heading to the 3DS in ...more




Shmups

12:00 PM on 08.29.2014
Bullet-hell and rhythm fans will both like Harmonix's new game

Music has always been at the heart of what Harmonix does. From Rock Band to Dance Central to the extremely experimental Chroma, the studio's made sure that whatever the player's doing, they'll nod their head and tap...more



9:53 AM on 08.29.2014
Harmonix announces A City Sleeps, a musical shoot 'em up

Harmonix announces A City Sleeps, a musical twin-stick shoot 'em up a heaping helping of anime and bullets. It's like a musical Geometry Wars. Harmonix says that soundtrack synchronization drives projectiles, movement, bulle...more



8:00 AM on 08.16.2014
Touhou 14 now available via Playism Japan

Touhou Kishinjou: Double Dealing Character is now available for Windows PC via Playism Japan. Initially released last summer at Comiket 84, Double Dealing Character is the fourteenth official entry in the Touhou Project,...more



View all Shmups






Back to Top




All content is yours to recycle through our Creative Commons License permitting non-commercial sharing requiring attribution. Our communities are obsessed with videoGames, movies, anime, and toys.

Living the dream since March 16, 2006

Advertising on destructoid is available: Please contact them to learn more