Shoot. Em. Up…. Shmup.
My first experience with the genre came in the form of 1942 in a Round Table arcade packed with primarily ticket games. 1942 stood out as an extremely hardcore-looking game. My 10-year-old brain insulted the Jackpot ticket games and the row of ski-ball units.
This flying game was ten times faster, things blew up, and you got to shoot at tanks and other planes. 1942 was cool, plainly said, but the genre didn't progress much further in the following years. Bullet-hell shooters became popular, but further alienated gamers not fully versed in the shmups. In came Under Defeat.
Introduced in 2006, Under Defeat turned World War II on its head like only the Japanese could, making Nazis heroes and "the Union" the enemy. Given control over an advanced helicopter death-machine, players set out to win the war the only way they know how: blowing everything up.
While the original game made a significant (at the time) splash on the Dreamcast, I'm guessing you've never heard of the game before now. I was in the same boat until Rising Star Games passed us a near-finished build of Under Defeat HD for PlayStation 3.
The up-res includes a host of new features and allows PS3 gamers a chance to experience an old-school arcade shooter. Your helicopter can shoot in different directions, no matter which way you're flying with the right analog stick. Picking up power-ups, laying waste to enemies with bombs, and generally kicking ass feel as it should in any shmup.
That dual-stick control scheme is new in Under Defeat HD, making the title more about finesse in tight situations. Fans of the title will also find a new 16:9 New Order Mode that gives you a wider view of the battlefield. Under Defeat HD smartly allows players to make use of their entire screen.
While you're staring down massive bosses, watching the smoke billow up from the wrecked enemies you already shredded, Under Defeat's graphical improvements will look like the generational leap they represent. Of course, if you have no knowledge of Under Defeat's roots, this probably doesn't matter.
Despite that, UDHD scratches a very specific itch, one that hasn't been satisfied like this in a long time. The classic arcade throwback is available November 27th digitally through the PlayStation Store or boxed exclusively through Amazon from Rising Star Games and G.Rev.