The world of independent Dreamcast games has been quiet since the release of NG:DEV.TEAM’s Fast Striker. Established indie Dreamcast games publisher RedSpotGames is looking to break that silence with the upcoming shoot ‘em up Sturmwind. While Sturmwind IS another shoot ‘em up aka shmup, a popular genre in the Dreamcast indie scene, don’t let that fact dissuade you from checking out the title when it releases this year. In this week’s Weekly Five we’ll run through the reasons why Sturmwind may be worth your time (and money).
It has a sexy special edition
Sturmwind is looking to outdo all previous indie efforts with a stunning special edition box set. The special edition is costly, $92 + shipping, but it is pretty amazing. It includes the game (obviously), the soundtrack (which includes not only the original music but also unused tunes and remixes), a 3D printed model of the game’s signature ship, a full color guide book and a handsome magnetically sealed case to hold it all. Don’t have the cash for the special edition? The vanilla version of the game will sell for $45 plus shipping.
It’s a Dreamcast original
Unlike many other independent Dreamcast games, Sturmwind is not a port from another platform. Not to say that past titles ported from the GP2X handheld or Neo Geo are any less great due to being ports, but it’s refreshing to see a game that is first and foremost a Dreamcast title. No doubt, this exclusivity will cause more Dreamcast owners to dust off their system and give the game a try. In fact, if you DON’T own a Dreamcast, hit up ebay or your local retro game store and pick one up. Every home needs a Dreamcast (or four in my case).
Look at those graphics
Sturmwind can’t be shown off in screens. You have to see it in action. Visuals are colorful and detailed, yet it’s still easy to figure out whats going on. Past indie Dreamcast shmup DUX had problems with distinguishing between the foregrounds and backgrounds, but Sturmwind doesn’t appear to have that issue. The mix of 2D and 3D elements is very impressive, even though the hardware is over ten years old. My favorite moments from the released footage are the destructible environments. Who doesn’t like destroying more than they should in a game?
Crazy boss battles
I know I’ve already used this image in the header, but I wanted to show it again. How awesome does that boss look? A giant decaying head spitting out bugs! Sturmwind promises more than twenty large boss enemies. That means twenty battles with whacked out enemies like the giant head seen above, giant walker mechs, huge alien worms and (if concept art can be believed) a big green alien octopus. If you like crazy boss battles, Sturmwind looks to deliver on that.
Three difficulty settings
While I could have highlighted the music, or the number of supported peripherals, I wanted to highlight the fact that the developer promises three levels of difficulty. Any owner of past indie Dreamcast shmups should know that some of these games can be VERY difficult. I’m not talking a slight challenge, I’m talking so difficult that you’d be lucky to get past the second stage. Last Hope kicked my ass, as did DUX. Fast Striker was a little easier, but not by much. Thankfully, Sturmwind having three difficulty levels could mean that there is a chance that I, and other players who aren’t hardcore shmup enthusiasts, can enjoy the game AND progress beyond the first few stages. Ideally, every indie Dreamcast shmup should have a super easy “Can I Play, Daddy?” level of difficulty. Whether Sturmwind has that level remains to be seen, but it’s possible. Here’s hoping the three levels of difficulty aren’t “Hard”, “Harder” and “There is no God”.
Stay tuned to SEGAbits for more Sturmwind news leading up to the game’s release, which is set to be early 2012. In the meantime you can check out the Sturmwind developer Duranik’s website as well as the publisher RedSpotGames website for more info.