I had a chance to try out Otomedius, a shmup from Konami, which feels like a spiritual successor to the Parodius series. Similar to Gradius V the graphics, including character models, are in 3D, but you don’t fly a ship in Otomedius. Instead you pick one of the moe style girls or single guy with the touch screen. You can scroll through a list of four initial characters, each tethered to an element, to see which weapon list you want. Once you pick your character you can choose a stage by spinning the globe with your finger. Nifty.
No matter which stage you pick the beginning opens up like Gradius. Simple lines of enemies fly from right to left just waiting for you to shoot them and collect power ups. I usually use my first power ups as speed ups in Gradius. I didn’t deviate from this because the characters are slow at first. Afterwards, you can obtain missiles, a cyclone laser, ripple laser, multiple and burst depending on how many power ups you collect. Notice how there isn’t a force field option? You get two life bars per credit. Instead of filling your life bar you can charge your burst meter to unleash a shattering attack that hits all enemies on the screen. The burst blast also cancels out some bullets, which makes it useful when you're in a pinch.
Most of the enemies you face are penguins (hello Parodius) and at the end of the first stage I faced this bikini wearing boss. (Note: Please mind the image quality, it’s hard to play a shmup and photograph it at the same time). My “ship” was loaded with four options, missiles and the cyclone laser. I also died here, but I was able to keep my options because I grabbed them before they floated off screen. You still lose speed ups, lasers and missiles when you lose a life, but you get two full burst shots to use.
Here is the actual boss, which is only vulnerable when it comes out of its shell.
I went to Tokyo for the second stage and the boss there is very reminiscent of the Gradius series with a core to shoot.
There are actually two ships to shoot down. Once you damage the first one the second ship flies in. Eventually, you have to attack both at the same time. The altercation forces you into the middle of the screen where you need to dodge angled laser beams. It’s easier than it sounds on paper.
In the South Pole level the penguins are part of an ice maze you need to fly through. If you touch any of the ice cubes your life bar looses energy. While you’re trying to pilot and melt the ice wall with your cannons, the penguins try to hit you by knocking the ice blocks with hammers.
When the game is over Otomedius saves your data onto a Konami e-amusement pass which works with other games like Dance Dance Revolution SuperNOVA 2. Your score data is saved and how many element crystals you collected. At a certain point (one that I didn't get to) your shots can be imbued with say fire.
Here is a look at the cabinet. The Otomeduis sign is lit as brightly as a desk lamp.
Images courtesy of Konami. Photos Spencer/Siliconera.