“Under Defeat HD: Deluxe Edition” is an enjoyable niche game that probably flew under most people’s radar this past holiday season.
The game is a souped-up console version of a relatively obscure vertically-scrolling shoot-em-up arcade game originally released only in Japan back in 2005. A console version debuted the following year for the Sega Dreamcast but was also only available in Japan. Therefore, this is the first time the game has been commercially available in America in any form.
“Under Defeat HD: Deluxe Edition” includes the original arcade version of the game in its original aspect ratio and New Order Mode, a newly created version of the game with a 16:9 aspect ratio to make use of modern HDTVs, improved graphics and a remixed soundtrack.
Arcade shooters like this are not played for their story, and “Under Defeat” is no different. It has some storyline, but it is inconsequential and limited to brief slide shows with text. The real reason anyone would play this is for its challenging, but fun, gameplay.
The game’s controls will be familiar to anyone who has ever played a vertically-scrolling shoot-em-up. You control your ship, in this case a helicopter, with the left analog stick and one button for shooting at enemies and one for using bombs. It’s quick to learn and easy to use.
The game has added to this tried-and-true method by allowing you to angle your helicopter while firing, allowing you to strafe enemies while avoiding their fire. It takes a little bit of time to get used to, but the game offers several control methods and quickly becomes enjoyable.
“Under Defeat” is difficult but not frustrating. One hit will destroy your helicopter and players are restricted to a limited number of lives and continues, which increases its replay value.
The game’s graphics are serviceable but show their age. Even the New Order Mode’s improved visuals appear dated. However, I don’t believe this is an issue considering the game’s budget price.
There are two versions of the game available to PS3 owners: A downloadable version available on Sony’s Playstation Network and a physical copy version available at specialty stores and websites like Amazon.com. The game is also available for Xbox 360.
The physical copy includes several extras, including a digital art book, all currently available downloadable content and a soundtrack CD. Both versions of the game are $30, so unless you have something against buying physical copies of games, the decision is a no-brainer.
“Under Defeat” is not a game for everyone, but if you enjoy arcade games, shoot-em-ups or something that focuses on fun, fast and simple gameplay, give this one a shot.
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