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Hellfire (Genesis) artwork

Hellfire (Genesis) review


"An enormous, glistening beam of amplified power decimating helpless henchmen after henchmen aptly named “Hellfire” wrecks and ravages all who stands in its way. At this point in your life, nothing can go wrong; you’re obliterating useless pawn after useless pawn with this catastrophic beam. But then suddenly, your ship is torn into bits of intergalactic debris by nothing more than a lone bullet. An abrupt, feral rage takes complete control and you end up breaking your controller (or keyboard) be..."



An enormous, glistening beam of amplified power decimating helpless henchmen after henchmen aptly named “Hellfire” wrecks and ravages all who stands in its way. At this point in your life, nothing can go wrong; you’re obliterating useless pawn after useless pawn with this catastrophic beam. But then suddenly, your ship is torn into bits of intergalactic debris by nothing more than a lone bullet. An abrupt, feral rage takes complete control and you end up breaking your controller (or keyboard) because were about past that “hard part.” Finally, the whole level starts over and you're left there with nothing.

Welcome to Hellfire.

Hard isn’t a suitable adjective to describe the ball-busting difficulty featured in Hellfire. In fact, the most meticulous of the shooter aficionado might fall to what some claim is the Genesis’ hardest shooter (aside from Thunderforce 4.) Admittedly, if you travel to other formats, you’ll run across some real cock-teasers. You know, the ones that get you excited with the prospects of completing one laborious level, but end up smashing your dreams with something as silly as a misplaced enemy. And when I think silly and cock-teasing, I think of the Arcade’s obstinate Rezon and Neo-Geo’s unforgiving Pulstar. Each with a level of difficulty only a sadomasochist could enjoy (and I can’t even beat them, which isn‘t really saying much.)

However, Hellfire isn’t like the two aforementioned games; it’s simply not an amalgamation of other aspects found in renowned shooters simply thrown into a worn out mold and marketed as new. You might be lead to believe differently considering the introductory stage couldn’t start off much more banally. It’s just you in the cold, most desolate regions of space with your ship and a myriad of pitifully weak eyeball-like monsters swarming around. Delve deeper, I dare you, press a button or two. Suddenly, the usually unexciting ritual of “testing the controls” holds a surprise; your ship will change colors. This is the heart of Hellfire’s game play, the ability to change the ships colors that in correlation to what ever situation you encounter.

Each color ship corresponds with a certain attack. For instance, if you’re the purple ship your attacks that go horizontally and to the front. If you’re the yellow ship, your attacks will go horizontally to the back of you.

So you have your front and back shots, what’s the big deal? Well, there’s two more as well, the green and blue ships. The green ship will shoot vertically and blue will shoot go diagonally. To make the most out of this shooting system, they strategically placed monsters in certain locations that can only be hit with a ship mode. Some monsters stay in holes that can only be reached via purple ship. Other monsters will stealthily hide in crevices that must be accessed by the green ship. Be warned, however, one hit from any of these opponents means a quick death. You better have those nimble fingers ready to dodge. Facilitating the dodging hardship is the ability to speed up your ship by means of collecting icons that random enemies drop.

The problem is that speed ups are the only thing that’ll facilitate the experience. Hellfire implements a check-point system that’s absolutely horrendous when in combination with its demanding game play. Flying around will be short-lived since you’ll most likely be blown from mid air and forced to start much earlier in the stage. Once you start over at the beginning of a stage, all is lost. You’re not longer able to swiftly move from place to place; instead, you’ll languidly shift around on the screen until you find some more speedups. Advancing into later stages only makes this fault more apparent, as you’ll probably be forced to quit after being blown apart by the same monster ten times in a row due to speed problems. Surely not my cup of tea.

Hellfire has its distinctions but its faults are too crippling. A company can create all the different types of ships and ways to commence the enemy as they want, but when serious fundamental flaws keep hacking away at the shooter experience, you’re left with a shell of a great idea. I’d only recommend this one to the most sedulous and hardcore of the shooter enthusiasts.

Rating: 4/10

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Community review by sclemmons (June 01, 2004)

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