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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Last Hope: Pink Bullets Review

Original release:
Worldwide: September 9, 2009 (Happy birthday Dreamcast fans!)

Game details:
1 Player
VMU Compatible
Standard controller
Arcade stick
VGA Box (240p)

It's atreyu187's first Dreamcast review! We posted it under my account since he doesn't have one set up. Send all love his way, though.

Well here is my first review for the RDC team so go easy on me folks. This like all Neo Geo to Dreamcast ports doesn't take full advantage of the Dreamcast hardware. Does that make the game any less fun? Not in my opinion; as a Dreamcast fan I am used to not having the best graphics but the gameplay is here for tons of enjoyment. Keep in mind this is a homebrew port no less, but it does a good job of providing some good ol' fashion SHMUP fun. There are two ways to get multipliers in this game. The first is of course using your pod to absorb “Pink Bullets” and the second is by using your beam charge by holding “A” button with “X” button being repeat fire. A little more on your pod is that it not only absorbs bullets but it also can be used as a gun as well. It rotates with the trigger buttons in a 360° angle giving you the ability to return fire from behind, above or below. Also in this version the difficulty has been adjusted so that even the novice SHMUP fan can finally enjoy. Combine that with a few extra credits and you might be able to complete the game this time around.

Well like most our Neo Geo emulation releases on the Dreamcast there isn’t much of a story line. The only storyline I can find is in the manual and it is Japanese so there isn’t much I can tell about that. What I can do is quote the features from the NG:Dev Team as Pink Bullets adds nice features that simply were not in the original release like use of the arcade stick, VGA support, and now Hi-Scores are saved.

” All Versions
Free 360° rotary protection unit for shooting and dodging enemy fire
Six stages
Handdrawn NEO·GEO style backgrounds
Fully animated CGI enemies
Superb video game style soundtrack
Constant 60 fps with up to 4 parallax layers
Lighting FX
Smooth plasma FX

Pink Bullets specific Features
Six credits and instant respawn during one credit
Higher player ship speed from beginning
Players ship does permanently equip the Rotary Protection Unit
Protection unit itself can destroy enemies
Five difficulty settings
Overall less hard difficulty
Altered stage color theme for higher Visibility
Advanced scoring system, with beam chaining multiplier/combo meter
Pink enemy bullets
Arcade Stick, VMU and VGA support”

Well what can I say? This by no means pushes the Dreamcast to its limits even by homebrew games standards. Looking at a game like DUX even makes this games GFX look weak but this is expected when porting from an inferior system as with all direct ports. Pink Bullets at least enables VGA support this time around though it is only 240p but I can tell you this version is leaps above its standard counterpart with new backgrounds and “Pink Bullets” you can actually see this time around. The standard version had bad visibility problems and made the bullets near impossible. All in all the game still has solid hand drawn sprites that will satisfy and retro gamer.

The soundtrack is great in this game and blends well with the frantic gameplay later in the stages. All CDDA for this release is 100% intact and sounding phenomenal with crisp highs and deep bass especially during the later stages when the difficulty picks up.

While not the best homebrew game we have seen for our beloved Dreamcast it still provides hours of fun with a high replay value for any fan but don’t expect it to stand well along side of some of the shooters the system has to offer from its retail library. If you enjoy the feel of a retro SHMUP (think Gradius) then this will be a title you will enjoy thoroughly. Take it for what it is an excellent retro homebrew SHMUP with a third party release.


1 comment:

  1. the original LH on DC does indeed support VGA.