Gekioh: Shooting King

PS One

Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 8

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 8

Overall: 8


With developers free to release whatever they want late in the life of the PS One, Natsume decided the Arcade/Saturn shooter Shienryu needed some exposure. They put on store shelves for the nearly dead Playstation, slapped a budget price on it, changed the name, and gave it some nifty, if useless, extras. Of the late release titles, this is one of the few must-haves, even if it is derivative.

gekioh1.png (55747 bytes)You could find countless other shooters just like Gekioh (not to be confused with the beat-em-up GekiDO). In fact, some of the ships including the player controlled one, looks like they came right out of Raiden II. The way enemy bogeys disintegrate upon contact is also "borrowed." That's the obvious inspiration here, and there are not that many better games they could have found to imitate.

There's very little to complain about other than the usual shooter gripes. Bullets are occasionally lost in the mayhem resulting in frustrating deaths (though not as much with the unlimited continues provided), and it can be beaten in an under an hour. It slows down more often than it should, especially considering that other shooters (even 2-D ones) on the Playstation have very little trouble handling graphics like this.

The power-up system is basic, with three main weapons systems and shields. Various other pick-ups include a speed boost, bombs, and point add-ons. The occasional extra life will fly by as well. The developers are kind not to strip a player completely of their earned power-ups when they die (or even when you continue). It's co-operative multi-player as well.

That's of course talking about the main game mode called, for whatever reason, "Genki." This makes the game fall into the normal difficulty, while hard and easy stick with the appropriate name. Everything else tweaks the game, especially graphically. Some of these unique modes are annoying, like Comical which replaces explosions with a sitcom laugh track.

Stingy is a brutally difficult game in itself, allowing you one life to shoot down 1,000 foes with no weapon upgrades or continues. Pocket mode is a brief diversion that makes the game seem like it's played on a Pocketstation (or other similar device), and it even recreates the screen blur. All of this is unlocked from the start, so even if you can beat the Stingy challenge, you'll get nothing. It's all there when you buy it.

Every mode is presented in a vertical letterbox. The sides stay static on the sides and the gameplay (in the main game) simply layers itself over the colorful title screen. If you're paranoid about burn in, you're going to have a panic attack with this game. Otherwise, there's fantastic detailing on every ship no matter how small and the explosions are nice and meaty. Special effects are limited and the bomb effects don't offer much in the way of awe like screen clearing weapons should. It's an obvious upgrade from the 16-bit generation, just not by much.

With a code, you can access the original arcade soundtrack. The new mixes are fine; it's just nice the option is there. This is a nice, upbeat soundtrack either way, with plenty of energy behind it. It may not be the highlight over the countless explosions of stupid pattern-following invaders, but it's great to have it in the background.

Considering the price, there's no reason not to own this, unless you have some deep unbridled hatred for shooters. The extra features alone should give you enough value, and this is one enjoyable enough to plow through multiple times. It may not be the consoles best in the genre; it's just borderline close.


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Last updated: Tuesday, September 13, 2005 04:54 PM