Dead Moon


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 9

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 6

Overall: 6



Lost in a sea of horizontal shooters, the hard to find Dead Moon is notable for only a few aspects. One is the incredibly short length, the other is the gorgeous parallax scrolling in the backgrounds, and the final is difficulty ramp that only kicks in during the final level.

Dead Moon begins on Earth above a cityscape. As per shooter lore, you'll gain power-ups from specific ships, each with a typical set of abilities. Missiles and shields provide extra protection. Each level delivers a mini-boss in the midst of other seemingly mindless alien drones, and the expected end level showdown that always makes you wonder who actually planned this attack. Why wait until the ship is powered up to send in the deadliest enemy?

Regardless of 16-bit story logic, this is a competent shooter. The various weapons are fun to experiment with, and each is useable in a capable players hands. The generous hit system lets the player take multiple hits, each lowering the weapon level down. Take one final hit on the weapons weakest power level and you'll lose the entire ship.

This leads to three straight stages that offer zero challenge to any experienced space shooter veteran. The boss fights which are goofy fossilized dinosaurs (as opposed to high technology ships prior) don't put up much a fight, and their shooting patterns give plenty of leniency. The same goes for the mid-level bosses.

Only in the final battle, stage four, does the game find its own. Enemies begin their bombardment from every conceivable angle to the point of being unfair in spots for newcomers. Finding a way out as the console handles the mass of sprites without a hint of slowdown is the type of challenge seasoned veterans are looking for.

Making it that far will take less than 15 minutes assuming no continues are used. Seeing everything will cost the player around 20 minutes at the most. Granted, it's worth playing to look at the depth achieved in the backdrop (stage three especially), but there's not enough game here to warrant a purchase.


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Last updated: Monday, August 20, 2007 10:31 PM