catchy tunes, Anime scenes......Download!!
You know how you're always hearing
about those awesome japanese pc-engine titles that never got ported
to the turbo? You know, the games that could have saved the American
turbo 16 from bombing the way it did. Well, the truth hurts, because
while americans were playing 'epics' like Impossimole and BravoMan,
japanese gamers were enjoying the little gem I bring before you...
Download is one of the rare shooters
that you just love to come across during those times when you least
expect it. I'm talking about those days when you just can't stomach
another round of Blazing Lasers or even Battle Garegga (brilliant
as they may be). A shmup that can be funny, challenging and good
looking, well, that would make anybodys day. I belive that Download
is one of those games.
While the story is vague (I can't translate Japanese), it's presented
using cool anime cutscenes that come together to form what could
only be described as a mini movie. The intro alone is about five
minutes long, and even though I didn't know what the hell was going
on, it was still worthy of watching. From what I can gather, a cyborg
named Syd is the hero.
Anyway, Download is a sidescrolling shooter. Your ship isn't really
a ship at all, but is in fact Syd and his flying future hoverbike.
From the start, you get your choice of two primary weapons consisting
of a wide vulcan type shot, or a streaming laser. You can also choose
from three secondary weapons, ranging from guided missels to bullet
Now I won't lie to you, Download isn't the best shooter on the planet,
and certainly not on the pc-engine. The game does have some faults.
Many of the enemies are incredibly cheap, appearing out of nowhere
and ramming into you, crowding the screen, taking way too many hits,
etc. The bosses can kill you in seconds and they take way too long
to kill. The enemy types can get really repetitive, and so on. This
is no Thunderforce 4 or Gate of Thunder.
However, the game looks pretty good for a non cd turbo game. There
are tons of 3d on many of the stages, and the first level especially
looks great, with about 3 layers of scrolling on the highway floor
alone, let alone the other five or so in the background.
There are some pretty decent level themes, like destroyed highways,
oceans, space, a cyber-space police station, and more. The gameplay
is great as well. Sure, there are a lot of times when bullets seem
to appear out of thin air, bosses crowd the screen with three seperate
attacks, and thirty bullets are coming at you a second. Despite
that, your vehicle never seems sluggish. The speed can be altered,
which is a plus in a game like this.
At times, Download feels like a manic shooter, and not a paced one.
Sometimes, there is just too much going on to keep track of anything,
and you end up taking hits. Thankfully, the craft can take up to
4 hits before crashing. You can also get all of your energy back
from the power-ups that litter the stages. So, while Download can
very frustrating, it's never impossible, and thanks to the infinite
continues, there's no crying or whining when you take one too many
hits. However, you must continue from the start of the level, so
it's not like dumping quarter after quarter into an arcade machine.
You will have to learn the levels to make proper use of the continues.
Download has other outstanding values. The music is absolutely rockin,
at least by turbo standards. Much in the same vien of Musha and
Thunderforce 4, Download attempts to create heavy metel tunes using
a weak sound system and a cartrdige format. In spite of the limitations,
like Musha and TF4, the soundtrack works, and it gets you pumped
up for the levels. If I ever get my hands on Download 2 for the
super cd, I don't doubt that I'll be amazed by the songs. As far
as I'm concerned, this is the most rocking hu-card music I've heard
coming from a pc-engine shmup. Of course, my tastes may not be everyone's
taste, so if you find you don't like the music, ok. I happened to
Another great thing about Download is that you're rewarded when
you actually die. While I know it wasn't purposeful, this game has
some of the funniest English I've seen on a game over screen. Just
look at the pics!! Also, they use some profanity, and it makes things
all the more humorous.
In all honesty, if it wasn't for the anime screens, music, bad english,
and good graphics, Download would be another boring shooter. However,
it manages to succeed with its presentation, comic aspects, and
good control. It can be a bitch in some places, and the bosses WILL
piss you off, but give it a chance and you'll find an enjoyable
shmup that serves as a good 'getaway' shooter when you tire of the