Review by Blue Protoman
Nowadays, arcade game play is rare in retail releases. Pretty much any high-score based games of this generation exist in the form of downloadable games. Arcade games (therefore, ports) are also uncommon, as why leave your home to play video games when you can play them on a console almost as powerful as the arcade machine, and with equal, if not greater depth? I’m a big fan of shmups (shoot-em-ups for those who don’t know), so when I saw this game, I said to myself, “What the hell, it could be fun.” Is it actually fun, however? Fortunately, yes it is.
Ultimate Shooting Collection, despite the name, is not that ultimate. It’s not the shooting collection to end them all. However, that does not mean it’s a bad game. Ultimate Shooting Collection is an anthology of three arcade games made by Milestone Inc. during the previous generation. Said games are called (from left to right) Karous, Radio Allergy, and Chaos Field. Of these three, only Chaos Field has been previously released in America. (Radio Allergy was supposed to be released in 2007, but the American version was canned because the Gamecube was dead.) All three are vertical shmups.
In Karous, you play as a half-human, half-goddess girl. You have to…oh, I don’t know. Shmups are not known for stories. Moving on. You get a wide shot, a sword (which can destroy some bullets), and shield, all of which upgrade the more you use them. Radio Allergy (labeled as Radirgy on the game selection menu) has you playing as a girl who’s allergic to radio waves, and has to save her father (who was researching a cure from said allergy) from a terrorist group. This time, you can pick your ship (I don’t know of any differences besides speed, they’re all just palette swaps) and from one of three guns. You also get a sword and shield, which are always the game no matter your settings. For some reason, Radio Allergy, when it was released in Japan last generation, a phone card was sometimes bundled with the Dreamcast version. And finally, in Chaos Field, you play as one of three people who have to save the Earth from aliens from another dimension, called the Chaos Field. Unlike most shmups, this one has you fighting a few large enemies instead of a million small ones. Your ship can go back and forth through the Order and Chaos Fields at the push of a button. In the Order Field, the enemy fires less, but you don’t score as many points. In the Chaos Field, you score more points, and your weapon is more powerful, but the enemy is tougher.
First, the good. The graphics are pretty nice, especially in Chaos Field. Karous and Radio Allergy use cel-shaded graphics visuals. I’m not very anal about graphics (unlike anyone who owns something besides a Wii or DS), so I don’t tend to go into much detail about them. The sound is also decent, but forgettable. It sounds well in the game, but it’s not something you’re going to be humming during class. Gameplay is great. Bullet Hell at it’s finest, at least for the Wii. (Not like there’s a lot of shmups for the Wii anyway.) You will be using that sword to block bullets a lot. In addition, there’s several control schemes to pick from. Said control schemes are the Wii Remote/Nunchuck, Gamecube Controller, and (my personal favorite) the Classic Controller. Like most scrolling shooters, this game is mildly addicting. There’s a decent challenge, without being too hard.
…But only on the maximum difficulty level. Among the first of bad things, Karous and Radio Allergy are pretty easy. To get a decent challenge, you need to put both on maximum difficulty. Even then, veterans (of which I am not) will still blow through it easily. Chaos Field is the hardest of the three, but it’s not overly hard. Easy Mode of Chaos Field is about the same as Hard Mode in the other two games. Second comes the poor translation. The manual has decent English, but the game is littered with Engrish, to the point where it’s somewhat funny. There’s some dialog in the game (except for Chaos Field) as little messages appear on-screen during gameplay. (You can turn these off in Radio Allergy.) And when I say little, I mean little. If you play this game on a small TV (of which I do, unfortunately) you will not be able to read anything. Study that manual, ‘cause you won’t be getting in-game help if your TV is smaller than your bed. It’s worse in Karous, because even on my Dad’s 48-inch HDTV, I still have trouble reading Karous’ text. And finally, the games are a bit short. Yeah, I know it’s arcade-style gameplay, but even then, there are plenty of shmups with more than five levels.
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