Review by Matt Paprocki

Electronic Arts


Graphics: 6

Sound: 3

Gameplay: 5

Overall: 4

Viewpoint hit the Neo Geo home/arcade console early in the systems life. At the time, it was highly regarded not only for the insane difficulty, but one of the single greatest soundtracks of all time. This PlayStation update adds a little bit to the gameplay (including the killer: an uneven frame rate) but ditches that soundtrack which ends up being the final straw.

Viewpoint serves up just that: a viewpoint. The 3/4 view will be instantly familiar to anyone that has ever seen Sega's classic Zaxxon (minus the altitude adjustments that are required) or any of the 16-bit entries into the NBA Live basketball series. It's a bit odd for a shooter and can make it difficult to judge where an enemy or a stray shot is exactly on the playing field. It will definitely require some adjustment and whether or not you can take the change will certainly determine if you stick with this one. Fans of the original will notice an increase in speed in the scrolling of the field, but your ship is still far to slow, an even bigger issue here than it was in the past.

Unlike the initial release, players now have the advantage of a shield surrounding their ship. You can take a few hits in this rendition instead of the unforgiving one-hit-kills in the original. Running into an actual enemy ship still means a death regardless of your shield strength. You have solo shots, powered up blasts, and 3 bombs available to you from the start for offense. 2 indestructible side ships will join in when the appropriate power-up is found. These are generally readily available whenever you die, so going without them is quite rare.

All of the graphics have been pumped up, now with insane color and shading. Everything is rendered with a computer now instead of being hand drawn. All of the enemies look like they did before, now with more color and a brilliant sheen to the proceedings. Some CG cinemas have been added, though their inclusion is relatively worthless.

With all of this gloss comes a price, and that large price is slowdown. It's completely inconsistent, coming and going as it pleases, always interrupting the flow of the game. In any shooter it can be an issue, but here it simply stutters and causes unwarranted explosions in the hull of your miracle fighting machine. Oddly, it's not exactly pushing the hardware in any way as the animation is limited, so the only conclusion is lackluster programming.

As with the graphical issues, the sound suffers the same fate. The sound effects are serviceable, but the abysmal techno/surf tunes soundtrack is an embarrassment to the classic tracks of the Geo cart. There is little reason or logic as to why the original music simply wasn't remixed for the CD format, but it's obvious the designers didn't do their homework. If you have never played the first release, you obviously won't care as much, but enjoying these tunes either way is a stretch.

This is still a fair shooter. Die-hard fans of the genre will likely find something to like and this group is always up for a challenge. Rest assured they'll find it here. This one is actually harder than the first game thanks to the stuttering slowdown, but not even this is as annoying as the awful excuse for a soundtrack. Those who enjoyed this one on the Geo are better off staying on those grounds then venturing into this new territory.


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Last updated: Saturday, May 22, 2004 08:05 AM