that be 2006? Oh well.
When Radirgy was announced last December,
everybody was happy; a new Dreamcast game was finally
announced after the long wait since
Trizeal. A few weeks later an even bigger wave of
joy flooded over the
Dreamcast scene when G-REV announced a Dreamcast
port of their Naomi game: Under Defeat. The
question arose; Radirgy, Under Defeat or both? It's
a hard question to answer because both games are
entirely different, but whereas I deemed Radirgy unworthy
of a $60 purchase, I can easily advise Under
Defeat to everyone who loves action packed games. Why? Because
Under Defeat is better than Radirgy
in almost every aspect, that's why.
It may be a cliché but 'from the moment
you turn on your machine, you know it's gonna be one hell
Everything in this port was done with incredible care. Not
just the ship graphics or some of the bosses.
Everything. Even the VMU port check screen, the options screen,
the end of level stats screen; all look
very nice indeed. The borders (if you haven't got the
luxury of playing in TATE mode) can even be changed
to different sets of artwork!
level and already there's plenty of things 'going on'
gonna need a bigger boat' indeed
The in-game graphics are just simply amazing.
It's been a while since I've seen anything looking this good
on the Dreamcast. The trails, smoke effects, explosions; all
look incredible. The amount of detail on the
backgrounds is just as amazing. There's so much of it, you'll
spot new things everytime you play. It's this
amount of detail that makes Under Defeat such an excellent
game to play. The game tells its own story
while you're playing it. The enemies never just 'sit there,
waiting to be shot to death' but move all over the
place. Tanks roll over bridges, heli's swarm all over the
place, all while turrets fill the screen with even more
The bosses are equally impressive, with loads
of different turrets, rotating elements, multiple hit
superb particle effects. They're also very different from
each other and each one requires a special tactic to
beat. If you're just in for the 'quick kill', that's just
possible but you'll -naturally- take a lot more risks. After
battling each one for a couple of times, you'll get the idea
'this is how it's supposed to be done' and will
save precious lives. In my case it were the actual stages
and sub-bosses that made me lose the most
Is there anything negative I could say about
the graphics? Not really. The firepower that is coming your
can be a little hard to spot at times, because of the background
explosions, but then again, what other colour
could they have used? It fits best with realistic theme anyway.
no way to take crap screenshots in this game
I've mostly talked about the graphics so
far, but what about the actual gameplay? Fine, sir.
The game is very 'pick up and play' friendly because it's
just pure mindless action. No intricate fire
patterns (well, just a few maybe), no 'sneaking through very
small corridors', no color switching and
sword dodging; just blast away and kill everything in sight.
And that's how I like them best, to be honest.
There are three main weapons; the rocket,
the vulcan and the cannon. Each one has its pros and cons.
Certain weapons can be very weak (or strong) against certain
bosses, so it's a good idea to experiment
with them. Naturally, there also some smartbombs in your equipment.
The damage dealt by them is good
versus smaller enemies, but they are best used when the battle
is becoming a little too heated for your liking.
Finally, by 'hold'-ing your fire long enough, your 'option'
bar (see the red bar in the screenshot below) will fill
itself. When it's full, a small extra drone ship will enter
play and will help you with some well-aimed shots.
The game's difficulty may be a small letdown
for some people; the game can cruised through pretty easy
it's only the last boss that should give most people some
real trouble. Even a rookie like me shouldn't have too
much trouble completing the first two/three stages on one
credit. It's only in level four things become a real
challenge, with loads of firepower flying over the screen
at once. Because the game only has five levels (five
brilliant ones, but still) I'm not too sure about this
'being a good thing'.
That said, the game can be set as easy or
hard as you like and you only start with three credits (which
gradually increase the more you play). The only 'real' way
to beat the game is to complete it on normal or hard
difficulty, in which cases you'll unlock the '2-1' mode. This
-sadly- isn't a whole new chapter of Under Defeat
goodness, but it does give the game a couple of changes to
make everything a little different and worthy of
would be proud
As for the rest? Ooh plenty stuff worthy of praise. The soundtracks
are maybe not what you'd expect from
a game like this, but they are good (especially the boss music
really sets the mood). Nothing much negative
can be said about the SFX either, with some excellent explosions,
machinegun/turret sounds (especially
some of the 1-4 boss effects are VERY cool) and radio talk.
The only thing they maybe could have added
are some more ambient sound effects in certain scenes. There
is some rain at the end of 1-2, but that only
lasts for a few seconds before the stage ends (come to think
of it, some rain effects during 1-2 would've been
pretty damn cool).
'And the extra's? Anything to keep you busy
after you finished the game?' Plenty! You see, this is what
makes the difference between a 'good' game and a 'mediocre'
one. (not mentioning any names but you know
what games I'm talking about!). Apart from the 2-1 mode (see
above), there are plenty of things you can unlock.
There's an excellent art gallery featuring loads of cool artwork.
Not just some rubbish old tat but detailed design
sketches, high quality wallpapers (there's something lurking
on the actual disc as well.. [hint!] ) and other stuff
well worth a look.
Another thing that just 'can't be beaten'
is the practice mode. Seen in a lot of other 2D shooters,
but do any of
them offer multiple camera positions!? When you start the
practice mode, you'll have a big selection of options.
You can set the starting stage, starting area (practice bosses
or particulary hard scenes), difficulty, player stock,
rank offset and even the weapon you start with!
After completing the stage you'll get the
option of watching a replay of your run (see the movies for
You can switch the camera to various positions, rotate and
even zoom in on the action! Even more camera
positions are unlockable and if you've done very well, why
not save your replay! It's all these things (and a lot
more, even the vibration pack is very well supported) that
make Under Defeat such a joy to play.
Any criticisms? Not many. The game features
restart points which you'll return to after losing a credit.
restart points can be a little off-putting sometimes. For
instance, when you die (i.e. lose a credit) during the
boss battle of 1-2, you'll be kicked back to the start of
the first phase of it, which basicly resets all the
damage you've done back to zero. This can be pretty damn annoying
when the boss only had so much
health left and you lose even more lives on an area you've
already completed before.
When I compare this game to the other five
'big' releases I've reviewed so far (Puyo Puyo Fever,
EXE, Chaos Field, Trizeal and Radirgy),
I can say this release wins the cup for 'best release since
The excellent playability, awesome graphics and neat bunch
of extras G-REV have added make this
something people like to call 'a classic'. Whatever the two
'reviewers' of Famitsu were thinking when they
awarded this game a SIX out of TEN is anyone's guess, but
rest assured this is a must-have title for all
'tower of despair'? No it's actually one of the easier
It's a good caption so why not use it again?
Incredibly detailed in every sense, great trail and smoke
smooth animation and great backdrops. Very impressive indeed.
The BGM is good enough, with some excellent boss tunes.
The SFX are equally excellent. (there's that word again)
The direct 'pick up and blast away gameplay' is a winner,
is it too easy for true 2D warrior? The set restart points
be a little frustrating.
Five levels is one level short, but
the excellent ranking system,
'2-1 mode' and awesome practice mode do make up for it.