Iridion 3D

a game by Shin'en Multimedia

Platform: GBA

Genre: Action

See also: Iridion Games

Overview

The storyline reads like the line from the movie The Last Starfighter: Greetings Starfighter, you have been recruited by the Star League to defend the Frontier against Xur and the Kodan Armada.' Okay, not exactly, but you have been selected to defend the Earth against the Iridion Star Fighters. You are in a ship and it is up to you to save the planet. There are a variety of different landscapes to travel through to keep your interest, and each level has a boss to battle before continuing on to the next mission.

Gameplay, Controls, Interface

The game is pretty fun, but the ship you fly seems underpowered and the area of movement a bit tight at times. The game does a good job of filling the screen with things to shoot but you just do not have enough firepower to get the job done; shoot what you can and dodge the rest. Lives are limited, so play it safe as you will need a few lives to get past most of the boss characters. I thought the first and second boss characters should have been switched, since the second boss seemed easier to beat than the first.

The controls are simple and easy to get a feel for -- you move and you shoot. There does not seem to be any way of getting different weapons to switch through, so the only button that makes a difference is the 'A'? -- the one you fire with. You do get weapons upgrades, but these go away with the loss of a life. The firepower does not increase until you get to stage three; by then you really need stronger weapons. Left, right, up, and down on the key pad move you around the screen. As you complete a level you will receive a password -- write them down since you may not want to play all the levels again and they are lengthy and impossible to remember. I thought the passwords were way too long and it gave me the impression that the game makers were more worried about people guessing passwords than making this part of the game user-friendly.

Some levels you just need to survive and others are lots of fun and more visually appealing. Do not judge this game by the first level, get through it and the game looks a lot better. There is no way to customize the controls other than reversing them so up is down and down is up. Some people like this, but I do not -- I wish I could have had the option to change the fire button to a different location. I would have appreciated being able to move the fire button to either the right or left buttons. I like games much more if I can customize the controls to the best fit for comfort.

Multiplayer

There is no support for multiplayer or head to head action. This is one area where the game really comes up short. There should have been more attention to this area of play especially with the new ability in Game Boy Advance to be able to link up to four players at a time. This could have been really cool with multiplayer support -- adding more stuff coming at you and making the boss characters harder, proportional to the number of ships fighting together.

Graphics

The graphics overall are nice and do show up well in the new wider screen of the GBA. Some areas, especially in Stage One are way too dark, which makes it hard to see and play -- make sure you have a good light source when you play it. The screenshots do not do this game justice. The graphics look better on the Game Boy Advance than they appear in this review; they have lost some of the crispness when ported.

Audio

The sound effects are good and the music is nice. I also liked the fact that you can control how loud the music is in relation to the sound effects; this is a setting under 'Options.'? If you do not like the music you can turn it off and still have the sound effects playing.

Bottom Line

I liked Iridion 3D. It was a fun game to play and if you find it too easy there is a Hard setting that will challenge the most proficient game players. This is a nice space shooter with lots of action to keep you interested, challenged and sometimes frustrated. I would have liked to have multiplayer options but as is the game is still fun and will provide plenty of hours of enjoyment. The only groundbreaking thing about this game is that it is for Game Boy Advance and looks nice on the new platform. This may have been a bit rushed out the door but is still a good game if you like space shooters.

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