Dangerous Seed (Genesis) review
"I’m not amused. "
I’m not amused.
I’ve loved shooters ever since my Atari 2600 caused me to experience “Defender Wet Dream Syndrome” (don’t ask....please, don’t ask), but this is just too much. I’ve played great shooters and I’ve played those lacking in every element imaginable, but I’ve never played a game in this genre that seemed more determined to mock me and everything I love than the arcade-to-Genesis port of Dangerous Seed.
I should have been warned when I saw the game was produced by Namco during the days when they occasionally went by “Namcot”. After all, under that name, they created Adventure of Valecule, a game that seemed to take my love of The Legend of Zelda and openly mock it even more than Hydlide did, but I guess I’m a slow learner. Then again, Namco(t) did create a number of awesome games back in the day (like Galaga, for example), so I feel justified in thinking Dangerous Seed would be fun.
Speaking of Galaga, Dangerous Seed was designed as a sequel to that game. Instead of fighting hostile bugs swarming you in formation on a single-screen battlefield, you get to fly through a bunch of more modern vertically-scrolling shooter stages in an attempt to rid the galaxy of the evil insect aliens, who’ve infested a number of planets. At your disposal is a trio of ships that gradually merge to become a far more powerful fighting force as you explore planets and descend into the belly of an alien known as “Danger Seed”.
On the surface, this was a pretty good idea. In execution, it was a boring and repetitive game that proved great ONLY at repeatedly fooling me into thinking it was about to get really fun before showing its true colors time and again. Like I said, I’m a slow learner....
You open the game in the act of leaving some fortress/base/place by traveling through four levels (called “1st Tube”, “2nd Tube”, etc.) that all look pretty much the same. The action is pretty similar within these four areas, also, as you lay waste to hordes of overmatched critters, power-up your weapon of choice (hopefully picking the wave attack, as it evolves into a mighty and wide-spread force of destruction), slaughter utterly lame mini-bosses mere nanoseconds after they appear and eradicate pathetically easy bosses.
The sad thing is that, by default, those bosses provide the closest things to highlights that you’ll find in the early stages of Dangerous Seed. Their backgrounds are cooler and many of these baddies have cool music accompanying them. On the other hand, their attacks are easily dodged and they go down in flames VERY quickly, so you won’t get much enjoyment out of the improved aesthetics.
But, as the fifth stage begins, the naive and gullible among you will believe that things are finally picking up. You’ve finally escaped the “Tube” levels, all three ships have merged into one mighty contraption capable of filling the entire screen with bullets galore, and now you’re zipping along the cratered surface of Mars. I’m not going to lie and say anything here is particularly amazing, but after going through four boring, repetitive levels, it sure feels great! Ten seconds later, the moment passes, as the planet gives way to a boring outer space background littered with ugly dots of multi-colored light that apparently are supposed to represent stars. The rest of the “Mars” stage is like this. So are the “Jupiter” and “Uranus” stages that follow (apparently the planet Saturn was too cool for this game).
Meanwhile, the bosses have gradually been getting tougher, forcing you to actually utilize skill in order to dodge the massive number of attacks they constantly throw at you. When you finally clear “Uranus” and reach the home of the vile “Danger Seed”, every indication is that you’ve reached the end of your mission. After surviving a gauntlet of early-game bosses, you’ll be locked in combat with a giant beetle tough enough to actually cause me to gnash my teeth in frustration more than once.
Killing “Danger Seed” isn’t the end, though, as you then fly inside the body of the beast, which proves to be infinitely larger than it appears on the screen. Your journey through this monstrosity lasts for FOUR stages. In some ways, this is cool, as these levels actually are colorful and look good. Unfortunately, they are all very short and unfulfilling. Three simply end with enhanced versions of early-game bosses, while the final stage’s baddie (“Barin of Danger”) is simply pathetic. While kind of impressive in appearance (at least for the easily entertained), it only “boasts” an unimposing array of easily-avoided attacks. Kill boss, shut system off, trash game, start drinking heavily. Congratulations, Namco(t), I’m off the wagon again.....
Let me be honest with you — I actually felt personally offended by Dangerous Seed. Not only did this game do just about everything wrong, but when it did do something to impress me, it was only for a fleeting moment. Maybe I’m way too paranoid, but I started to feel Namco(t) was TRYING to get my hopes up, only to dash them again and again.
The four “Danger Seed” stages (the only cool-looking ones) were all extremely short. You fight through three levels that supposedly take place over planets, yet only spend a half-minute (at most) looking at anything besides a sparsely-decorated outer space background. A trio of bosses get recycled with different names over three of the final four stages — and you’d recently fought two of them a second time as part of the eighth level’s trip down memory lane! Between the big fights of that boss gauntlet, you encounter the exact same groups of enemies in the exact same patterns. It’s really easy for a player to get the impression this game was unnecessarily bloated with a bunch of filler in order to make it longer and more challenging. Of course, the fact you have a life meter and can take as many as nine hits (when all three ships are joined together and at full strength) takes away a lot of that challenge, but when a game is this flawed, what else can you expect?
All that Namco(t) ended up with was an episode in tedium. Dangerous Seed repeats one level template over the first four levels and follows that up by repeating another over the next three levels. By the time you’ve entered “Danger Seed” and the game has finally gotten interesting, odds are you’ll have long stopped caring and just wish it all was over.
Community review by overdrive (September 03, 2005)
Rob Hamilton is the official drunken master of review writing for Honestgamers.
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