Pulstar VS Darius Gaiden


By Tibe

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For our younger readers, it should be reminded what R-Type was like at the time of its release, back in 1987. The title of Irem was just to revolutionize the world of Shoot 'em Up. With its outstanding realization, intuitive and captivating gameplay, and especially the tactical dimension never seen before in a game of this kind, R-Type has marked the history of videogames like few games have. To this legendary hit we're opposing today Pulstar, a brilliant shooter realized in 1995, eight years later, by the developer Aicom under SNK license. This one is a tribute to the 1987 game, and for good reason: it takes back the gameplay and a lot of graphics and sound from his ancestor, by substantially improving these thanks to the capabilities of the Neo Geo. But it is not about plagiarism here: many of the Aicom programmers are indeed former employees of the Irem studio, to be more precise the same guys who made R-Type. Pulstar will he show himself at the height of his legendary ancestor?


Graphic similarities are striking, and although it's understood that Aicom did not try to drown the fish here, but rather to pay a "supported" homage. The most memorable passages of R-Type are back in Pulstar, improved with a better resolution, more colors and some gorgeous visual effects. Transposition shows the impressive technological evolution of the eight years between the two titles. Nevertheless, R-Type still looks brilliant in this comparison: the 1987 video is downright exceptional for a game of this era. If it's a little outdated and simple by today's standards, Irem's hit graphics remain particularly pleasing to the eye, using a thin line, a talented style, and a number of colors more than decent.

Pulstar    95                                                     93   R-Type


The pace in one and the other is particularly intense, it's not meant to bet: the games are not so much about reflexes, but anticipation and basic strategy. Fluidity and a large number of animation steps are visible both in Pulstar in R-Type. Aicom's game is characteristic with backgrounds particularly lively and some striking morphing effects. R-Type exploited perfectly the limited resources that were available back then, and if the sets are a little empty or static at times, enemies are however damn well animated, either the smallest aliens or the most gigantic Bosses. Some slowdowns are occuring in one or the other, but nothing too penalizing.

Pulstar    93                                                     92   R-Type




The theme of R-Type's first level is probably embedded in the memories of gamers who've tasted it: it's legendary! But apart from this, the rest is more conventional. The other musics and the sound effects are average, doing like any other good arcade games of the time. Pulstar is running on the Neo Geo, and the machine is known for its outstanding musical qualities: the many different melodies stick well in the various environments: futuristic, glaucous, organic, space... Well orchestrated and catchy, they participate in the aura of Aicom's production. Its team did a better job than Irem's on that section, and it can be heard!

Pulstar    94                                                     80   R-Type

Replay Value

R-Type is significantly more difficult than Pulstar, but the challenge is addictive, the difficulty is gradually increasing stage after stage, and all this doesn't prove too much daunting for a seasoned player. Our apps have this attractive challenge in common, with a pretty good lifespan for shooters, with a nice room for improvement and fun that boosts the replay value. Of course they can't play two simultaneously, but R-Type just like Pulstar achieve the feat to remain attractive, even when already 100% cleared.

Pulstar    92                                                     94   R-Type


Gameplay basics are similar: relatively slow vessels, moderately large, requiring a defensive strategy, position and anticipation. The defensive/offensive module is important, because it not only helps to diversify weaponry, but also serves as a shield against the majority of enemy fire. In R-Type, unlike Pulstar, it's possible to put in front or behind the ship, but also to send it away from you as a shooting satellite. The SNK game offers to turn the module in any direction. They have in common the charge system: by depressing the fire button, you can send an overkill shot. Pulstar added rapid fire to this: by pressing quickly on A, it triggers an alternative shot. The game allows to sacrifice the module for sending a devastating attack, but you'll lose all accumulated bonus weapons. In our two rivals, the ship is destroyed at the slightest touch of a laser, an enemy or an element of the stage. Then we start back at the last passed checkpoint, but completely stripped of weapons and speed-up! Pulstar and R-Type are demanding apps, but progress is damn involved. It is possible to improve quite quickly with practice. In addition, maneuverability and weapons system are well made in both. Innovations in Aicom's one are very interesting, but the taste of the original remains unique.

Pulstar    96                                                     97   R-Type


It's the perfect draw match! In terms of realizations, the two hits are at par, taking into account their respective eras: just way above the other games! There is only in sound creation that Pulstar really takes the best. As for recreational qualities, it's heavy: fabulous replay values, and hard as a rock gameplays. R-Type was all the more remarkable in this respect of his era, literally burying competition. Pulstar him, manages to celebrate pretty successfully his ancestor, tou bringing new blood and some excellent ideas.








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