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Eliminate Down (Genesis) artwork

Eliminate Down (Genesis) review

"For a shooter physique to be adequately robust, there are certain requirements. Its body composition must be as follows: rocking tunes, interesting places and foes, a hard ass level of difficulty, and that muscle which elicits memorable maneuvers from the player. ED's got 'em all in shameful abundance."

The Ultimate Hardbody

''A ten out of ten!'' I can almost hear you exclaiming, primed for a gush-fest delineating horizontal shooter perfection. You won't get it. Well… The gush-fest yes; the perfection, not so much. Eliminate Down, right down to the cocked up name (a poor translation?), is not quite close to flawless—it does some troublesome things wrong: It might have furnished a longer invincibility period when you die, might have allowed you to continue levels from their midpoints. Certainly an eight-level gauntlet this brutally unyielding did not need to be so unhelpful. But the major muscle groups, these are worked to such a superlative degree that ED can outflex just about any side-scrolling shoot-em-up, ever.

For a shooter physique to be adequately robust, there are certain requirements. Its body composition must be as follows: rocking tunes, interesting places and foes, a hard ass level of difficulty, and that muscle which elicits memorable maneuvers from the player. ED's got 'em all in shameful abundance. The Eliminate Down space craft is outfitted with three switchable weapons: the forward 'colourful junk' spread, the four-way diagonal 'Darius' bombs, and the backward 'V' spread. It's easy to power up, and power ups are easy to score. Speed is adjustable from the pause screen, and believe me, for certain areas you'll need to pause the action to think about just how fast you need to be. The flexibility the impressive speed scale and indispensable weapon toggling allows, gives ED a jump on the 'memorable maneuvers' category. So, appropriately, we'll begin there, and appropriately, with level one.

Memorable maneuvers will need to start almost right away—little pests will close in on you in circle formation and confound your forward weapon—but the backward shot provides an easy out. The staple shooter snake mid-boss will approach from the front, then curl around from behind—asking more early practice with the on-the-fly weapon switching. And then, the rocking tunes change, as they are wont to do (yes, wicked tunes galore), for the second half of the level, waxing even more rocking as massive missiles aim 45 degrees up and to the left to pin you, destroy you. That's hard ass for a first level, and yet, you'll toggle to your four-way and realize that screen crushing is only an option, not a certainty. The sky turns scorching red as you plummet in the atmosphere, and the end-of-level guardian arrives sporting a halo of metal protection and a lid to blow off, where ring beams muster to puff at you as if from a fat cigar. Oblivion awaits this heap, and you're happy to do the introductions—level two beckons from a black screen.

I’m certain you noticed that our four major muscle groups have already worked in harmony to a mild burn. Already. In level one.

It only gets bounds better, and every level yearns to do a bit of showing off—this stage showing its pectoral definition, this one boasting Arnold-esque quadriceps. Stage two's tunes temporarily swap hard edge for a more thoughtful tonal depth that will stay with you. Stage three offers its distinctly unseemly personality to your attention. It implores you to dodge searchlight cannons (you're not quite ready to go where that light will lead you)—and from ugly alien skulls—twisting chase lasers that loop your ship safely, almost comically, if you dodge them just right. Stage seven will drop ceilings on you in such a way that the screen drops in concert, and the cumulative effect crushes you into the floor which rushes much too fast to meet you from below—the floor that you can't see until it's nearly too late. You'll need to pilot by feel. And stage eight is as hard as it gets, warping you all over outer space to do battle with splitting, spitting spheres and waves of desperate, gnashing alien insurgents before your date with the ultimate anomaly. It’s brilliant stuff: all the levels put it all together, and sweat it out.

And then there's the sublime: certain levels put it together at such a level that you play in awe of the game, like phases five and six, which I like to call Bad and Evil. An engaging, hollow bassline welcomes us to stage five's slow build. The methodical, cautious metal synthesizer quickly becomes far less methodical and cautious, and more menacing, and finally dangerous. The music's potency swells in accordance with your precarious onscreen situation—two giant drill machines rumble forth through ceiling and floor, and like every notable enemy in the game, they bring a preponderance of weaponry to bear upon your Eliminate Down. What makes them even more special is how they align themselves, diabolically, to suffocate you against the screen's constraints. Only the very best of the thinking shooters can do this and not elicit hatred (such as R-Type III)—you'll simply be nonplussed. What to do? And when you learn what is expected, incredulity will awaken, but what choice do you have? Are you going to pack it in here, in the midst of all this?

Not likely. And faced with Bad, we feel Evil lurking around the next bend. The game's trademark metal synthesizer will absolutely rage in level six, and the game will follow suit. Blue vein-like networks will warp spectacularly, putting to shame the once lauded undulating flames of Thunder Force III fame. A writhing monstrosity will wave its clawed limbs, discharge tears, froth forth homing, splitting bubbles, and upchuck junk as you pass overhead. Fanblades will hurl hurtling aliens bodily through the wind tunnel they create—you need only withstand the gale, destroy the fan, and protect yourself from the alien rain.

And so Eliminate Down is a ten out of ten. It's not as polished as Lightening Force, the Sega 16-bit's more celebrated shmup gem, nor is it as clean and balanced. But it's big and impressive in excess, without the stabilizer muscles that effect perfect symmetry: a gun show with no legs. R-Type fans are welcome, as you'll need that ingenious screen-clearing strategizing for the impossible scenarios, and the weapon toggling will replace your Force Device management. Twitch shooter fans should rejoice as well: when the trial-and-error based planning is behind you, there will still be copious bullets to slip. Despite its cost and obscurity, shooter fan, find Eliminate Down. It’s a nasty piece of work, but you’ll love the way it hurts.

Masters's avatar
Staff review by Marc Golding (November 16, 2010)

There was a bio here once. It's gone now.

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Felix_Arabia posted November 16, 2010:

Oh my God.
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Leroux posted November 16, 2010:

Oh my car.
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aschultz posted November 16, 2010:

Good to see you back. Hope you can stop around more frequently.
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Masters posted November 16, 2010:

Um... thanks for the comments, guys!

Leroux: how come it says you edited the review?
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Felix_Arabia posted November 16, 2010:

This was a pretty good review Marc. I was surprised we actually got something out of you, hence my "oh my God" comment. But you know that, because I'm explaining it to you in real time, and therefore I look like a giant fag posting this here on a static forum. Amen.
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Leroux posted November 16, 2010:

Because I fixed a formatting issue that was causing the rating bar at the bottom to be right justified of your last image by adding some blank lines to the end of the text.
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radicaldreamer posted November 16, 2010:

Well I hate to be a killjoy Felix but this is a GameFAQs reposting from like 2004.
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Masters posted November 17, 2010:

Leroux: alright, thanks.

Dreamer: not a re-posting really, more like a rewrite.
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Felix_Arabia posted November 17, 2010:

Not the first time you've been wrong, Bob.

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