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Avatar ImageGamer Limit Review: Gundemonium Collection
By: | July 24th, 2010 | Multi-platform
PC |PS3 |Review

If there is one genre of games that is criminally underrepresented in the current generation, it is the shoot ‘em up. Shmups provide an incredible thrill: charging forwards, guns ablaze, weaving through a torrential cannonade of oncoming enemy fire where the slightest of mistakes means instant death. They are one of the oldest and most venerated genres in the medium of videogames. Unfortunately, outside of Japan this type of game also happens to be something of a rarity.

Luckily, publishers like Los Angeles-based Rockin’ Android are keen on bringing them stateside. The Gundemonium Collection, a trilogy of Doujin shmups, have recently made their way from the Japanese indie scene and onto the PlayStation Network and PC.

Gundemonium Recollection

The first title in the trilogy is set in an alternate 18th century and features a ridiculous and overcomplicated story. The world is in peril or something, and it is up to a young revolver-toting alchemist/cowgirl named Eryth to save the day.

Gundemonium Recollection is a simple yet well-thought-out horizontal shooter with tight controls. Of all the titles in the compilation, I found Recollection to be the most balanced in terms of difficulty. However, by no means is it an easy affair. For players looking for something deeper and more challenging, this simplicity soon gives way to an exciting system of risk and reward.

Graphically, the game looks gorgeous, featuring hand-drawn visuals with a distinct steampunk aesthetic, which would look right at home on a 16-bit console. Unfortunately, much like the other titles in the Gundemonium trilogy, the largest problem with Recollection is the forgettable soundtrack, which is drowned out by far more competent gameplay and visuals.

Recollection features an array of weaponry including a primary shot, a magic attack, and a third “bomb” attack which destroys nearly everything on screen. In addition to Eryth, there is a second playable character, the Earl-type alchemist, which is recommended for beginners due to her superior firepower and ability to be tailored to the player’s wants and needs.

Although the game can be completed in well under an hour, Recollection‘s arcade-style nature makes it highly replayable. With local and online leaderboards, as well as a plethora of trophies to collect, there is plenty of longevity in this package.

GundeadliGne

The second title in the trilogy is the direct sequel to Gundemonium Recollection, and sees the return of Eryth in her mission to repel the demonic army spilling from a portal in space-time. While GundeadliGne seems to do little to differentiate itself from its predecessor, this is not necessarily a bad thing; the old mantra of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” certainly applies here.

Although GundeadliGne showcases a presentation that is incredibly similar to Recollection, a major difference between the titles is the newfound ability to make an about-face and thus change the direction of fire. This subtle difference in control changes both how enemies throw bullet formation at the player and also how the player must think about the game.

Eryth, while remaining largely unchanged from Recollection, now has several new methods of attack and defense to choose from, which replace her “bomb” attack. The customizable Earl-types from the previous title have also been replaced. In their stead is a new character, Elixiar. With a powerful beam cannon attack and a magic attack that slows both enemies and oncoming fire, Elixiar is perfect for beginners still honing their skills.

If multiplayer is something that you look for in games, GundeadliGne may just be your favourite of the trilogy, as GundeadliGne also offers a two-player cooperative mode. After an attempt at the “Demonic” difficulty setting, I believe playing with a friend may be necessary to successfully complete it. Well, that or Godlike reflexes.

Hitogata Happa

As prequel to Gundemonium Recollection, Hitogata Happa is set nearly twenty years prior to Eryth’s first mission. While the first two titles in the series are strikingly similar in appearance, the third and final title in the Gundemonium Collection is far different. Taking a cue from many arcade shmups, Hitogata Happa shakes the horizontal nature of previous titles in the series for a top-down, vertical view of the field.

Aesthetically, the game is also quite different from the first two titles. While GundeadliGne and Recollection has a cuter anime-inspired art direction, Hitogata Happa features a more futuristic military aesthetic, with aircraft and tanks instead of steampunk alchemists.

In Hitogata Happa, the player controls dolls rather than a gun-slinging heroine. There are eight dolls each with their own unique attack and special ability. Once again differentiating itself from its predecessors where one must choose a character and weapon type prior to starting the game, Hitogata‘s dolls can be purchased between levels and freely switched between during gameplay.

With a seemingly straightforward control setup, one would be forgiven for thinking that this title was just another “shoot-to-survive” affair. In my first few attempts at Hitogata Happa, that same thinking left me staring at a Game Over screen on a number of occasions.

As if the first two titles in the series were not difficult enough, Hitogata Happa ratchets up the difficulty even further. Requiring a critical switch in thinking, Hitogata asks players to use suicidal tactics in order to progress. A “flow gauge” fills up with each successive hit on an enemy. Once this gauge is full, a bomb will appear above the head of the doll. This allows for the kamikaze attacks necessary to defeat the massive, screen-filling bosses that wait at the end of each level.

In conclusion, this is a great compilation of titles with finely tuned gameplay, tight controls, crisp visuals, and a wonderful retro aesthetic. Whether you are a newcomer to shmups or are a bullet-hell veteran, there is something here for everyone. This package offers a great value at $15 for all three titles. Additionally, each title is available individually for $6. With hours of fast, fun, and addictive gameplay in store, you simply cannot go wrong with picking up the Gundemonium Collection.

Rating Category
8.0 Presentation
Graphically, the games all look gorgeous, featuring bright and colourful hand-drawn visuals with a retro aesthetic.
How does our scoring system work?
9.0 Gameplay
The three games in this package are all challenging, well-thought-out shooters with tight controls and intense bullet-hell gameplay.
6.0 Sound
The largest problem with the games are the forgettable soundtracks which are not bad, but not particularly good either.
8.0 Longevity
Although short in duration, the arcade-style nature of the games makes the collection highly replayable. With local and online leaderboards, as well as a plethora of trophies to collect, there is plenty of longevity in this package.
8.0 Overall
This is a great compilation of titles with finely tuned gameplay, tight controls, crisp visuals, and a wonderful retro aesthetic. With hours of fast, fun, and addictive gameplay in store, you simply cannot go wrong with picking up the Gundemonium Collection.

  1. I’m loving Hitogata Happa; the last boss was amazingly fun! I’ve never seen puzzle elements combined with the already puzzling danmaku genre before.

  2. avatar Arman

    You gave Moe the credit for the Jeremy Parish love? I am ouraegtd, sir! For it is I, John, who has the eternal torch flaming in my heart for Mr. Parish. A torch which fortunately cannot be snuffed or even dimmed by such an egregious error! [Jeremy, if you're reading this: feel free to add this comment to your pile of exhibits for your restraining order.]

  3. avatar Mohamad

    Hi, I mailed your jobs -mail appilyng for the 3D-artist position.. gave you a notice over here as well as I suspected that you guys aren’t checking that mail too often

  4. avatar Nursalam

    , That looks like something you would pull out of a lake with a hook . They all nedodd agreement and proceeded to leave.I was devastated as I was the main proponent of the sea monster design. I asked Bernie what we should do. Before the door even closed behind the group our Chief Modeler jumped onto the hood, creating a loud thumping sound where standing there he proceeded to hack away with a large tool to destroy the curving fin like front fenders. Question answered.Another strange but easily understood event was told to me by Ned Nickels when I worked for him in the Overseas Studio in about 1968. This concerned the design of the (1958?) Buick Limited when Ned had been Chief of Buick. It was a car that was, for some reason, loaded with chrome goo-gaws of every shape and size. It had an illogical character. They were finishing off this special edition Buick and they had two proposals. They were taking it to the patio for a Harley Earl final approval. The proposals were illustrated by two cardboard mockups with clay extrusions on them. The designers decided to pin both proposals to the side of the car at the same time for the trip. They would then adjust the proposals for the presentation of the two designs. The model left the studio for the patio and since it took a few minutes to get there everyone took a short break, gathered their tools and started out.To their horror they were met at the hallway entrance to the patio by Harley Earl’s Administrative Assistant (Jules Androtti?)who announced: Mr. Earl just looked at it and he says that you should release it exactly as it is shown .They could not believe their ears. I asked Ned if he went back to ask Earl about another show. He did not answer, just shook his head no.I then understood Ned’s penchant to always leave the studio for the patio before the car did. After hearing that story I adopted his rule and I have to say it saved me several times. From time to time I would tell stories like this to my father who was in the construction business and a great fan of GM, especially Buick and Cadillac.He would get a blank look on his faceDICK RUZZIN

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