Monday, February 14, 2011

Steam Heart's

Super CD-ROM

TGL vert Steam Hearts (I hate the apostrophe) is known for being a relatively rare piece of smut, but before it shows off its filthy side, it makes an impression with the quantities of missiles it shakes out of its little enemy sprites. Now, we're not talking prehistoric manic hell a la Raiden or Kyuukyoku Tiger here, as these shot-showers are a little lackadaisical as they travel across the playfield. Still, such focus on bullet bevies was abnormal for the 16-bit day.

There's not much else interesting to speak of when it comes to SH's stage play. The action is decent, but the game has a low-budget look and feel about it--pretty ironic for what has long been a fairly expensive title. The visuals are extremely simplistic--appealingly so in a few parts, but blah-ishly dark and unimpressive for far too many strips. You have two craft to select from, but each can equip just a couple of not-so-hot main guns and a handful of typical auxiliary pieces. A speed burst function is also at your disposal, but strategic use of it (as is required in Rayxanber II with that game's similar tool) won't really be needed save for during a few boss encounters.

Those boss battles constitute the true main draw of the experience. SH's lord mecha initially seem small and informidable, but they're very capable fighters: one creates laser-beam downpours while another wields an enormous energy spear.

Best those admirable warriors and you'll get to watch the naughty Steam Hearts circus shows, intermissions depicting beast-girl rape for the supposed betterment of the universe. Mildly repugnant stills stay onscreen for excessive amounts of time and are accompanied by voice-acted crying and conversing. It's incredibly boring stuff. If developers are going to go this route, they may as well strive to make a mark, perhaps with scenes that are so ludicrous as to be amusingly silly or so over the top as to be memorably revolting. Steam Hearts bores its audiences and leaves it at that.

But it does feature some smooth animation during its opening sequence as well as a bit of nice art as it concludes. I suppose that seeking such signs of effort and artistic merit throughout the experience would have been to ask too much of the game's designers.

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