Who says the Dreamcast is dead? Not some independent developers, apparently. Out in Germany they're still making games for the system.
The developer/publisher is HUCAST.net & KonTechs Ltd. which is comprised of René Hellwig (Graphic and Game Design), Martin Konrad (Coding), and Andre Neumann (Music). Rene Hellwig is also a part of the independent developers NG:DEV.TEAM, who last year released a Dreamcast/NeoGeo shoot 'em up title called Last Hope. This title was received with mixed reviews apparently (the Dreamcast version apparently had some issues with enemy bullets blending in to the background). Whatever might be said about the game play, the official site
has a sample of the soundtrack playing and it sounds pretty awesome.
Let's get back to DUX. DUX is a 2D, horizontal shmup. It has six levels, each with its own unique boss. The developers claim that while the game is not hard, it is
the type of shmup where you need to memorize some of the enemies movements (please, don't be like Ikaruga!).
With brightly colored, almost cartoony levels, I really only have on question: What exactly does DUX offer that other shmups before it don't have (besides being a new release for a "dead" system)?
Well, it has an interesting take on the laser power-ups. Let's take a look at the three that are offered:
This is a pretty typical shmup power-up: an extra-strong energy burst that takes a bit of extra time to load but can be very helpful on boss battles.
This is where it starts to get a bit interesting. This laser beam isn't really any stronger than your normal energy blasts, but can bounce off of walls at 45 degree angles several times. This is a good strategy to use when your screen is flooded with enemies both in front of you an behind you. This isn't very effective against bosses though.
The X-ray might just look like a wide-shooting beam, but there's another element. This beam also can bounce off of objects (although less so than the Bouncing Beam). This is considered by the developers to be the most powerful (and hard to find) power up in the game.
The screenshots in this game look pretty, and the videos don't do justice to the game's graphics. The bits of the soundtrack offered on the developer's blog sound excellent. The clip is a medley, so it gives you a sample of bits of music from different parts of the game. Again while the graphics look a bit more cartoonish than you would see in a normal shmup, it has a distinct style to it and looks polished.
Well, let's take a look at one of the stages:
It's still in development so there are no sound effects (at least, I hope that's the reason for the missing PEW PEW noises). It's also a little hard to tell from the video, but the level is actually inside a cave.
For more information, videos, music, and screenshots, check out the developer's blog
. They have enemy and boss lists, as well as a lot of other information about the game (thought the English is a bit broken).
My initial impression of this game is that while it's not going to be anything spectacular, I salute the effort of the independent developers in bringing us new games for a deserving system such as Dreamcast. It would be interesting if Destructoid could contact the team and maybe get a copy to play and review. What do you guys think?