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 Post subject: Nostradamus by FACE (Arcade)
PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2020 9:39 pm 

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Joined: 11 Oct 2008
Posts: 301
Location: Autobot City, Sugiura Base
Time to talk about an obscure yet good shooter. I'm talking Nostradamus by FACE.

August 5, 2219

Nostradamus is an obscure shooter that can best be described as a Raiden clone, just like Thunder Dragon and Final Star Force.
However, it at least makes a few innovations just like Varth: Operation Thunderstorm did.

Neon Genesis E.B.A.-ngelion.

As soon as you insert a coin, you'll be on the "How to Play" screen where you're introduced to the Energy Boost Acceleration System or "E.B.A. System". This is the Sub-Weapon of the game which acts as a bullet absorbing defense and the special weapon unleashed as a Charged Attack as long as you hold the fire button.

There's two types of E.B.A.'s available.
It's regular shot consist of firing a twin blue laser beams that lock on enemies, acting as the Homing weapon of the game. Releases a short ranged Turrican Line Bomb-like blast of energy that inflicts damage to frontal and rear enemies.
PHOENIX WAVE: It uses frontal fire-like beams that passes through any enemy on sight and split lateral 3-way shots on its path, causing additional damages providing more than just additional frontal fire. Its Charge Shot unleashes a fire blast that flaps like a bird's wings, hence its name. The wings damages anything on both front and sides.

Seems like being Player 2 is better than being Player 1.

Like in Thunder Dragon 2, the players are assigned to an unique ship. Player 1 takes control of Dalas ship, which fires a Spread Shot pattern that has a 4-bullet rear fire back up useful against enemies and homing missiles fired by them. Player 2 takes control of Joanna's ship, which is the full frontal fire type that uses a swirling stream of bullets with a few shots with a width to protect the ship from side attacks. Although ship variety is well accepted, it does look slightly unfair that the game locks the players on a specific ship just like in Thunder Dragon 2 and the first Aero Fighters (Example: 1P is the F/A-18 and 2P is the F-14) rather than gives them the option of selecting the ship.

Bonus Panel Bonanza!: A little point collecting before the end of the world.

The gameplay is like I've said before, a Raiden clone. Your shots require the Raiden-styled 8 power ups to max out, while the E.B.A. needs like three or four. But unlike Raiden, Thunder Dragon and Final Star Force, Nostradamus relies on the E.B.A. System acting more like the main weapon rather than the ship's standard shots 'cos the E.B.A. is both the Weapon, Shield and "Bomb" and I put it in quotes since they partially do their job as the screen clearing weapon. They destroy the bullets, but the large beams and orbs of energy are immune. This small flaw is the advantage for the enemy and it will take it perfectly well. So, surviving the beam assault is now up to you and your mastering of the E.B.A. System. One more hint about this system is that you can use it as a battering ram of some sorts by holding the fire button as if you're charging the Wave. Any enemy that touches the charge will be destroyed.
Bonus items are also part of the fun of this game. Not just the "B" icons that give you a 500 points per icon at the end of the stage, but also the hidden B green panels, these ones are accumulative just like the Star Bonus fron Thunder Dragon, but also, they offer even more points as you keep picking them. From 2,000 to 40,000. However, the panels keep tracking of who has the most points making it more competitive (If player 1 has 30,000 and Player 2 has 12,000, they respect that progression) when the game is played in Co-Op.
Like in most Capcom shmups, continuing the game will add 1 point to your score as a mark of shame. The only way to avoid it is by switching to player 2 after losing your last life. Unfortunately, you can only use this trick once.

No Raiden Clone is complete without the space stage.

Graphically, it looks very well made, at the point that feels like we're playing a late CPS-1/early CPS-2 shmup like Varth: Operation Thunderstorm or Eco Fighters due to the well applied use of colors and great quality on the sprites and their animation. Creativity can be found in the second and fifth stages as we have alien hyeroglyphs that are actually disguises for alien ships as they emerge from them, the same for the alien relics like the monoliths which they suddenly turn out to be spaceships or turrets. The sense of speed is also present in the space stages as the players make the trip from Mars to Jupiter in a few seconds as they fight a sub-boss and some enemies on the way.
The character portraits are also well made, at the point of being very photorealistic. This is mostly noticeable in Joanna.

The Alien Wars begin !
It's time for revenge. Let's attack aggressively.

For some reason, the opening sequence of this game reminds me A LOT of Contra III: The Alien Wars, just without Satan, I mean Devil Emperor Gava's head over the destroyed city.

C'mon, fly...*Everything malfunctions*...Damn!!
¬°¬°¬°SNAAAAAAAAAAAAAAKE!!! *Explodes*
See you in hell, Liquid...That takes care of the cremation.

The game designers decided to add epicness to the player death as your ship unleashes electricity and shakes before exploding dramatically, kinda like in Pulstar when you lose a life, minus the "pausing" effect.

The music of this game ranges from bad to good as we have bad examples like the Press Start screen, the boss theme in Stages 1 and 4 and the lame level clear tune which sound like a bad MIDI chiptune, and those MIDI notes will be in most of the good songs, for instance Stage 1 that has a Darius-like pace with the action pumping rhythm followed by clappings in the style of Darius II, but then the MIDI-like notes enter and they sound out of place, ruinning the whole thing. The same goes for Stage 2, but the annoying note and beeping at least they try to go along with the music and at least they pull an effort on adding more pace to the whole thing.
The Game Over theme while it is short, it still retains a sinister tune that reminds me of Keiki Kobayashi's Mission Failed themes from Ace Combat at the point you can almost expect to hear "< < Did Mage 2 seriously go down? > >"

- The company itself makes a cameo in Stage 3 where one of the buildings has the word FACE written on it.
- While Stage 3 buildings have korean signs, the highways have the word "TOKYO" written on it.
- It is possible that Stage 5 takes place on Europa, one of Jupiter's moons.

I kept everything inside and even though I tried, it all fell apart.
What it meant to me will eventually be a memory of a time when I tried so hard.
I tried so hard and got so far, but in the end it doesn't even matter.

The ending of this game can best be described with a quote from Top Gun Maverick: "The end is inevitable, Maverick. Your kind is headed for extinction". As we've defeated the final boss, the ending will tell us that the boss escaped as a large missile that inevitably will hit Earth, destroying it. With the Earth gone, Dalas and Joanna are the last humans in the universe destined to die and their ships will become a memorial to mankind wandering across the universe.

Any way, Nostradamus is an interesting obscure gem among shmups. If it wasn't for the "FACE" logo on the title screen, anyone would think this is a missing shmup from Capcom or Taito due to its accuracy to said companies.
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Bringing you shmup reviews with humorous criticism.

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