So my import copies of Every Extend Extra and Ultimate Ghosts and Goblins arrived today from NCSX. I haven’t had a chance to play GnG yet, but here’s my thoughts on EEE.
I spent about 2 hours with Every Extend and its definately a winner. The core gameplay is essentially unchanged from the original PC version. Its a shooter/puzzle game where you don’t shoot, you blow yourself up. Formations of enemies float across the screen and you try to explode yourself at the right moment to net you the largest chain. Every time an enemy is caught within your circular blast radius, they explode and inturn trigger their own blast radius and detonate any enemies within, and so on and so forth. The larger the chain, the bigger the score. Scoring is not optional in this game, it is essential. Every time you blow yourself up, you loose a life. You earn extra lives (extends) by scoring points via chains and gems.
Once you have survived the stage long enough, you get to fight a boss. They are all varied and creative, but the basic pattern for destroying them is the same. Hit them with a small chain, hit them with a larger chain, then hit them for x damage over any number of chains (each point in the chain is worth one point of damage). Once the boss is dead, its onto the next stage. Stages are like skins in Lumines, each has its own graphics and soundtrack.
There is a nifty player controlled in game difficulty as well. Picking up the pink gems that some enemies drop will increase the game speed. You speed up, the enemies speed up, the tempo of the music changes, everything. When your speed is maxxed out, picking up the pink gems will give you a 10k bonus
The game does a good job of escaping Lumines marathon playing sessions. Instead of facing all the stages in succession you travel on a branching path depending on how well you did. So unlocking new stages isn’t a matter of playing the game for an hour long session, you just have to get better at scoring. In the coarse of a single game you will see 7-8 levels, each lasting 2-3 minutes.
Once you beat the game a single time caravan mode (basically a score attack mode on a single stage) and boss mode are unlocked. Boss mode will let you fight all the bosses in succession or just practice against a single boss. There is also a souped up port of the orignal PC game included.
I would say this is Mizuguchi’s best use of sight and sound so far. Playing with headphones is near orgasmic if you are into his special brand of insanity. If think Synaesthesia is a gimmick, this game probably won’t change your mind, but much like Lumines, the core gameplay is solid enough to still recommend it.
I’ll try to put up some impressions of GnG later, but between this and the Dead Rising demo I haven’t gotten any work done today.