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Rezon (Arcade) artwork

Rezon (Arcade) review


"The people at Alhummer were some evil, sadistic sons of bitches. I can’t stress this enough. They weren’t so creative, but they were cold and calculating. Consider this: they took Irem’s arcade, horizontal shooter hit, R-Type, and absolutely, positively ripped it off. But that was only the beginning. I mean, we’ve seen R-Type clones before. But Rezon takes the cloning process to a whole other level."



The people at Alhummer were some evil, sadistic sons of bitches. I can’t stress this enough. They weren’t so creative, but they were cold and calculating. Consider this: they took Irem’s arcade, horizontal shooter hit, R-Type, and absolutely, positively ripped it off. But that was only the beginning. I mean, we’ve seen R-Type clones before. But Rezon takes the cloning process to a whole other level. Where games like Pulstar and Last Resort seemed to earnestly and honestly try to do something a little different with their take on the perennial shooter favourite, Alhummer’s Rezon seemed quite content with being a completely inferior and pale shadow in every way, like a stripped down, soulless pastiche of discarded levels Irem decided not to use in their game. But!! Even the blandest of the banal have some distinction about them - something that makes their heart beat, and beat differently than the next game. For Rezon, that something is an unbelievably cold level of difficulty.

I’ll give you a report card if you like. I’ve beaten every R-Type game on the hardest difficulty level possible, and I’ve done so with a single ship in each case. Even the famously recalcitrant Pulstar has fallen to what I’d like to believe is skill, but is more likely just bull-headed determination. But Rezon is another story entirely. It holds me by the balls from the onset, and squeezes and squeezes as I lamely and gamely scratch out the most minimal progress. The average arcade player will hate this game. Even the shooter aficionado will hate this game. And there will be still another breed of shmupper, more ‘hardcore’ than me, who will welcome Rezon’s hardness as a juicy proving ground to showcase their skills. These players too, will inevitably give up. Download the necessary emulator and ROM, foolhardy sadists! Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Perhaps the worst thing about the Rezon phenomenon is that the game is an absolute bore. The first stage is unabashedly ripped off of R-Type, complete with the ring of enemies that you must pass through. True to sad Rezon form however, the boss comes off as a joke compared to the brilliance of Irem’s notorious Doppelganger guardian (the rat head alien thing). Instead, we get a simple spherical thing with a vulnerable eye. The real challenge comes from a little indestructible helper enemy that chases you around in the meantime.

Speaking of indestructible allies, you’ll notice that Alhummer did not copy Irem’s Force Device. They’re bold, but not that bold. Instead of that sweet satellite, that bundle of indispensable, invincible fury, we get two weird appendages after a fashion, that you can tilt to fire at various degrees. They’re positioned above and below your ship and protect you fairly well from damage there - much like the R-9’s Bits. But coverage on your nose and ass is not afforded you. Despair! Worse yet, Rezon’s ship doesn’t copy the R-9’s wave cannon, whereby you could charge up your shot by holding down the fire button, and unleash a much wider and more powerful beam. Try to imagine a lame, nearly impossible version of R-Type with no Force and no wave cannon, a nondescript arsenal and an even slower ship than the R-9 - and you’ve got a pretty good idea of this game.

On the plus side (which is a very lean and skimpy side), it’s interesting to note that Alhummer actually does manage to provide some innovations, like the battleship level, where mighty cruisers seem to flank you at every turn, their massive bulk and copious bullet emissions teaming to crowd you to death. A similar scene would later become a level in R-Type II, so perhaps Irem did some 'counter-biting' of their own. Still, if that is really the case, as you might expect, the Irem portrayal of this and any other scenarios that seem common to both games, is far superior in terms of both presentation and play.

Rezon’s graphics, while detailed and close to R-Type quality, are un-special, clichéd space shooter fare, and the music is a complete drag as well. The underwhelming tunes repeat themselves quite a bit - and through your countless deaths, they’ll repeat themselves even more than you’d like - yet they still don’t find their way into your long-term memory bank. Which brings us back to the main reason not to play: the game plays far too difficult. The checkpoints are too far apart, your ship is too slow (even with the speed ups), and your weapons too pitifully weak (all three of them). It’s like taking an ugly, castrated dog into a pit of bitches in heat. You simply can’t perform, despite an overwhelmingly unfair need to. There are better dogs to take, virile dogs, and better bitches. Leave this one the hell alone. If you want to play an R-Type spin-off that is worth your time, play R-Type Leo. That’s the real hidden gem you’re looking to unearth; Rezon deserves to get put in the dirt, Joe Pesci-in-Casino style.

Rating: 2/10

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Staff review by Marc Golding (December 15, 2003)

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