Thursday, January 22, 2009

Retro Saga Part 14: Eco Fighters




Capcom isn’t that famous for making 2D shooters, but they have a few like the 1940 series of 2D shooters. Sadly though, Capcom is more known for their fighting, horror survival, and beat ‘em up genres than 2D shooters. It’s a shame, since one shooter got overlooked and I find it a fun game. The game in question is known as Eco Fighters, and it is one of the only few 2D shooters that I know Capcom has made or published.

The story for Eco Fighters is actually pretty funny, but cool at the same time. An evil organization has taken over the land, and is doing pretty much what our big companies are doing right now, causing pollution and killing off everything. However, a small elite group of people who instead of joining Pita or the hippies, take the matter into their own hands and get into little space ships to take down the evil organization themselves. So yeah, that’s what I want to do when I want to save the environment…

The game play is a classic 2D shooter, like R-Type or Lifeforce. The main innovation here is a ball-like weapon you can attach to your ship’s grapple arm or something, and have multiple different abilities. It is kind of like R-Type, since you can put the special weapon in front of you or behind you or even all around you, since you can control where you want the weapon to be. It helps when you’re fighting certain enemies and bosses. It’s also cool when you can go through this game with two players. You also gain a secondary weapon, but it’s mostly an attack that takes down enemies or threats below you. You also have a basic laser weapon before gaining the special orb-like weapon that attaches to your ship.

Of course, Capcom doesn’t skip on the presentation. The animation is bright and colorful. The animation on the enemies is fluid and has an interesting design. A lot of the enemies look like fish and other animals, which is cool. Like I said in a couple of past reviews, the music is traditional Capcom, in that it sounds good, but nothing memorable, unlike music you would hear in the Megaman games. The sound effects are also bright and colorful like any shooter you would play. The difficulty is right in the middle. It isn’t super hard, but it’s pretty much playable by any kind of gamer.

I bet you can tell that I do have some gripes with this game, however. For one, the main gimmick of the game is very interesting, but it can also be your greatest weakness. You can rotate it, but it can be a hassle when you’re in a serious dog fight, and you can’t have the main weapon in front of you, which makes it, oh, umm, what was I thinking of…oh yeah, SHOOT WHAT’S DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF YOU!!! It’s really annoying since I can’t remember how many times I have died due to not having perfect aim with the main weapon in the game. Another thing I don’t get is that at the game overscreen, there is one panel where there is a girl in a bikini for inspiration to keep fighting. In a game about saving the environment, they have a girl in a swimsuit? I mean yeah, she isn’t a girl from Dead or Alive, but still. That is just a minor gripe though.

Overall though, it’s an enjoyable shooter that is a little underappreciated it. I would say that if you can find a copy of this game, pick it up if you are a 2D shooter fan. Yeah, it’s not the best, but it’s just fun to play. You can also pick this up again in one of the Capcom arcade classics collections.

This game gets a 7 out of 10

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