Technosoft has always made great side-scrolling shooters. In fact they make my second favorite series of shooters, the Thunderforce series, (the ‘Thunder series on the PC-Engine is tops in my books). Thunderforce III is still one of my favorites till this day! When I heard that Hyper Duel (a little known arcade blaster from a few years’ back) and Thunderforce V were coming to the Saturn, this finally made me purchase Sega’s 32-bit system.
Without straying too far off the median (this is a review of Hyper Duel, right?), I would just like to say how excited I am of the resurgence of the shooter genre as more and more titles are coming out. Three or so a month have been releasing lately for the Saturn and the majority of them are damn good! This also means that the need to release high-quality titles is necessary as the competition is getting fierce.
And this brings us to the review on Hyper Duel. Having been released a while back, (Dec, ’96) I thought I would take the time to review it since not too many people even knew it came out. Hyper Duel is your basic side-scrolling shooter with power-ups and little ships/robots that fly around you (your basic little helpers) and offer additional air support. The one difference with this game is that you can change, at anytime, from your ship into a robot that has more firepower. The robot is harder to control (you point in a direction and you stay firing in that direction), but it sure helps when fighting the bosses for that extra “muscle.” This is intense shooting at its’ best. Tons, I mean tons of sprites fill up the screen and there is never any slowdown or flicker. It is truly a sight to behold especially when fighting those manic boss characters. The graphics are colorful and eventhough parallax is at a minimum it really doesn’t matter since you’re so busy dealing with all the action on the screen. The difficulty gets increasingly harder as you go and the total game length seems just right (some individual levels are a little too short, though).
The shortcomings from this game come in the category of sound/music. The music, although decent, could have been a lot more furious and adrenaline rushin’. The sound effects and samples are pretty terrible, though. They are scratchy and muffled (just as Tecnosoft’s shooters on the Genesis/Megadrive), but somewhat nostalgic because they are the same as they were in the arcade. It just would have been nice to have higher quality samples and explosions.
One cool bonus is the choice of the original arcade version or the new Saturn version (which has enhanced graphics and a re-arranged soundtrack). The option menu is full of goodies also, like: choice of difficulty, # of ships, sound test mode, etc.. So, in the end, Hyper Duel is a worthy shooter that, at times, makes you wonder how they got all those sprites on screen without problems and makes you yearn for Thunderforce V even more (as I’m writing this only a few more weeks!!!!).
Rating 8 out of 10