|There are 2 title screens, but I chose the first
With each new console/handheld title I play that gets slapped with the FPS label, things get stranger and stranger. One title I had on the FPS category wrongly was Crossed Swords, a cross between beat 'em up and rail shooter. There are a bunch of games like that, but only Crossed Swords appealed to me, and we'll get back to that one. But I guess that Death Duel is another title in that weird realm. Its not truly a FPS, not by my definition. But is it anything else? I originally found it fascinating for that reason.
The game opens with a text crawl, as seems to be usual for Genesis games at this point. Its an intriguing story that won't matter beyond the opening text crawl...but hang on a minute. This sounds an awful lot like the plot to Robot Jox. Which involves each nation on Earth settling their disputes with giant mechas. Its one of the few western examples of the genre, or at least in the medium of moving pictures. The big difference is that this cuts right to the chase, and there are 9 fights.The film was hampered by budget, but from what I've seen, has some charm that overwhelms its lack of mecha on mecha fighting. I'm tempted as to whether or not this constitutes something I should care about. I do like the concept, and the text crawl might as well be about how the lead developer's girlfriend left him and he put her face on every enemy for all it tends to matter in-game. The text crawl goes on to talk about how this "isn't a shooter". (heh) They mean not to shoot blindly, which turns out to be the best piece of advice you can get.
|I find these don't really mean anything
|Some are less imaginative than others
|As demonstrated here, moments before I lose
|Behold, scenic wall
|Not pictured, worms, birds wearing helmets
|The monkey actually walks around, which is cool
- Machine Gun, weapon of last resort, only saving grace is its cheapness.
- Missile, dumbfire missiles, if they make contact with an enemy they deal some decent damage. After you've gotten used to the first few enemies, load up all three slots and you can blast through an enemy in under 20 seconds.
- Laser Gun, upgraded machine gun. Hits faster, and slightly harder.
- Skimmer, a different upgraded machine gun. It doesn't deal that much more damage, but it seems to have a bigger target radius and it trashes walls.
- Lob Grenade, disables enemies weapons, effectively disabling some enemies.
- Grenade, explosive, tricky, requires some practice. Its useless until you get good with them. And useless against some enemies in general.
- Energy Ring, disables some enemies for a short period of time. Very useful, but it seems best used against living enemies, rather than robots.
- SloMo Cloud, doesn't seem to do much, and I don't think it replaces the Energy Ring for robots.
- Lob Mine, throw a mine. If he steps on it, he gets hurt. Not hurt enough to justify 10000 of your hard-earned money.
- Homin' Rocket, doesn't miss, you don't even need to know where to aim, but expensive.
For the most part, you're going to be using the same selection. I found that for the enemies between dragons, getting x2 missiles in each slot was best, so long as you can hit them. For ones you can take out the legs, do so. But generally try to take advantage of deals, they're random, but they'll save you money. You need that money too.
|This guy rolls into a spiky ball
|I feel like Prepare to Die would be more appropriate
|The game over screen is really cool
|A strange enemy to end all strange enemies
|You think I'm joking about Predator Tank?
|For a final boss this guy is extremely generic
|That's one poor job on the lady
There are 10 weapons, of which 1 are practically useless, 4 are situational and 1 is too expensive. You're mostly going to be using the same weapons for most of the game. 2/10
I really liked them. Thanks to the way the game's designed, the few big enemies each have a personality, and figuring out how to best defeat them is fun, when it isn't rage-inducing. 3/10
Every encounter with an enemy takes place in roughly the same environment, a featureless plane with some obstacles. Though this changes, it doesn't change that every wall is mostly indestructible, and generally a nuisance to deal with. The real challenge remains in the enemies. I also didn't care for the shooting stages, just be more generous with money. 1/10
I liked the way the guns' starting position changed depending on which one you were using. Otherwise, its very tricky to say good things. You mostly just move around slowly, you can switch to a aiming mode, but this prevents you from dodging attacks, which is the primary problem with later levels. 3/10
What little the game had was quickly squandered as I tried to finish it. Its magic lies in quick sessions, not actively trying to beat the game. 1/10
There's good art direction, and clever modifications give more life out of limited resources. Most enemy actions have 3-4 frames, but since they're animating quite a few body parts that can be blown off at any point, that's forgivable. I find the sky they made to be a bit off, but I tend to notice these things. 6/10
Token excuse plot.
The music cues that happen when viewing a character's card are cool, but that's it. I understand the reasoning, its distracting in battle. What's also distracting is the enemy having random sounds that don't lead to anything. Otherwise its fine for Genesis. 2/10
That's 18, or the best non-racing console game by some 8 points. Its not a bad game, just heavily flawed. My opinion seems to be by no means unique, as everyone hits the same beats I do, save for not getting to the end.
Curiously, while this is the last game of Punk Development, from the ashes, would arrive Iguana Entertainment, the people known for Turok: Dinosaur Hunter. The future looks bright.