Monday, March 22, 2010
The March 12 English language release of Spectral Force Genesis by Idea Factory for the DS, totally slipped me by. The fact that people from the original Sega Saturn Dragon Force work with Idea Factory makes me very excited for this – the videos also make it look similar. EDIT: I've played it, and the game is awful - short review in the comments section, caveat emptor!
When a title I’ve been interested in for so long gets released without my knowing it, I start to get worried. It means I’m not getting all the information I want or need. With the death of PLAY magazine, I no longer have a regular print publication to read. And despite using about four different forums, if no one on these forums is talking about something, then I won’t hear about it. I visit Kotaku, but they update a little too regularly, and there’s a weird scripting problem where 50% of the time Firefox crashes on me (can anyone explain that?). It would seem my sources for niche information have abandoned me, leaving me clueless as to the state of the gaming world beyond the mainstream.
Only today did I discover that this had been released, which is especially annoying since sometime last November I was trawling the internet for news of its being localised, and found absolutely nothing.
I was first interested in Spectral Force Genesis when reading the following on Insert Credit back in May 2008:
Spectral Force Genesis is the latest in the millions of Spectral Something games from Idea Factory - but this one looks pretty neat. If you poke around in the system section, you'll see that troops are commanded and sent against the enemy in a very Dragon Force style. But since the stylus is there, you should be able to have much more control over what your units do. Check the movie section for more evidence. It's different, but similar enough to be exciting. When you add to that the fact that several key folks from the Dragon Force team currently work with Idea Factory, it becomes all the more appealing.
Dragon Force stands as one of my all-time favourite Saturn titles. The strategy elements are a lot of fun to play around with and their simplicity prevents the game from becoming a chore like a lot of other genre titles. You simply choose the right creature type, select a formation, and unleash havoc. It also features an unprecedented number of sprites on-screen at a time – well over 200 if you count background elements and projectiles during a full-scale battle, and every one of your 100 fighters can interact and battle with any of your opponent’s 100 fighters. It’s a thing of beauty to watch played out in RGB on an SD TV. The sequel was never localised, though is said to be not as good. In the end Dragon Force was mostly overlooked, the Saturn died, and now it commands a high price.
So of course anything even vaguely similar grabs my interest, which is why I’ve got SFG on order. Sorry I’ve not got any first hand impressions to give, but I wanted to draw people’s attention to it first, especially since everyone seems to be ignoring it. There seem to be a lot of high profile releases right now, and they’re all overshadowing these cooler, more niche titles, such as SFG and Patchwork Heroes (if someone mentions FF13 to me again, I’m going to break something).
More importantly, since I’ve also received Infinite Space for the DS, and dislike it quite immensely, I could do with another DS title to remove the bad taste from my mouth. While I had been hoping for Star Control 2 meets Elite, what I ended up with was a 100 hour grind-fest with a confusing map to navigate (which contrary to promises of being able to explore space, actually removes any hint of exploration since you’re travelling along linear lines between each planet), and an endless string of battles which rely not on skill, but random luck in a game of paper-scissors-rock (or guns, more guns and shields, as the game likes to call it).
Here’s hoping my hopes for Spectral Force Genesis end up fulfilled.