Tuesday, November 29, 2011

D(imension) Force

It has occurred to me that I haven't posted much about SNES games. This is mostly a product of my small SNES collection, so to help rectify this I've decided to write about some random SNES roms. After landing on a few Japanese-only RPGs, which I don't feel qualified enough to get into, I ended up with Dimension Force, which I had never heard of. There doesn't appear to be much of a difference between it and the North American, D-Force. This 1991 shooter was made by Asmik Ace Entertainment, a company that has been around since the NES era, and is still active today, but has never made much of importance. The most notable of their releases to me is the terrible The Ring: Terror's Realm for the Dreamcast.

D-Force is a mostly unremarkable vertical scrolling shooter. The most unique features it offers are the use of Mode 7 graphics effects and two types of levels. At first, the use of Mode 7 seems to just be a gimmick to make the game look nice during the helicopter's takeoffs and crashes, but it actually plays into the function of the second type of levels. The first type of levels, titled “shooting mode” levels, are regular scrolling shooter levels with a bunch of aircraft to contend with, powerups, and lots of bullets to avoid.

The second type of levels are titled “exploration mode,” or “technical mode” in the Japanese version, levels, and while there are still enemies, there are less bullets flying around and player gets no powerups. The biggest change, though, is the ability to change from two different height planes with the trigger buttons, and the background graphics will scale accordingly. This is fine for going from the higher plane to the lower one because it is possible to see the lower enemies in order to avoid them, but when going from the lower plane to the higher one, it is a blind guess as to whether an enemy will be there or not. That's some nonsense, and on more than one occasion I crashed because I switched planes right into an enemy.

Even with this unique feature, D-Force  isn't a particularly interesting shooter. Granted, I'm not a big fan of the genre, and maybe fans of this type of game could get into it for some reason. To me, it is just an unremarkable shooter that the developers tried to spice up with the SNES's new technology and didn't really come together. The plane-switching thing could be interesting, but without the ability to see the higher plane and with the rough way it transitions, it just doesn't work. Supposedly the game is about overthrowing an evil Middle Eastern dictator, which seems reasonable until the dinosaurs show up.

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