Published on May 20th, 2011 | by Gabriel


Review: Moon Diver (XBLA)

Review: Moon Diver (XBLA) Gabriel

Summary: Gabriel takes a look at Moon Diver, is it any good? read the review to find out!


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Since it was announced, Moon Diver has been called “Strider reborn”, “Strider for the 21st century”, “Current-gen Strider”, among many other things. And rightfully so, seeing as it was also created by the original Strider creator, Koichi Yotsui. Wait, you might not know what Strider is. Do you? Well just in case, here’s a little info:

Strider is a 1989 side-scrolling platform game released for the CP Systemarcade hardware by Capcom. It became one of Capcom’s early hits before Street Fighter II, revered for its innovative gameplay and multilingual voice clips during cutscenes.

Well, now that you’re up to speed, let us continue. First of all, you should know that this game is meant to be a side-scroller action game with RPG elements peppered throughout and nothing more. If you play it looking for a deep story, you’ll be very disappointed in its throwaway plot about an elite unit of specially trained ninja known as Moondivers that want to take back the planet from animated machines that devour humanity. Now, if you set your expectations right and come into this game knowing that all you’ll be doing is killing wave after wave of enemies, then you might find some fun here.

When starting up the game, you’re given your pick of 4 different characters. Each looks and plays a bit differently, seeing as each has their own strengths and weaknesses. This is where Moon Diver’s RPG elements come into play. Playing through the game and defeating enemies gives you experience points which cause you to level up. Every time you level up you gain attribute points that can be used to improve your health, power or magic. This means you can set up your character any way you want. You might want him to be all about power or you might want him to be magic-based. Well, Moon Diver gives you that choice and it’s one of the games high points.

Now, this next point is one that may or may not put you off to playing Moon Diver. And that is difficulty. Moon Diver is hard. One example is how stage progression works. Moon Diver’s 12 stages are fairly long in length and feature a surprising amount of platforming and waves after waves of enemies. You get the battle your way through them by hacking away with your sword, using your magic abilities and jumping and vaulting all over the different platforms. Now why is this game hard? For starters, you die pretty quickly, even if it was just because of some simple attacks from your enemies. And if you die, which will happen quite often, you don’t get to use up a life or start the stage from a checkpoint. No, you’re booted back to the menu screen and are forced to start the stage all over again. So yeah, this is old-school difficulty and if you’ve become used to the games now-a-days, which give you plenty of checkpoints and regenerating health, you’re going to become frustrated with Moon Diver.

To alleviate its difficulty, the game has a multiplayer component. You’re able to tackle the stages with up to 3 other friends, making it a 4-player coop experience. This is both good and bad in my experience. Good because when you’re playing with friends, it’s a bit easier to defeat enemies, seeing as you’re not on your own. Also, when you die, your friends can revive you. But, it’s bad because playing with 3 other people is too hectic. With 4 players on screen, it’s difficult to keep track of what you’re doing and what’s happening, which just adds to the difficulty of the game. 2 or 3 players at the same time isn’t so bad but 4 was too much of a hassle.

When it comes to the presentation, Moon Diver is a half and half deal. Half of the game looks good, meaning your character and enemies. But the other half, like the stages, the HUD and the onscreen text look bland and quite horrid at times. Also, i became quite annoyed with its repetitive music. But that might just be me.

So there you have it folks. If you’re looking for a challenging game that will really test you, or a hack and slash with pretty good platforming and RPG elements, look no further than Moon Diver. But, if you’re easily put off by increasing difficulty and no-checkpoint system in games, then this game isn’t for you and will probably drive you up a wall.

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