Thursday, 10 February 2011

Random Game I've Never Heard Of #1

Energy (1989)
By: Quasar Soft / NCS  Genre: Run 'n' Gun  Players: 1  Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: NEC PC Engine / TurboGrafx-16
Also Available For: Nothing


Welcome to yet another new Red Parsley feature! Here, as you may have guessed from the title, I will choose a random game that I've never previously heard of on a random system and give it a go! For the first game of the feature I thought I'd take a look at the PC Engine's back-catalogue. The game I settled on is a Japanese-exclusive apparently based on an old NEC PC-88 game by the same company called Ashe. It takes the form of a flick-screen run 'n' gunner set in the ruins of Tokyo which are now populated by all manner of monsters and demons and you, as a member of the 'Demon-Busting Squad', must journey through the ravaged lands in search of your three fellow Squad members who have gone missing in the city.

After some cut-scenes, which presumably lay it all down for you, the action starts above ground amidst the damaged buildings and empty city streets where you must move from left to right shooting the monsters as you go, although at this point they constantly respawn and are seemingly just there to impede your progress. Before long you'll reach what is apparently a hostage in need of rescuing and then your journey resumes underground through various caverns which contain more numerous monsters and other obstacles. You're able to shoot the enemies using some sort of 'energy bow and arrow' although your blue 'ESP' bar will gradually shrink slightly when repeatedly firing on enemies. The other bar indicates your life which is obviously depleted by contact with the monsters. To be honest, I didn't really play Energy a great deal more than that! It's reasonably playable to a degree but it has lots of annoying quirks, some of which are frankly baffling.

For example, as mentioned, this is a flick-screen game but the screen takes a full six seconds to gradually scroll the next screen into play, during which play freezes, and the exits on all the underground screens are blocked until the monsters have been killed, but it also takes six seconds from when they've been cleared for the exits to disappear! All the intro and cut scenes are unskippable too (grrr!) but the worst thing about this game is the mystical 'super-jump' feature. Some brief internet research reveals that it's supposedly possible to perform a higher jump but no one seems to know how to do it, and without it I couldn't progress very far! This is a rather strangely-conceived game from a usually reliable company but I don't really know what they were thinking with this one. The graphics are pretty poor (although the music isn't bad) but it's just a mess, gameplay-wise. The most frustrating thing is, it would've been easy to rectify the problems too. Oh well, hopefully I'll have more luck with the next game in this feature!

RKS Score: 4/10

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