Overall - 80%
Super Hydorah goes toe-to-toe with Konami's Gradius series in terms of quality. Polished to a shiny sheen, those looking to relive the past will not be disappointed with this title.
Have you ever played any of the titles from Konami’s Gradius series? Abylight Studios and Locomalito certainly have, as can be seen with their new space shooter Super Hydorah. Does it rise above its inspiration, or is this title just another pretender?
Super Hydorah Review
Super Hydorah has a simple plot – destroy the Meroptians horde as you fight to stay alive. Your journey will take you through outposts, caves, sandstorms, spaceship armadas, overgrown areas, and a wealth of other hazardous zones. Everything evokes the spirit of the 90s shooters of old, and the attention-to-detail found in the backgrounds, sound effects, and announcer show the amount of polish and care that went into this title. There’s even a number of CRT filters available for the purists among us.
This game is similar to the Gradius series in more ways than one. Players will be flying their ship in a horizontal shooter landscape, navigating bullets, enemies, and even the terrain. Traps are around every corner, and elements like asteroid fields or respawning plants can bring some added challenge. Players can also upgrade their primary, secondary, and special weapons between stages, and can also level them up with special powerups found from dropped enemies. This gives the game some legs, as each weapon is vastly different from one another. Experimentation is key, and what may work for some stages will leave you at a disadvantage in others. There are also powerups in the form of shields, additional special items, and its boost mechanic. These powerups are far more rare, but they are a godsend when the going gets tough.
If anything, choosing the right powerup will vary greatly depending on your playstyle and skill level. The game is undeniably difficult, but never unfair. Without a shield powerup, your ship will explode in one hit, sending you back to the beginning of each section. The game does offer continues, but it comes at the risk of your rank and score. Saves between each level are available, but those looking for the ideal playthrough will want to memorize the levels, enemy layouts, and boss patterns to stay ahead. Those weaned on 8- and 16-bit titles will likely appreciate the lack of hand holding.
There is tremendous replayability with this title as well. Super Hydorah offers branching paths in certain areas, meaning that diehard players will likely want to see every last path. In addition, there are secrets in each level, along with a “Perfect” bonus for those especially adept. Two player co-op is available, along with an independent two player “Robot Chase” mode that has you creating a laser link and trapping jellies. There is no shortage of things to do, and it will last far longer than your typical shoot-em-up.
Super Hydorah goes toe-to-toe with Konami’s Gradius series in terms of quality. Polished to a shiny sheen, those looking to relive the past will not be disappointed with this title.