Monday, January 1, 2007

Vice: Project Doom - Level 9-1

I kept trying to be clever with the beginning of this post, but the funny isn't in me.

When making this game, Sammy Corporation obviously had the intent of making Ninja Gaiden plus. They took the side-scrolling (and occasionally vertical scrolling) platform levels where you defeated enemies with a sword (whip) and occasional ninja magic (bullets and grenades) and the cinema scenes and added... a driving and a first-person shooting level.

Yeah, so you can't copyright the "look and feel" of a game, but man they took everything from the Ninja Gaiden series. So a platformer with a sword isn't the most original concept, and having cut scenes between levels was quickly adopted in many games, but come on, there's one level here where they combined the train level and the lightning level of Ninja Gaiden II.

Still, the immitation is the reason I have this game. I love the Ninja Gaiden series and heard this game was similar. I didn't quit realize how similar until playing it. It's a little weird that game seems almost exactly the same, but the gameplay is still pretty enjoyable. It does have the sheen of most imitations by not feeling quite as polished as the original. I'm not exactly sure what it is either - maybe the animation isn't as smooth? The graphics are top notch, but the music is much more generic than Ninja Gaiden's amazing soundtrack. Oh, and the dialogue could have used some better translation. I realize that what is going on is a mystery meant to be slowly revealed to the player, but why the hell are all these monks and mutants and creatures out to kill the protagonist?

As for the different types of levels, well I got to stage 9-1 and only encountered one of each so that seems like a wasted opportunity. The driving level is basically Spy Hunter except you have health and there's a boss at the end. The shooting level is straight out of Operation Wolf. The driving level was pretty fun, the shooting level only okay (though it took me awhile to realize that I was chucking my grenades instead of shooting my gun).

The game also doesn't have the difficult of Ninja Gaiden. I haven't looked up how many levels there are, but I got to 9-1 my first time playing and I can't imagine there are too many more. The boss at the end of level 3-2 and the platforming in level 5-2 were the only things that really gave me trouble. Like Ninja Gaiden, this game also has unlimited continues, but you don't use them nearly as much.

As an aside, I mentioned in my post on classifying games that the NES Ninja Gaiden would be an action game, but I realize now I was wrong. Getting the jumps right in that game is key, just as much as defeating the enemies (and indeed the enemies and platforms often combine to make it more of a challenge). Hence, I realize it is a platform game under my classification system and even though you don't stick to walls in this game, it still relies on making crucial jumps and so will also be put in that genre.

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