Delta Lance, Engage!: Super Hydorah Review

Posted in Kulturecade by - January 26, 2018
Delta Lance, Engage!: Super Hydorah Review

It somewhat pains me to admit but over my thirty years on this planet, there have been some games that yes, even I were not able to conquer during my initial attempt. I have been bested by Little Nemo: Dream Master, driven to anger by Ms. Splosion Man and broken by Super Ghouls and Ghosts. One title, in particular, has remained in my sights after all these years. A reigning champion from my childhood trembling in fear with the knowledge that its days are numbered.

Gradius III was an introduction into a facet of gaming that up until that point was completely unknown to me. A world of constant challenge and rapidly escalating difficulty. Each boss vanquished delivered both a sense of grand accomplishment and the dread that comes with knowing the challenges ahead are likely much harsher than I had previously encountered.

This rollercoaster of emotion return in a veritable flood the second you experience Super Hydorah, a love letter to the pixelated side-scrolling space shooter, a genre that hasn’t gotten the respect it so deserves in this modern era of gaming. Super Hydorah will not only test your reflexes and situational awareness but your patience as well.

Fans of the genre will feel right at home as Super Hydorah contains the narrow stages and frequent gunfire you would expect. Stage pattern memorization and quick reflexes are as important as a trigger finger. Failure to mind a falling stage hazard or allowing your attention to lapse for a second will spell certain doom and a quick view of the “continue” screen. Put the phones away kids, you need every sense to conquer this task.

Gameplay is pretty much what one would expect from a side-scrolling space shooter. Pilots must fly, shoot, dodge, dip, duck, dive and dodge their way to victory, acquiring power-ups along the way. Stages are relatively short yet their accelerated difficulty can make some stages feel as though they may never end. Waiting for you at the end of each stage is a boss, one more than ready to test your reflexes and pattern memorization.

The format of the game is nothing earth shattering and the plot won’t keep you up at night with any philosophical thoughts. Get in ship, shoot bad guys, dodge bullets and obstacles. Pretty standard fare for the genre and perhaps the game’s strongest selling point. The genre has been dormant for some time and this return form is exactly what a fan would expect a true entry in the series. It’s clear the developers are fans and students of the genre and this care and admiration is reflected in the presentation of Super Hydorah.

As you progress through the game you’ll unlock different shot patterns and bombs to customize your ship. Certain shots seem to be underpowered when compared to the standard straight bullet pattern, but as you progress you’ll find the build that matches your play style. However, as you continue on your quest, you’ll likely find power-ups and changes to your primary weapon do not make up for a lack of talent.

The single slightly grey mark against Super Hydorah is the audio presentation. While the music is true to the era in which the game attempts to emulate, the chiptune soundtrack is rather forgettable and doesn’t hold up to modern gaming standards. In the interest of full disclosure, I’m admittedly not the biggest fan of chip tuney “retro” styled music in the modern era and as the old saying goes, “there’s no accounting for taste.”

Everything old is new again. Retro gaming is more popular now than when the genre was fresh in the wild. Much like the arcade racer, the side-scrolling space shooter once ruled the world. Titles like R-Type and Gradius had kids rushing home to torture themselves with the task of completing just one more stage. Super Hydorah is a worthy and proud continuance to this pedigree and if there was a game that could carry the torch into this new generation, this is it.

Super Hydorah is a required download of any gamer looking to challenge themselves with an experience, unlike anything they’ve likely experienced before. While maybe not as tantrum-inducing as Cuphead, Super Hydorah will still punish those who rest on their laurels, but give the game the respect it deserves and you will be rewarded with one of those most exciting experiences Xbox live has to offer.

This post was written by
He is the senior editor at Kulture Shocked. A Nebraska boy born and raised, where he spends most of his time as a writer. When not tearing up Xbox Live, he spends most of his time divided between Magic: The Gathering and his fiancee.

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