Sunday, 4 August 2013

REVIEW - Gaurodan (PC)

Say hello to the bad guy!

A new game from Locomalito is always something to get excited about as every title he has created so far has been extremely well produced and enjoyable to play. His recent take on the Ghosts 'N Goblins formula, Maldita Castille, was an excellent homage to the coin-op games of the late 1980's, and he sets to repeat this success with his latest shoot-em-up.. sorry. Shmup! Gaurodan.

Gaurodan allows you to live out all those destructive tendencies you secretly harbour. Riffing on the classic monster movies that featured huge beasts raining destruction on cities, this game puts you in the role of the bad guy - the titular winged abomination. Spewing forth from a huge erupting volcano, you begin the game as a massive egg. Even from this early age Gaurodan is clearly one pissed-off pterodactyl, as you begin by destroying the homes and villagers by simply bouncing on them. Once hatched, the game begins properly, with you taking to the skies to rain death down on everything in sight. 

A standard shmup at heart, Gaurodan tasks you with flying left and right, obliterating anything and everything that gets in your way. Ground based foes come in the form of tanks and gun turrets, while aerial hazards such as choppers and planes try to neutralise you from above (and the sides). Gaurodan's weapon of choice is his 'lightning bolts of death (tm)' which he can fire both to the sides and diagonally down using the two attack buttons. However, he cannot stop in the air, so must dart left and right quickly to drop bolts on targets directly below him. Using this weapon he must lay waste to every enemy to clear the stage before the time runs out. An extra objective comes in the form of destroying the many buildings and humans at ground level. Once all enemies are vanquished, you are given a percentage score of the destruction caused, which is the key to getting a really high score.

The visuals in Gaurodan perfectly replicate the graphical style of arcade games from the late 80's - specifically those by Capcom. Indeed, the level of polish is so high that you could easily mistake it as a game from Capcom's (or Konami's, or Taito's) library of classic coin-ops. Everything is extremely colourful and detailed, with great explosion effects that bring the chaos to life. Audio too is of exceptionally high standards, with Locomalito's usual partner in crime, Gryzor87, on sound duties again. The sound effects are classic Capcom and the music is catchy, yet dramatic - as any soundtrack to a B-movie destructathon should be! 

Gameplay is fast paced and frantic, with enemies coming from both sides, as well as projectiles firing from the ground. Not being able to stop means you are constantly on the move, firing like crazy and attempting to collect the score-giving stars that downed foes relinquish upon death. Alternating between firing downwards at the structures and adversaries, and horizontal attacks to take care of any choppers that come your way is exhilarating and will keep you on your toes. The difficulty level is pretty brutal too as while the early stages ease you in slightly, the first boss encounter will really hand your ass to you. This is a game that will require much practice to really master - as any good arcade game should.

With flawless presentation, satisfying and extremely challenging blasting action, and heaps of nostalgic charm, Gaurodan is well worth playing. That it is completely free is the icing on the, rather scrumptious, cake - so feel free to donate a few coins via Locomalito's website should you be feeling generous. This is also his first game that has been ported to the new Ouya console. It is currently awaiting approval - but with quality this high I don't think there will be any problem, and the Ouya would be lucky to host such a great title!

Title : Guarodan
Developer : Locomalito
System : PC
Price : Free
Also on : Ouya (coming soon)