05 February 2017

Review: Ghost Blade (Dreamcast)

I have finally spent some time with the, for me at least, highly anticipated shoot 'em up Ghost Blade. The word beforehand was that the game was too easy but otherwise alright. It seems to be a pretty accurate description of Ghost Blade actually, but it also seems a bit unfair to write it off just as an "easy shoot 'em up". It has a lot more going for it, I would argue.

We get to choose between three ships with different attack modes, and although they are not described as such they are spread, narrow and lastly a compromise between the two. All ships are represented by a hyper sexualized female without any purpose except giving teen boys something to giggle at. Once the game fires up it becomes evident that the controls are spot on, the visuals are great (both enemy- and backdrop design) and the music is fitting. The first track might not be the most exciting thing in the world but it gets better. Waaaay better. In fact, by the time I reached the stage Orgasmic Stride the music together with the beautiful flower overgrown backdrop made me feel like I was playing a golden game. A hidden gem. A great shoot 'em up. But yes, it is a bit on the easy side. At least once you get the hitbox size and placement down. I died plenty in the beginning due to not realizing how far back on the ship my hitbox was. But this is not something I hold against Ghost Blade. I like a shooter here and there to just be great fun with pretty pixels and cool music.

My main problem with this title is the, at times, severe slowdown. And I am not talking about some slowdown to use at your advantage, but unacceptable slowdown to the point where the framerate seemed to be 2 or 3 frames per second. At this speed it becomes really hard to see which way bullets are going since it just looks like a flickering gif of random screenshots. I hope this is a hardware limitation though, and that it gets fixed in the upcoming PS4 port.

Where does this land us? It certainly ends up somewhere in the "okay" area. If it was not for the terrible slowdown I would actually call it great.

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