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Uridium is a much loved classic
amongst Commodore 64 enthusi-
asts. Well known for its fast-paced
gameplay and unique game me-
chanics, at least some of that repu- Coming Soon?
tation is deserved. Designer An-
drew Braybrook was known for his Castlevania X: Rondo of Blood
idiosyncratic but eminently play- (Turbo Grafx-16)
able game concepts, and they are Release Date: TBA
plentiful here too. Players: 1 Controller Support: ??
The main difference between this
game and most other shoot-em-ups of the era is the abil- The plot is a simple one: Your
ity to fly and move in all three dimensions; not only can fiancee was kidnapped by Drac-
the Manta fighter fly to the left or right or up or down, in a ula and so you, Richter Belmont,
manner similar to games like Defender, but there's also go on a journey to rescue her
some limited movement above and below the plane on and destroy Dracula. The game has a few cutscenes to
which most of the gameplay occurs. It's possible, via a tell you the story, in the game itself you don't get any-
looping manoeuvre, to gain enough height to dodge thing story related.
enemy craft or cross over barriers, and some later parts of The game itself consists of you trying to reach the end of
the game have some tight squeezes that can only be each floor, defeating evil creatures on the way with your
navigated by flipping the Manta on its side. Such in- whip. Nearly every stage has an alternate exit, and on
creased interactivity gives an impression of being more each exit you will have a special boss. To beat them you
closely involved in the action, especially in comparison to need good timing and good reactions.
most scrolling shooters, where there's generally less con-
trol over your sprite's direction. Status: Released in Japan (22 April 2008)
None of this would be any good at all if the controls were One of the most sought-after games of all time - This
sloppy, but here Uridium excels. While the fast pace and game's a bit of a legend among Castlevania fans. Al-
almost slippery handling of the Manta fighter can be diffi- though it never made it out of Japan it has been rated by
cult at first, it's all part of a well-judged learning curve, and the ESRB and the PEGI (thanks to the fact that it was re-
soon enough you'll be backflipping all over the place as cently included in the PSP Castlevania: Dracula X Chroni-
the enemies approach. On the other hand, the self- cles) so the chances of a Western VC release are highly
destruct mini game is merely a test of timing, and isn't likely.
nearly as complex or compelling as the similar sequence Super Dodge Ball (Nintendo NES)
in Braybrook's earlier Paradroid; in all honesty, it seems Release Date: TBA
like something of an afterthought. Players: 2
The visuals are also a bit of a let-down, being more func- Controller Support: ALL
tional than pretty. The large battleships aren't particularly
exciting or imposing, with very little in the way of animation This ain't elementary school and it
on their surfaces, and the waves of enemy fighters are sure as heck ain't gym class. This
also rather dull, consisting mainly of a standard set of is Super Dodge Ball. Control your
cloned blobs. That said, the overall design is certainly team of six players to pummel the
quite idiosyncratic and memorable, from the unique fonts opposing team into submission
all the way up to strange stuff like the big chains holding using only the ball and your
the starships together, or the option to play the game in a team's unique skills. Each player has his own special
monochrome mode (?). The Manta fighter itself redeems attacks and each team has their own unique attributes.
the visuals somewhat: it's a great sprite with smooth and Play the World Cup mode and take on teams from around
varied animations that make it look as slippery and agile the world to claim the championship. You play as the star
as its aquatic namesake. In terms of sound, the title theme USA team and must work your way through teams from
is another one of those classic tunes that gave the C64's countries such as England, Iceland, Japan, and more to
music capabilities such legendary status, but some ge- finally take on the current ruling world champions, the
neric in-game electronic beeps and buzzes are a bit of a Soviet Union.
let down. Or you can challenge a friend in Versus mode and go
To be honest, Uridium hasn't aged too well. It's still a very head to head with whatever teams you choose.
playable shoot-em-up with some inventive mechanics,
but the presentation betrays the game's age. Later C64 Or, if you just feel like cutting loose, you can play Bean
games in the same genre looked and sounded better, Ball mode which is just a free-for-all every-man-for-himself
and some offered more depth, although few were as romp in the school yard. Be the last man standing.
unique as this one. Think carefully before you spend your Status: ESRB rated
Wii Points on this title, but if you're a fan of shoot-em-ups
and are looking for something a bit different from the norm, Like sports games? Like River City Ransom? Then you will
you could certainly do worse than Uridium. love this!
19 | Video Game Trader Magazine | June 2008 |
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