January 01, 2006

Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved

Writing about web page http://www.xbox.com/en-US/games/g/geometrywarsevolvedlivearcadexbox360

This is why I spent £279 on a multi core, state-of-the-art, "next-gen" console – to play retro games!

A quick bit of history first. Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved (hereby GW:RE from now on) is the "sequel" to the original "Geometry Wars". Geometry Wars was technically an easter egg game hidden in Project Gotham Racing 2 for the original Xbox and looked a little like this . Not so hidden inside Project Gotham Racing 3 for the Xbox 360 is GW:RE, or at least a 4 minute demo of it. The full version is available on the gradually becoming brilliant, Xbox Live Arcade.

So, the aim of the game I hear you cry? Well, put simply, shoot the shapes, don't get killed. Straight out of the late 1980s, you fly around a small white spaceship, firing at different coloured shapes while trying to avoid contact with them (dead). What makes it different from $2D_Space_ShootEmUp is many things.

Firstly, and possibly most importantly, the graphics. While I wanted to write the review without mentioning the words "High Definition" I'm afraid I can't. On a standard definition TV, the firework-esque explosions look brilliant, but they really come alive when used on an HDTV or Computer Monitor (such as the one I'm using, no HDTV for me :( ). Rather than a static black map we have a space fabric that warps and bends as objects move and explosions occur. This warping causes the enemies, and you, to be pulled about on the map a little, while the "black holes" (in fact red circles) suck in all matter with it's own gravity/warping of the space-time fabric. The later you get on in the game, the more and more busy the screen gets with explosions happening literally every fraction of a second illuminating the screen a great light show. It's very easy to stare blankly at the beauty of your handiwork (as yet another blue diamond explodes) and forget to keep playing – it looks that good.

The controls system is intuitive, although not "pick up and play"able if you haven't used a console controller before. The left analog stick moves your ship around space, while the right analog stick fires the gun (independantly of the way you're facing). If you want to score big, you need quick fingers and a sharp eye for that illusive gap in the enemies to escape.

Each enemy has it's own unique personality which is a welcome change to the mindless drones of yesteryear. Whether it's the scaredy-cat green diamonds in squares, the purple crosses in squares, or the sidewinder style enemy, you're sure to find yourself bearing a grudge against a 4 sided shape pretty soon. Deciding which group of enemies to attack first and how is a big part of GW:RE.

The sound is nothing stellar, but fits perfectly with the game. A simple soundtrack sets a perfect tone for an epic battle against the evil forces of polygonal shapes, but can be turned off in favour of a custom soundtrack stored on the hard drive, portable music player, or networked Windows PC.

Possibly the most attractive feature of this game is it's retro price of only 3.40. Given I also spent £35 on Project Gotham Racing 3 and have spent almost equal time on each goes to show that even reworked retro games (albeit from 2003) can hold their own against today's multi-million pound counterparts.

Extra Info:

Joystiq's Review - 10/10
Video of 4.2 Million Score - ~166MB, but extremely impressive
Interview with the Mastermind behind GW:RE

- 2 comments by 2 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Mathew Mannion

    It uses one of the processors for just the background. Disgusting…

    01 Jan 2006, 12:43

  2. An absolutely Genius game!

    So addictie.

    Easily the best XBow 360 game around!

    28 Jan 2006, 15:26

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