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Silpheed: The Lost Planet (PlayStation 2) artwork

Silpheed: The Lost Planet (PlayStation 2) review

"Silpheed: Playstation 2’s shooter that fell short? "

Silpheed: Playstation 2’s shooter that fell short?

We’ve seen this game before. We’ve seen it taking up valuable space on Walmart’s discount shelves or collecting dust with other no name, obscure shooter titles that have been pushed back to make room for more modern games.

For the uninitiated, Silpheed made its way to the Sega CD and failed to impress the majority of the shooter demography. People got past the jaw-dropping graphics (think Starfox on steroids), cheap commentary and unimaginative stages about as soon as they inserted the CD in their system.

The same can be said for Silpheed: The Lost Planet. Most shooters present the player with two options: dodge the bullet or die. This simple system surely doesn’t constitute any elaborate explanation since it basically sums itself up. However, Treasure saw this simple system as a weakness and decided that implementing a more sophisticated system that allowed the player to sustain multiple blows – five to be exact – would make it more palatable to seasoned shooter fanatics. They couldn’t have been more wrong. We’ll no longer be challenged with dodging every bullet as we make our way through each lame level. Instead, we’ll be able to conquer each level with ease, and we don’t even have to try due to the ability to take so much damage. The would-be high-adrenaline, life-or-death situations turn into “I can take that damage, so no need to worry” trash. Silpheed manages to kill its own high-points and turn them into nothing short of anticlimactic, dull garbage with this new system.

Silpheed’s levels follow suit and prove to be nothing more than banal stages introducing absolutely ziltch that standard shooter fan hasn’t seen before. The first level makes us gawk at the awe-inspiring CGI films before ripping us into its world. We’ll be met with uninspired enemies from all corners that’ll be simply crushed at the hands of our ship. Treasure decided that just having the enemies die like in any other normal shooter was something that could be improved on. Again, like the last system, this fell flat on its face. They decided to apply a rather basic, silly system where our points are determined on how close we were to the enemy after they died. Ostensibly, this was used to allure the player closer to enemies, increasing the likelihood of taking damage thus justifying the ability to take more punishment. Realistically, no players really care enough about points to put their precious shields in jeopardy. The system looked great on paper but ultimately failed during implementation.

Annoying us further is the forgettable trifle that our wingmen insist on subjecting us to the entire mission. “Oh man, there it is!” and “It’s coming right for us!” fail to build any suspense. This shouldn’t come as a surprise since nothing is suspenseful in Silpheed. Given that most bosses are just pattern-following, clichéd pushovers, they’re forgettable at best. Portending the first boss is a loud, thunderous “WARNING WARNING! INCOMING ENEMY CRAFT APPROACHING!”

This beast shows promise as he flies onto the screen, taking up a good portion, and starts flooding the screen with palpitating plasma balls. We’ll quickly find that this purple monstrosity falls just as quickly as he came onto the screen after ramming bullets down its throat for a matter of seconds. The first boss’ failure is only the beginning in a long line of failures.

The music is almost nonexistent; it’s so soft and weak. No screeching guitars or fast-paced metal grandeur to be found here, just some ordinary tunes that fall short. It seems as though Treasure might’ve simply hired some dubious sound producers as a last resort and paid them to make some wishy-washy sound loops and insert them into the game. We may even be tempted to turn it off all together and just listen to a CD that may be lying around close. Silpheed does nothing memorable in its presentation.

Silpheed’s weapon system bores us with its unexciting arsenal selection. Not often do shooters come around that have a weapon selection so lame, it actually takes away from all the fun. There is the requisite laser gun that’s found its way into every shooter in existence. It’s unable to sufficiently damage any opposition later in the game so we’ll be forced to change it up. We can choose the boring “wiper” weapon that actually acts like windshield wipers on our car or equip ourselves with some napalm that only hits at a 45 degree angle. The wiper weapon does even less damage than the laser but is still an upgrade which makes no logical sense. The napalm is great and all, but can’t really cover all our sides. The other weapons seemingly are nothing more than spin-offs of the main laser with different shooting patterns and angles.

The fact is, Silpheed will be pushed back in your own library of games to make room to more modern ones. Hopefully these games will feature outstanding music, tight game play and some actual meat on their bones instead of disappointing game play mechanics, weak features and unfit compositions.

Sclem's avatar
Community review by Sclem (January 09, 2005)

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