Reviews

Super Hydorah Review [PS4 Pro] – A Nostalgic Blast

A pixellated homage to the horizontal shooter genre.

Hydorah took players back to the 80s shoot em’ up era as a throwback to side-scrolling space shooters everywhere. Re-released and revamped for Sony platforms, Super Hydorah returns to the bullet-riddled skies with the same intense shooting mayhem and unique ship customizing options. Glide your way through surreal space environments, and strap in for a completely unforgiving, quick-manoeuvring ride in the latest release from indie developer, Locomalito.

If you’ve played the classic horizontal scroller, Gradius, Super Hydorah will look almost identical as a spin-off of the beloved NES title. Presented in new-aged pixellated form, this shoot em’ up adds a few of its own quirks to the mix of high-energy space battles. As you make your way through each level, more and more enemies hurl themselves at you in never-before-seen ways. Tons of exciting surprises literally leap out in front of the player, and if not careful, will crudely end your current run.

Super Hydorah
Take to the skies and glide through space fending off enemy spacecraft.
Super Hydorah: Engaging the enemies

The game plays smooth as can be, giving players a tightly wound experience where one mistake could ruin their mission. The levels are broken up into segments, usually ending in some sort of mega enemy encounter, or boss fight. Gliding through the space levels firing away at your cannon, players are able to collect specific power-ups to increase their abilities in flight or combat. Special enemy ships drop rare points when defeated, resulting in either a speed upgrade, protective shield adding an extra hit of damage to be absorbed, or a unique special power. Players can also find extra lives, as well as green and red booster points.

As enemies are blasted out of the engaging skies, more common opponent ships will drop booster points which add to the effect of your primary and secondary weapons. Racking up the green points will improve your primary weapon, while the red boost up the secondary. Fill them both up and enjoy a flurry of charged weaponry, giving players a huge step forward in combat.

Super Hydorah
Many boss encounters are scattered throughout the diverse selection of levels across deep space.
Advanced Weaponry

Initially, players will have to use the standard laser cannon as their primary, and the semi-useful bomb dropping tactic as the secondary fire. Firing away with the single fire button, both weapons unleash their fury upon the clutter of enemies. While the combo of these two starting weapons is useful in getting players out of a pinch early on, the many different weapons available later in the game provide some serious weaponry to your star gliding ship.

By making it to the end of each level, conquering the final boss, which is usually done in a matter of dodging sequences and continuous firepower, players are awarded with a new weapon to add to the growing customization list. Before each level, players are presented with the ship customizing screen, which provides them with the chance to strategically pick from the selection of primary, secondary and special weapon slots. Pairing up the perfect combination of weaponry could be the only thing standing between you and utterly painful defeat.

Super Hydorah
The screen will quickly fill up with enemy ships, bullet fire and powerful icons to help upgrade your ship.

As you make your way through the galaxy filled with dangerous foes and enemies, the game begins to grow increasingly difficult. As more weapons unlock players will begin to understand the strategy of picking the perfect arsenal for each level. Of course, the weapons you select will only help with your offence, dodging and thinking quickly is the main skill to keep you alive.

Co-op Anyone?

The campaign mode takes players across a split path and has players choosing which level to conquer first. While the story mode alone is enough to satisfy most horizontal shooter fans, there’s also the co-op feature in that helps add a little more depth to Super Hydorah. The primary focus of co-op is heading through the story campaign, only now with the help of a friend. This is the basic cooperative gameplay that friends could spend hours on digging each other out of overwhelming holes.

However, this is not the only method of co-op/multiplayer modes. Robot Chasers is an original multiplayer game which has 2 player controlled astronauts tethered by a rainbow cord. Coming in from all angles, invading robots float past and it’s up to the duo to stretch their tether in front of the robots and wipe them out clean. The catch is, the tether only expands so far before it’s disengaged. This can be worked around by slaying robots and collecting the rainbow points to help extend the reach of the deadly tether.

Super Hydorah
Robot Chasers is an interesting two-player co-op mode using the lethal tether.

Super Hydorah is a great way to catch that nostalgic presence of horizontal shoot em’ ups, without having to plug-in the retro hardware. With a decent sampling of weaponry and deadly special skills, the quick-reacting gameplay of this space shooter will likely torment more than a few souls.

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