Aug 18 2009

Viewpoint

zorro @ 1:03 am
Viewpoint - NEOGEO - Cover

Viewpoint - Arcade - Your ship, the ByupoViewpoint was released in 1992 from subsidiary publisher Sammy and was in fact their only game developed and released for SNK’s system.  Clearly based on the 1982 arcade classic Zaxxon, Viewpoint used the same isometric viewpoint.  But it was not just to this classic that Sammy paid tribute, the charge up firing technique was very close to Irem’s massive 1987 hit, R-Type.

But Viewpoint was no mindless rip-off, it was a game of intense difficulty and amazing graphics.  To this day I would have to rank it as the best-looking shooter ever made.  The pseudo-3D look that they gave the graphics meant that the game has aged well.  The animation used in the game is superb and even one-off enemies have detailed animation, particularly in the water-themed level 2.

The music too, is well done.  In fact the Playstation version relaced much of the original NEO-GEO music scores with a more ‘traditional shooter’ techno track, which was a great shame.  In particular the acid jazz feel of the music from second level.  Spot effects are meaty enough to be believable and the range of bullet sounds and explosions when blended with the music lend tons of atmosphere.

The mobility of your craft is perfect.  Fast enough to dodge some of the crazy waves of bullets, but precise enough to manoeuvre through tight passageways.  The relative size of the craft to the playing field is just right, and collision detection never has you claiming unfair.  There are plenty of occasions to scream at the screen in Viewpoint (yes, it’s that hard) but it’s always your fault.

Viewpoint - Arcade - First Boss - Check out those bullets!

The mobility of your craft is perfect.

Viewpoint - Arcade - Level 2

To this day I would have to rank it as the best-looking shooter ever made.

The bombs you gain throughout the game are varied enough and arrive with devastating impact.  Flame walls and gigantic explosions should serve as a reminder to the shooter-designers who decided to forgo the whole Smart Bomb thing and add localised damage to the bomb’s smaller circumference.  Viewpoint has it just right.

The bosses are insanely difficult, even the first level boss can be a challenge to a new player and they are all organic-looking in some form or another.  At the end of level two a giant crab appears and throws bubbles at you, which you need to pop into smaller and finally neutralise them by peppering your your fire.

The game was ported to the Megadrive and Playstation.  Both versions suffer from slowdown and the Genesis version is a graphical, musical and framerate travesty.  The Playstation version looks more polished and EA killed the brilliant music of the original but it is marginally easier than its arcade counterpart but that still keeps it at the top of the “Most Difficult” list.

All in all an excellent shooter which makes my Top 10 games of all time.

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