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 Post subject: Super Space Serpent SE (XBOX One)
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2019 8:53 am 

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Joined: 11 Oct 2008
Posts: 301
Location: Autobot City, Sugiura Base
Vectorial trace-themed games are quite common, and this game is no exception. I'm talking Super Space Serpent SE (short for Secondary Edition)

Let's see how many Tron references you can think about...

The game is a basic Twin Stick shooter, and when i say basic i mean it 'cos any other button, bumper and trigger is disabled. Left Stick moves the ship while the right one. Unlike titles like Omega Race and Asteroids where the main objective is to clear the screen of enemies before progressing to the next stage, in Super Space Serpent SE is the opposite: Survive 62 seconds of enemy waves until the time runs out on a "take down all you can" combat.
During your play session, you will not be on your own, the game will drop items that will either help you or get you in more trouble.

NUMBER ITEM: This item will appear falling down while changing its number from 1 to 6. Picking a number will give you a specific upgrade
NUMBER 1 - ONE UP: This item, while quite useful, it has a decieving name because all what it does is to give you 50 Health points.
NUMBER 2 - OWZYWOOZY: This is one of the "Useless" Power Ups. It makes the screen look blurry, making things difficult to see
NUMBER 3 - DOUBLE GUN: The first of the real Power Ups. It gives you a Twin Shot that goes in a "\ /" pattern.
NUMBER 4 - LOST LIFE: A "Punish" item that takes Health points away. Unlike getting hit, you are allowed to keep you multiplier if you pick this item.
NUMBER 5 - TRIPLE GUN: Second Power Up of the game. Grants you a Triple Shot that goes in a two diagonals on the sides and a straight one in the middle
NUMBER 6 - MONOCHROME: Another "Useless" Power Up. It turns the screen "Green and Black", which causes trouble in later levels as some enemies are invisible, resulting in potential collisions.

EXTRA ITEMS: There's extra items that will provide you additional support, specially on keeping you alive.
HEART - LOVE LIFE: This item only appears if your health drops to 50, making it a last chance item to continue the game.
COLOR CHANGING DIAMOND: Picking this item will release a spinning cross that bounces up and down before disappearing. Picking it gives you 250 health points.

One of the keys of the game's replay value is the Multiplier. Just like the advertising posters of Blazing Star said "Increase your score and go wild!", Super Space Serpent SE follows this element and adapts it to the Arena styled shooter very well. Each enemy down increases your score, and as long as you don't get hit, that multiplier can grow unbounded, which means you can get 100,000 points once you hit the x1000 mark.
A strategy you could possibly think is to stay on the border as much as possible, but actually that's not a good idea, because sometimes an enemy will spawn exactly there and you'll get an unexpected hit that will take away Health and will reset your Multiplier, so my best option was to stay in the center of the screen and only move when there's hazards like turrets or if an item is about to drop.

Today in "Stories of Tron": Tron will tell us about the time he fought Andross during the invasion of the Cornerian network.

Every once in a while you'll be pitted with a boss that you should destroy before proceeding to the next stage. Fortunately, the game will drop the Number Item to help you, so make sure you'll get the Triple Gun (number 5) to make things much easier.

So that's the secret to surpass the top of the Leaderboards, huh?

HINT: You can milk multipliers during the boss battles. The first three bosses have the same attack pattern: Get exposed, retreat and throw enemies at you and then return to take your hits. Their "Retreat and throw" is where the milking process comes at hand, as the battle bascally lasts forever until the boss life drops to zero, so you can amass between 1500 and 2000 multipliers without killing the boss.

WARNING: If you do this trick, there's a risk of screwing up the game while doing so 'cos after defeating the second boss, the second half of the game got from glitches like disappearing and reappearing Multiplier numbers to frame rate problems like if you're playing an arcade emulator with frame problems (pausing constantly). I was afraid that the game might crash and put me back on the XBOX One's dashboard. Fortunately, i was able to finish the game despite this issue. After playing a second session, the stage indicator appeared glitched: instead of Stage 1, it was Stage 41. All of this is the perpetual testimony of "TEST IT BEFORE RELEASE IT" in my opinion.

After playing the game more often, i've noticed that the frame rate instability occurs mostly by playing the game in long periods of time. Now that i mention the game's stability problems, there's quite worse problems: If you pick the Leaderboard option and then go back to the title, the game takes a lot of time to load the title screen. Ironically, when you pick the "MAIN MENU" option in the Game Over screen, the game puts you in the Title screen almost immediately.
I almost forgot another mess up of the game, it seems like 2 is the new zero in the game because the level ends when the timer hits 2. As your ship gets in the center of the screen and the countdown for the next wave appears, the stage timer keeps running, and it doesn't stop at zero. Instead it goes to minus 3. Something is really wrong with the game if you ask me.

"Conglaturation, go rest our heroes" blah-blah-blah, next time give us a better ending.

After the 40 waves, the ending is exactly the same as if you died in the process: A screen saying "GAME OVER THANK YOU FOR PLAYING" and the option of checking the Scores or going back to the title screen. If you thought the Arrange Mode ending of Triggerheart Exelica on the Dreamcast was a letdown, this is even worse, 'cos it feels like a cheap demo rather than a game ending that makes you feel like your efforts were worth for nothing.

The game's achievements once again are easy to take, except for the last three of them which involve to play the game up to 10, 50 and 100 times. The fastest way to hit the 100 is by committing deliberate suicide again and again until you reach the 100 sessions. So once again we're at the videogame equivalent of Junk Food that is the Gamerscore Milkers whose only purpose is to get 1000 points for a few bucks throughout a cheap game.

The battle for the grid was fought in the circular battle zone.

When it comes to graphics, the game aims to the Vector graphic era of games like Asteroids, Star Wars and the Vectrex console which makes a break from the oh-so-common use of pixels and Space Invaders-styled graphics. However, that doesn't mean the game will throw some pixel-based enemies at you. As you progress in the game, you'll be pitted against with not just vectorial shapes, but also ripoffs of Space Invaders, the Defender jet and the Hulk Robotron from Robotron 2084.
Something that the game staff should check is the ortography. There's errors that will make you think this game is a cheap phone app made in China with typos like "Setings" instead of Settings, "Lost Live" instead of "Lost Life", and "Twoo" instead of Two. That ranks up with the infamous "Conglaturation" ending of the NES Ghostbusters game. I'm not from an english-speaking country either, but at least i know how to write "Two" unlike the guys who made this game.

I know the 80's are mostly remembered for neon colors, but the color combinations used on the Timer and Boss Health are just GOD DAMNED HARMFUL TO THE EYES. The normal bright green bold text and thin pink border is just visual injury, and the 10 seconds left/low boss health red with green doesn't help either. Whoever made the text part of the graphics should consider to use the chrome effect that also made the 80' famous rather than the neon colors.

The music is perhaps the best part of the game, as the composer Neocrey brought us 16 tracks with unique electronic paces and delighting beats. The track "Fractal" is by far the best of the whole game, and what's really better is that we have a sound test to hear the entire tracklist of the game.

Overall, we've got an unstable game that while brings memories of the arcade era, it becomes boring after a few game sessions and only serves to gain Gamerscore points. In other words, another Gamerscore Milker. The only good thing about the game is the Soundtrack, which is worth to listen. If you had the disgrace of buying this game, the best thing you can do is to think you have an interactive music playlist with a lame game bundled to it.

For Petrus Games: Whoever made this game, please correct several of the game's issues, it feels like a bad prototype rather than an complete commercial indie game.
Fan of Transformers, Shmups and Anime-styled Girls. You're teamed up with the right pilot!
Bringing you shmup reviews with humorous criticism.

STG Wikias: Thunder Force Wiki - Wikiheart Exelica - Ginga Force Wiki

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