SHMUPS





Spriggan Mark 2 - Compile/Naxat Soft









Spriggan Mark 2

Reviewed by Postman

While it may not be true in the case of the shooter genre, letís face it, most games are created because somebody has a solid STORY to tell. Without at least some kind of characters, plot, and theme, 99 out of 100 games just wouldnít fly. And the technology of today makes it possible for ďmovie gamesĒ to really draw people into the action. Metal Gear Solid comes to mind, with about 30% action oriented gameplay and the rest cinema scenes. Shenmue is poised to be released, and the companies claim that this game will take game-related storytelling to the next level. Well, SM2 isnít even in the same ballpark as these games, but it could be viewed as a very early step in the ďcinematic gaming experienceĒ. Shooters donít usually go that direction, since their nature is just to blow stuff up, but Mark 2 is an extremely story driven game which doesnít neglect the action while laying out the plot. Some gamers may like this in a shmup, while others may be turned off by it, thinking ďwhatís the point, letís break stuff!Ē..

Hereís the really sad news: Mark 2 is all in Japanese, so I canít comment on the plot of the game at all. Itís looks halfway decent, and itís possible to piece some of it together, but without a FAQ, patch, or translation to be found, the whole point of this game is sorta lost. So I have to limit the review to the gameplay elements (which are still above average, mind you). Again, I canít stress how much we are missing out of this game by not understand the plot. Imagine watching the latest Anime import with no translations or overdubs. Frustrating, innit?

So, on to the game. Mark 2 is part of the Spriggan series, yet deviates from the norm by switching to side scrolling. You play the part of a mech out toÖ.umÖdo somethingÖ.with lots of weapons at your disposal. The sheer firepower of the Spriggan is fun to use, and when done properly tears the enemy to shreds. You are able to customize the mech before missions, so try the different setups and see what weapon combinations you like best. Ammo is limited, but with about five or six guns to switch around, you will be well equipped for massive destruction. There is even an energy sword for close range combat, and a huge beam weapon that devastates bosses in a few hits. The Spriggan has a regenerating shield meter, so this is no one-hit-wonder game. Dodge enemies for long enough, and you will replenish health, though this game isnít too difficult and you probably wonít get very low too frequently.

During the fights, your battleships and partners will sometimes come and help out. They donít do much, but will distract from bullets from heading your way. The appearance of a helper usually sparks some dialogue in Mark 2, and here is the gameís major problem: the constant stoppage of action sequences for character dialogue. You are blasting away at some bad guys, when the action stops and your buddy wants to tell you about the best movie ever he saw last night on cable TV or something. Very frustrating! Thankfully, though, there is an option to turn off the story mode, which I highly recommend. There is a LOT of dialogue, and just getting through one level can take a long time with all that chatter.

Bosses in Mark 2 are huge, and most have some long arm-like devices with a long reach. However the firepower of the Spriggan easily overpowers even the toughest of opponents. The most dangerous parts are in the levels trying to get to the bosses. Spriggan Mark 2 is one long game, with eight levels and lots of story. Even though I didnít get the full impact of Mark 2 (no music, voices, or English translation), I would still recommend it to shmup fans, especially if you like Lords of Thunder. Personally I like Musha or Spriggan one better as a shoot em up, but for an overall presentation, Mark 2 is mighty impressive.



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< Some shots of one of the finest pre-FMV intro sequence ever made. Since Spriggan MK2 is a story driven game, there will be lots o pics in this review. If someone knows of a translation site, please let me know!

 


Another game on the Compile line of shooters, Spriggan Mark 2 is a big dissapointment to me. They changed the original game into a horizontal mass of nonsense, a bit similar to Cybernator. I am better playing the original Spriggan (or Cybernator). I'd give this one a 65%

- Akira



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