by Tibe (2011)
As surprising as it may sound, Last Resort is the first horizontal Shoot them Up ever made for the Neo Geo. The title is released on the AES in 1992, causing a stir among videogame reviewers and - yet - the few lucky owners of the machine. Strongly inspired by the legendary R-Type, the game's action takes place on a chaotic Earth, during the year of grace 2920. In control of your slender warships, you leave your basement to exterminate the machines that threaten humanity. Last Resort, which borrows from Irem's hit the style, module and some of the weapons, also borrowed its difficulty: you are warned! Taking back the principle that an impact kills you, the player gets back to the last checkpoint of the level, but only when all lives have been consumed, ie each time a credit is used. And something tells me that you will need a few, of these credits ...
The graphics of Last Resort are remarkable on many points: finesse, relief, choices of colors... The famous manga "Akira" is often mentioned, mainly because the first level of the game, featuring backgrounds of a futuristic Tokyo. The post-apocalyptic atmosphere is literally palpable, through many graphic details and musics. The game packs only five stages, but these are quite varied, despite we still found from one to the other the same enemy ships, plus some endemic to each part. The hi-tech futuristic atmosphere is rife, with skyscrapers collapsed, concrete megalopolises, flooded cities, but also hordes of "mechas" coming straight out from Robotech. The ambiance is stressful, with some very frightening passages, looking like the "end of the world!" The domination of machines ... Terminator is not far, that's for sure! In addition to graphics, we are granted very successful sounds contributing much to immerse the player in the action, with lasers and explosions, sounds of rain, shocks ... As for the melodies, they are discreet but nicely in tone, all synthetic and metal.
Anyway, these beautiful sounds and visuals are soon forgotten, as the action might simply take your breath away. The gameplay borrows the simple but excellent foundations laid by R-Type a few years earlier: Your ship can be equiped, after collecting the right bonuses through the stages, with a module which is both offensive and defensive. Not only it's used as a shield against the multitude of enemy fire (however, plasma and laser pass through, pay attention), but it also allows you to launch powerful bursts, a varied arsenal being proposed at this level. Your module can also be launched for devastating damages in different directions, by loading the shot with A. B is the button that allows to fix or release the module in a certain position, as it can be set up all around the vessel. If you collect a blue bonus, the module will bounce against the walls, it was red, it will slip on them. The Bosses, giant war machines, are beautiful and usually pretty tough: your arsenal will not be too much to overcome these leviathans from space.
The animation is well crafted, smooth and fast, with backgrounds often in motion. We deplore some slowdowns (few when playing solo, but more sensitive for cooperative play) and a few display bugs. Life meanwhile, is artificially high: if the game has only five levels, player have to clear them twice to finish the game, while Last Resort is rather difficult to complete (especially alone). These are quickly done when you master the basics and don't have to restart incessantly. Anyway, you can't feel the same pleasure discovering five new worlds instead of having to clear a second time the five you have already done! One or two additional stages would have been good, at least just to make Par with R-Type... I don't want to destroy the dreams of some, but players should know that the game doesn't really features an "end" worthy of the name. That's an unfortunate sloppy detail, especially when you know the attention to detail that usually shows SNK. Besides these considerations, Last Resort is a great Shoot them Up, releasing an almost unique, very special atmosphere, with a gameplay greatly enjoyable and a realization that shocked players when it was released.
|Litteraly amazing for a 1992 game. The backgrounds are gorgeous and the sprites of the game finely drawn.|
|Zooms, explosions, lasers, all are very detailed. Gameplay is fluid and fast, but a few slowdowns have to be reported.|
|High-tech themes fit perfectly the action. Effects are excellent, but there are no vocals this time!|
|Difficult, but too short. Cooperative play is here to give some more life and pleasure to the game!|
|Last Resort packs good gamepley mechanics and a nice controls, inspired from R-Type and improved. Breathtaking!|
|Superb Shoot them Up on the Neo Geo, Last Resort is remarkable but offers not enough life to get the mega-hit reward !|
VALUE FOR MONEY (2011)
130 euros for an euro or us version, and a little more for a japanese AES. It's a little expensive, but the game is worth it, as it stands as one of the best of the genre on the Neo Geo. Last Resort is as a true classic that any retro-gamer would love to play.