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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Cannon Spike Review

Original Release:
Japan: December 21, 2000
North America: November 14, 2000
Europe: May 3, 2000

Game Details:
1-2 Players
VMU enabled
Standard controller, Arcade Stick
Jump Pak enabled

Cannon Spike (also known as Gun Spike in its native japan) is another collaboration project by Dreamcast loyal Capcom and a little known developer by the name of Psikyo. A multi-directional shooter at heart, the gameplay is reminiscent of such classic titles as Mercs and Smash TV but with some greater focus placed on boss battles. The games roster while short, is sweet! It marries some of Capcom's most well known, as well as some very obscure faces, making a very eclectic but much likable selection for a player to dig into and enjoy. With such a moniker chosen for this product, it should be to no surprise that Cammy is in the game. The rest of the cast is composed of Charlie Nash (SF Alpha), Arthur (Ghost n' Goblins), Shiba (3 Wonders) and hidden characters Megaman and B.B. Hood (Vampire Series). That leaves just one characters who seems to have been made exclusively for this game by the name of Simone. The games original button layout is composed of a simple 3 button scheme which dictates Lock-On, Shooting bullets and Close range melee. Additional high damage specials and supers are also available by simultaneous pressing of 2 and 3 buttons respectively. The games controls are quite adequate and serve well for such fast paced manic action that lies ahead. The game becomes a lot more enjoyable with co-op multiplayer.

Honestly haven't got a clue... If there even is a storyline i'm sure its almost nonexistent.

Visuals are rock solid and are worthy of its NAOMI origins. Nothing too detailed or massive polygons and textures here, but the models are well done, displaying vivid colors and a sharp finish. The games graphics really benefit from the use of a VGA peripheral so definitely go that route when displaying this title to your friends. Think the original Power Stone in terms of graphics but with slightly larger character models. Speaking of which, it seems Capcom allowed Psikyo to go to town on some of the established character roster. Cammy sports machine guns and some sassy knee pad/Rollerblades for mobility, Shiba has much more older look and Arthur... he looks fit to finally be a king with his crazy armor and massive jousting lance.

Sound wise, the game feels a bit bland and uninspired, especially when the soundtrack is involved. Nothing really stands out which is somewhat of a shame in a personal sense considering how much I love the infectious soundtrack for Psikyo's Gunbird 2 (another Dreamcast offering). Sound effects aren't to spectacular either. Enemy effects when perishing sound very annoying and bullet fire sounds rather weak. On the plus side, the dialogue for the cast is great and feels very authentic to each character.

Cannon Spike may evoke a love it or hate it feeling with gamers due to naturally retro gameplay concepts that caters to a niche audience as well as its rather short game time for a rather hefty price of admission that the game commands these days. Regardless of which, the game is easily one of those awesome Dreamcast exclusive experiences that I would recommend to anyone before passing judgement so quickly. Shmup fans may feel right at home with this offering!


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