Gundemonium Collection – The PS3 Attitude Review
Shoot ’em ups are a rare breed, especially on the PlayStation Network. Aside from the Soldner-X series there isn’t much to satisfy fans of the genre. The Gundemonium Collection features three games: Gundemonium Recollection, GundeadliGne, and Hitogata Happa. These aren’t your typical shmups either. You see, the Gundemonium games are referred to as bullet-hell shoot ’em ups. It’s as crazy as it sounds, and just as difficult.
With three possible games to choose from, all which containing cute anime characters, does the Gundemonium Collection have enough substance for the hardcore gamer?
Originally developed by Platine Dispositif, the games in the Gundemonium trilogy are similar in concept but with slight differences in execution. Each game features an all girl cast of cute anime characters equipped with ridiculous weapons. The visuals are sprite based and look absolutely fantastic. If you’re an oldschool gamer you’ll definitely appreciate the look.
Gundemonium Recollection, GundeadliGne, and Hitogata Happa each have support for custom soundtracks, trophies, online leaderboards, remote play, photo capturing, and video recording so you can upload your gameplay to YouTube. That alone is impressive. There’s even a story behind these games, but it’s difficult to follow. One reason for that is because the text is very small, even on an HDTV. By the time you get close enough to read the text you’re thrown into gameplay. Honestly though, who plays a shmup for its story?
Since there are three games in this collection we’ll be providing three separate reviews for each game.
Recollection is the first side-scrolling shmup in the trilogy. Right from the start you’re able to choose between two character types, Eryth and Earl. The difference is that the Earl types can be full customized to your liking. You’re able to change your gun, mana spell, and bomb type. Each slot has four possible abilities to choose from giving you more than enough freedom to create some interesting combinations.
It takes awhile to get adjusted to the gameplay. Mainly because the character sprites take up a good portion of the screen. It’s actually pretty misleading. Your character can only be damaged if hit in the heart and it’s a pretty tiny hitbox. The enemies on screen can’t hurt you unless you happen to run into a bullet. Despite that, you’re going to get shot down frequently. Don’t be surprised if you spend a few hours on a single boss battle that should only take three minutes to defeat.
This game features frequent and ever changing boss battles and tons of bullets to dodge. It’s a lot of fun once you get the hang of it. Each level is separated into areas and this will give you some breathing room so you don’t feel too overwhelmed. Similar to the dynamic difficulty system found in Soldner-X 2, your phase level in Recollection rises the better you perform. When you take damage the phase level drops. The Demonic difficulty mode locks the phase level at 11. Good luck beating that! You’ll most likely see the Game Over screen within 30 seconds.
There are some interesting gameplay mechanics. For instance, when you use your bomb ability the second you take damage, the bomb acts as a counter and negates the attack. It’s not exactly an easy system to abuse but it does come in handy. The easiest difficulty setting automatically counter attacks if you have a bomb available. One thing we noticed is that there is an option for rapid fire in the Game Config menu. We highly recommend using it. We should warn you though, your weapon can actually overheat if you use rapid fire for too long.
Gundemonium Recollection is a great introduction to the series. Can the sequel outperform the original? Let’s see.
How is this game pronounced? Gundeadline? Gundeadli-on? Who knows! The second game in the trilogy is largely similar to the first. However, what sets this game apart is the co-op. This is the only game in the collection with support for two players (offline). If you’re looking for a shmup to enjoy with a friend, then this is the one you’ll want to buy.
GundeadliGne introduces a few gameplay mechanics that aren’t available in the original. The biggest feature is being able to flip your character so that she faces the opposite side of the screen. Being able to turn around means that enemies can attack you from both sides this time.
There are two character types to choose from when first you start the game. This time though, Earl has been replaced by Elixirel. She’s the character of choice for beginners but she cannot customize her equipment. Actually, the equipment customization from Recollection is absent. Instead, Eyrth can choose between various Matrix Orders (which act as bombs). In this game you can choose the amount of lives you wish to start with and you can even enable or disable auto-bombs in all difficulty modes.
In terms of features this seems to be the best game in the collection. However, its similarities to the first game and the omission of the customization options left us slightly disappointed. Also, be sure to go into the Button Configuration menu and change the default settings. Slowing down your character’s movement should not be mapped to the same button you shoot with. This was actually a huge annoyance until we realized that this could be changed. It was a horrible experience holding the X button to shoot and not being able to move at full speed. We’re not sure why this was the default setting.
This is easily the most difficult game in the collection. It’s also the game we’d recommend the most. Unlike Recollection and GundeadliGne, the gameplay is viewed from an overhead perspective and the screen moves vertically. The first level alone is absolutely brutal. If you’re playing on the standard difficulty you only have 9 lives. If you weren’t aware, Hitogata Happa translates to “Humanoid Explosion”. As you can imagine, the characters you control can be used as weapons. The damage output for this kamikaze attack is very rewarding. In fact, you won’t even come close to beating the bosses unless you master this technique.
The problem with Hitogata Happa is that the fun doesn’t start until after you beat the first level, which isn’t exactly an easy task. The character you start with (Leaf) is a bit slow and weak, although she does have an extremely powerful kamikaze attack. You can’t just ram into enemies whenever you want though. You need to stay alive long enough for the Flow Charge to reach full capacity before you can use the Bomb Attack. This game does a really good job at making you feel like crap after an enemy kills you. It’s horrible knowing that you basically wasted your existence by not taking the enemy out with you. It will take several retries to beat the first stage on any difficulty other than Beginner (EURiDiCE). And that’s only because Beginner Mode gives you infinite lives for the first stage.
Once you complete the first level you’re then able to purchase a variety of dolls to use during gameplay. These act as your lives and as long as you have enough points, you can purchase twelve dolls for every character type. Each doll is unique and has advantages and disadvantages to take note of. For instance, Peco’s normal attacks are powerful but she’s difficult to use because she needs to be at close range. Earl from Gundemonium Recollection makes an appearance and she’s quite helpful since has the power to slow down time again.
After you beat the game you’ll unlock an additional character named Platina. She’s completely broken and makes the game a bit too easy (not really). However, she’s expensive so it somewhat balances out. But really, she can shoot almost anywhere on the screen no matter where she’s at. She also seems to have a close range force field that slows down enemy projectiles. Obviously this is the character you’ll want to use when playing on the harder difficulty levels, one of which is referred to as Doomsday (also known as Impossible Mode). Yup…
So what’s the verdict?
All of the games in the Gundemonium Collection have tons of replay value with plenty of unlockables. If you’re the type of gamer with the patience to expertly maneuver through a screen full of bullets with absolute precision, then this game is for you. It’s really difficult to recommend any of these games if you’re easily frustrated. The Gundemonium trilogy is specifically for fans of chaotic bullet-hell gameplay. Each game in the collection can be purchased separately for $5.99 and there’s a bundle that contains all three games for $14.99.
Hopefully Rockin’ Android and Sony Online Entertainment will bring more indie games from Japan to the PlayStation Network.
Buy the Gundemonium Collection bundle from – Amazon (US)
Buy Gundemonium Recollection from – Amazon (US)
Buy GundeadliGne from – Amazon (US)
Buy Hitogata Happa from – Amazon (US)
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Sony Online Entertainment was kind enough to send us more codes to give to our wonderful readers! This has boosted the possible number of winners to 10!
Didn’t win? Don’t be sad. Here are some exclusive E3 PlayStation Home virtual items from GlassWalls and Locust_Star (US only, sorry).
Special thanks to @Eastie_ for providing us with an edited boxart to display for this review.