Thursday, April 7, 2011


Toaplan / NEC Avenue

Daisenpuu is one of those old "World War II era" shooters, so you probably know what to expect from it: redundant dirt/field/water levels and plenty of tanks, boats, and jets. Actually, scratch that very last part. In a BIZARRE TWIST, Daisenpuu's enemy cast features not a single aircraft. It sure does boast lots of tanks, though. In fact, you fight tank after tank after tank throughout the whole game, with gunboats thrown in here and there along with the occasional large tank and large ship and large tank that turns into a ship.

I must say that the tank-laden makeup of the enemy legion makes no sense to me. I realize Toaplan was trying to work with a theme here, but some of the variations of "tank" they came up with are about as dissimilar to real-life armed-forces machinery as a Spriggan dragon mecha, so they might as well have done something interesting with the foes they presented us with. They also should've given us more than one weapon to utilize against said foes. A boring dual-stick shot that evolves into a just-as-boring plenty-of-sticks shot is all we get.

Well, one kind-of-interesting thing we can do is call in plane pods to assist us.

You get limited control over these brittle allies, who really lack any sort of punch with their artillery--but hey, I'll take an interesting idea wherever I can find one here. And to be fair, in a NEAT TWIST, the game lets you sacrifice your wingmen, either by ordering them to crash into your foes or by setting off a huge enemy-obliterating explosion. Calling for a group-suicide attack is generally preferable to having an ineffective band accompanying you, and really, when I'm under heavy fire, I go right ahead and give the kamikaze command without bothering with any team-tactic stuff. Had Toaplan went a less creative route and provided regular smart bombs sans the ally element, they would've come out even here.

There really aren't many of those "heavy fire" moments anyway. The bad guys in Daisenpuu rely heavily on projectile attacks, but the action never approaches Raiden or Kyuukyoku Tiger levels--it never becomes "manic" in style. It's never cheap, either, except in that our hitbox seems a bit wide. Checkpoints are employed, but they're never game killers.

And if you manage to avoid getting killed yourself, you won't be granted a break of any kind until you reach the "end"--at which point you'll simply be sent right back to the beginning, sans any sort of hoopla, for a tougher run.

There isn't much incentive to play through the second round. In fact, I played all the way to the sixth without anything particularly special happening. Thankfully, the music is nice in a well-done-8-bit-stuff sort of way and helped keep me interested. Not much else did.

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