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 Post subject: Dimension Drive (XB1 - PS4 - Switch - PC)
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 8:51 am 

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Joined: 11 Oct 2008
Posts: 331
Location: Autobot City, Sugiura Base
Hiiiiiiiighwaaaaay tooo the Danger Zone!
Riiiiiiiide iiiiinto the Danger Zone!

Looks like it's time for more XBOX One shooting. Today's review: Dimension Drive.

As we all know, indie shmups are an unique gaming experience, since they can put us "right into the Danger Zone" with a good game with intense gameplay and great features, or being another Gamerscore Miker that wants our money for some quick 1,000 points or worse; unplayable trash like XenoRaptor and Fission Superstar X that doesn't deserve to be on anyone's console, even if the last XBOX One on Earth was on the "House at Pooh Corner" they won't be accepting such criminally unplayable games.

Nintendo DS?, Pfffft. XBOX One Does the dual screen thing in a larger screen.

To begin with, this game has one mode: PLAY, which is the main option featuring "Campaign", which is the main game, Co-op, for 2 players and Lost Levels, which features three different stages. Before you begin and after selecting a saving slot, you can choose if you want to play on Normal, Hard, Extreme or Insane. While the first three grant you shields, lives and the option of restarting at the same level, Insane is basically a Kaizo where you don't have shields, only 1 life and if you die you'll go back to the beginning. This is "What a Fool Believes" could be called challenging. If you're a masochist who loves the pain and want something more difficult than playing Natsuki Chronicles in Extreme with no Ex.Shields and enjoys playing Doom 3 in Nightmare difficulty, then this game is for you.

The game is splitted in two screens, just like Twinkle Star Sprites and Rival Megagun. However, there's no competition in this game, so this game utilizes the dual screen for one specific feature: Teleporting. You can warp your ship from one point to another just like in Solar Shifter EX, this is the core of the game, making emphasis on teleporting from one screen to another in order to destroy enemy formations. Also, this feature is used for navigation since the screens have different layouts and you have to memorize where is a safe spot because if you are careless you'll end up crashing with a wall on the other screen. While playing the game in Normal will grant you a force field as an indicator of "Don't warp 'cos there's a wall on the other side", this is removed on the higher difficulties.
Stage layout is also used on skill and secret hunting as sometimes you'll have to warp to pick a Data Cube. Along with the use of teleporting and stage layout, the game still has room for highscoring, and that comes with the Multipliers. Destroying enemies increases the multiplier by x1, and the maximum is of x99. Unlike Blazing Star, the multiplier doesn't reset by itself with time, instead, it is kept as long as you don't take a hit. Unfortunately, caring about getting hit would be the least of the problems because the challenge factor of the stage layout goes out of control in World 2, especially in Stage 2-3. Think about master the recently learned Reverse Drive ability, open gates and warp in the correct spot all at the same time, it's a "Flip-Switch-Shoot-Warp in the right spot" exercise that requires a lot of concentration, something humanly difficult. If you could move your eyes separately like a Jackson Chameleon you'd might have a chance, but since that's impossible, your best and more realistic option would be to have a friend that act as a Spotter or an RIO (Radar Intercept Officer) to tell you where and when to warp. Otherwise, Stage 2-3 will be the "Call it quits" point.

Like in Salamander, the best way to make it alive is staying on the top.

Each third level (1-3, 2-3) replaces the boss battle with an escape sequence because the station is falling down. Like in Salamander/Lifeforce, this implies maneuver through corridors at high speeds, this is where it relies on extreme memorization and even needing a friend to guide you as a spotter of some sorts, 'cos most of the times you'd be crashing because you warped on the wrong point.
Dying sucks in this game, because when your ship explodes you can't pause the game to bring the menu. Instead you have to sit through the ship explosion sequence, watch a dialogue between Jackelyne (the pilot) and the AI V.E.R.A. and then you'll finally be able to pause the game, in short words, the death-respawn cycle in this game is a Via Crucis that could be avoided by simply pressing a button.

Requirements for victory. Weapon consumption is punishable if you go below 30%

Like Natsuki Chronicles, this game utilizes a ranking based system based on the player's performance. To obtain Rank S, it requires you to get a high destruction rate in both screens, keeping the largest amount of stock lives possible, getting all four Data Cubes, but keep in mind, some of them are hidden and requires you to stay and shoot in the right screen and spot. Once you hear Jackelyne saying "Secret!", you'll reveal the hidden Data Cube. And last but not least: Avoiding the low energy on your weapons. Each time your ship's weapon energy hits 30%, Jackelyne will say "Low Energy". This will reduce your overall bonus, and worse, its an accumulative penalty if you hit below 30% more than once. So, to keep your weapons at a high level of energy is by switching to the other side of the screen where you have more energy. Once you're on the other screen, the unused one will reload automatically. Energy saving is part of three achievements.

*Plays "World Map" theme from Super Mario World*

While the game features 3 worlds, each one features its number of stages. Worlds 1 and 2 are comprised of four stages, while World 3 is a 5 stage long world, giving us a total of 13 stages.

Unlock a weapon and give it a try. Good Luck out there.

Once you've selected a mission you're allowed to select which weapon do you want to use kinda like in Axelay. Data Cubes are used to unlock a weapon, unlike money in other games, the game requires you to get a certain number of Data Cubes to unlock the weapon and use it instead of the usual "Earn and spend". Think about this as the stars in Super Mario 64 and the Adventure Mode of Pac-Man Championship Edition 2. Your initial weapon is your rapid firing Vulcan weapon. As you get more datacubes you can unlock a "Wave Shot", a "Shotgun-like" spread shot and the Plasma, which is your short ranged flamethrower.
You can also see which abilities you've unlocked. While Dimension Drive (the ability of jumping between screens) is unlocked by default. Reverse Drive and Drift Drive are unlocked by clearing each world. Reverse Drive allows you to aim down and decreases the game's scrolling speed, and Drift Drive is a dash similar to the Zero Teleport in Alien Soldier.

Unlockable lore. Collect Them All!

The second option of the screen, V.E.R.A. is the database of the game comprising the enemy data which is already unlocked and the game's lore which is unlocked by picking all four Data Cubes on each stage, except for stage 3-5.

The Sangheili race tries to conquer the universe!

Graphically, the game combines the use of CGI models for your ship and your enemies, while the scenery and level layouts are more of a 2D illustration with well drawn detailing. Your ship has a recoil effect when it fires the Vulcan shot. The fully CGI animated intro is quite good despite being a silent takeoff sequence, there's some nice effects later in the game like the energy background in stage 3-5 which looks more like water in movement.
The game features illustrated cutscenes with narration done by the protagonist, but this only happens when you start a new game, the rest of the cutscenes are the usual silent text that you manually skip by tapping a button or pressing the Start one to go to the gameplay.

Apparently, she has some mastery on "Ace McCloud's sarcastic humour".

Like the Daring Air Operations Expert from the cartoon Centurions: Power Xtreme, Jackelyne sometimes relies on the same cynical-sarcastic sense of humour when her ship is destroyed and respawns. She also asks about the game mechanics as "What's the multiplier for?" and even breaking the fourth wall in pure Hyperdimension Neptunia style as she asks what happened to her after losing a life. I almost expected to see Jackelyne saying "Nepu!" like Rie Tanaka when she voices Neptune.

How would we call her: "Miraculous Evangelion Pilot"?
At least is not a monstrosity like the first Psye.

Well, the character design is quite good as it blends anime and western comic book at the same time, since the mechanical design is reminiscent of hybrids styles like Oban Star Racers, and the protagonist looks like a mixture of both anime and western-euro animation, mostly on the style of ZagToon (Ladybug from Miraculous) and Hasbro Studios (Miko Nakadai from Transformers Prime) works. We can see traces of that style in her face, while the body style is more based on the teen-adult anime girl rather than the modern thin, anorexic western American-European cartoon style. Well, I know she is not like Crueltear or Margarette Whitetail, but at least is not an nightmarish abomination like the first Psye from Rigid Force Alpha who imposed a new standard of disturbing and frightening look in character designs that makes you wanna run for a chaingun as if it was a horde of Cacodemons straight out of Hell (Straimium Immortaly and Sine Mora EX were dethroned). The antagonists makes me think of the Sangheili (Arbiter's race) from the Halo franchise.

As for the music it tries to pull the style of Kuhga: Operation Code "Vapor Trail" due to the rocking style the music has. This is mostly noticed in Stage 1-1. Stage 1-2 adds some light orchestration and electronic synthesizer elements to add some variety. Stage 1-4 is more of a Megaman X-paced that would fit quite well on X3. During a boss fight in Stage 1-4 the music will be more focused on electronic rather than rocking

- The Switch version has a different title logo than the XBOX One and PlayStation 4 versions.
- The name "Manticore" comes from the Persian legendary creature similar to the Egyptian Sphinx that proliferated in western European medieval art as well. It has a human head, the body of a lion and a tail of venomous spines similar to porcupine quills (other depictions show it with a scorpion's tail). The name comes from the Persian word "Mardykhor" which means "Man Eater".
- Star Wars is mentioned in the random respawn comments in Stage 2-2. When Jackelyne asks "How did we end up in this mess?", VERA says "Some asteroid scene in Star Wars movie.", probably a reference to The Empire Strikes Back.

They say "Heaven Helps the Man", but in Dimension Drive's case, is not the best example, while we have a visually stunning shooter that executes the concept of teleporting in a more simple way than Solar Shifter EX, the demanding requirements of this game simply kill the whole thing. I can only recommend it for those who are looking for a super challenge of some sorts or have super-reflexes beyond the ordinary player, ordinary gamers just forget it, you'll be quitting after making a little progress.

P.D.: Just if you've gave up and want to know how the game ends, then someone figured that out for us. Looks like someone was either crazy or has God-like skills and made it through the game on Insane Difficulty and posted the ending of the game. Whoever that player was, is truly a GOD of shooting.
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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