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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Under Defeat Review

Original Release:
Japan: March 23, 2006

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

Under Defeat is a vertical shmup released in 06 by a newly formed development studio known as G. Rev. (History time kids!) After making a name for themselves with aiding production for high profile titles like Treasure's Ikaruga and and Konami's Gradius V, they finally managed to gain enough capital to make 2 projects of their own, the second of which was a critically acclaimed horizontal shmup by the name of Border Down for the NAOMI and the Dreamcast. For their third release, the company went with a more traditional offering in the vertical shmup territory. In the vein of games like Twin Cobra or Zero Gunner Series, the game puts the player in control of 2 female soldiers piloting helicopter air crafts. The game is quite traditional in its mechanics save for a unique assist bot system that will aid you in warfare and a limited but useful angle maneuvering ability.


With the Sega NAOMI hardware at their disposal, G. Rev harnessed the graphical power of the versatile arcade board for Under defeat and pulled off a visual tour de force for the coin-op and likewise on the Dreamcast. The game is easily one of the most visually stunning productions ever made on the console. Gunfire is not only detailed and bold, but also show impressive lighting effects. With something so small as gunfire being so meticulous, its no surprise that everything else in the world of Under Defeat has received equal or better treatment. Air crafts are nicely detailed and flawlessly textured. Explosions and their particle effects are simply eye candy. Smoke produced from mentioned explosions are insanely realistic. Rain effects are amazingly well done and stage backdrops are without a doubt just as amazing as they visually interact with the mayhem going on around them like trees waving and cattle dying off to nearby explosions. Visuals in this game are praise worthy indeed and worth a look in it's native vertical aspect ratio via TATE mode. Use of a VGA peripheral only sweetens the deal here!

The music is somewhat plain and awkward but by no means of bad quality (although i really dig the stage boss battle theme music!). The game provides players with the ability to choose from the original arcade music or an arranged version of said tracks providing welcomed customization in the music department. All audio effects are quite impressive and compliment their visual counterparts to near perfection!

There is something to be said for those that experienced a simple shmup title released near the end of the Dreamcast's official timeline, especially one that is so wonderfully executed as this game. G. Rev's Under Defeat looks to be a labor of love for the genre than a simple game release to cash in on a niche market... on a niche platform. A game like this, without question leaves many Dreamcast owners (much like yours truly) wondering... how much unharnessed potential the system had yet to be exploited due to such an untimely (and unjustified) demise.


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