Truxton (Genesis) review
"The vertical shooter, Truxton, at the time of its release looked alright. Not spectacular, even then, but alright. With time, the game has not aged gracefully. "
The vertical shooter, Truxton, at the time of its release looked alright. Not spectacular, even then, but alright. With time, the game has not aged gracefully.
Firstly, we will observe the most immediately evident weakness with the game. Inexplicably, the play area has been obscured quite a bit by a large black panel on the right side. It is home to your stats, such as your score and remaining ships and bombs. But why is it there? And why is it so large? This annoyance certainly isn't in the PC Engine version of the game (called Tatsujin, the Japanese name for Truxton). Not to say that that version is good either. If you're looking for a good console version of this game, stop looking. You won't find it.
So we know the playfield is squashed to a degree, but is what remains worth a look? Certainly not. Witness the unchanging black space background, littered with stars and not much else. The colours are washed out, the enemies you'll encounter are typical, unimaginative aliens. Truxton's power ups are very Raiden II-like, but nowhere as inspiring. You've got the blue lock-on laser, the green laser spread, and the red pea-shooter spread. Nothing we haven't seen before numerous times before and after, with much better presentation.
Particularly weak is the music that accompanies all the banal sights. It's beyond weak actually - some tracks are actually offensive. This is not to say some memorable orchestration isn't present, but whatever catchiness these tunes may have, is more than compromised by horrible programming. The squawks that are the result are not pleasant to listen to, and the game is best played with the volume off.
Even the gameplay suffers. Truxton serves up the cheap deaths readily. Enemy projectiles often come from enemies heading offscreen, and often very rapidly. When you're powered up, you will make good progress, but when you're not, you will be in for a hard time. And this is one of those games where you'll die, become privy to a black screen, and then: back to the restart point. In the game's defense, being sent back allows you a chance to get power ups that you'd be without had the game reincarnated you right where you died.
Truxton is a game that should be avoided at all costs. The plusses? It's a shooter, and it's competent at times. But even a die-hard shooter fan would be hard pressed not to find a better shoot 'em up to conquer. The sequel - despite being much harder due to an increase in cheap deaths - still manages to be much, much more enjoyable. That game is appropriately named Tatsujin 2, if you were wondering. But you probably weren't.
The one original concept in this game: when you detonate a smart bomb, the resulting cloud will look like an immense skull. The visual is meant to mark the death of one of your blandly designed foes. The skull should appear on the label of the cartridge as well.
Staff review by Marc Golding (December 22, 2003)
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