Shooter games are far and few between these days, which makes me happy that Capcom is around. Teamed up with Psikyo, one of the best shmup developers around, the two are proud to bring you Cannon Spike. With fast pacing, non-stop, seat-of-your-pants action the only disappointment here is the fun is over in about half an hour.
When it comes right down to it, shooters are all about gameplay and Cannon Spike delivers. The premise is simple enough: your character is plopped into a arena-sized area. Waves of enemies pursue, and it's your job to dispose of them. Simple, yes? Hardly. Enemies can overwhelm you, hit you in the back, and be all-out, well...mean. Thankfully, an easy control layout, lock-on button, fast movement, and 5 different types of attacks are at your disposal. This evens the odds out, but if you're still feeling overwhelmed, there's always the option of dialing down the difficulty or having a buddy join up in a two-player mode.
In essence, the game is fun, challenging, and fast paced but there is one main hindrance in gameplay - length. Even with 10 stages Cannon Spike can be finished within a half hour, with each level being painfully short. For example, imagine my surprise when I had died on level 6, to find out that I had only played for 12 minutes! This doesn't put a hamper on the actual game itself, but it's sad that the action ends so soon.
On a lighter note, Cannon Spike excels in the visuals department. Whether it's just the character select screen or the in-game action, the graphics are quite polished and stylish. Every character, backdrop, bullet, portrait, and texture is in high resolution. Character models aren't too detailed in textures, but make up in modest sized poly counts. Plus a special nod goes to the bosses, who make good use of both textures and high poly counts making them all the more menacing. With all of this, the action still plows along at a constant 60 fps, only stuttering when the action gets so intense you'll be praying for a bit of slowdown!
Cannon Spike delivers in the audio department as well. Never has there been a sweeter sound of destruction on the Dreamcast. Gunshots, explosions, lasers, and voice samples are crystal clear. What's even more impressive is the soundtrack, packed with game-ish tunes, techno, and the occasional symphonic score.
From the very first level, to the very last boss, every area of Cannon Spike shines. The graphics are gorgeous, the gameplay top-notch, and the controls are tight as a drum. If Capcom and Psikyo had spent time in making the levels longer, or adding a few extra stages, they would've crafted one of the best shooters around. As it is, Cannon Spike can be summed up like this:
Short but sweet.
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