The Dreamcast died an early death – there were so many great games that people never ended up playing! One such game is Canon Spike – a game that I picked up recently on eBay. It has been harder and harder to find, but I am glad I finally got to play it this Capcom developed multiplayer shooter!
The story of this game is fairly thin, but does the job of setting up a fun world to blast bad guys! The year is 20XX, and the economy has crashed, leading to a rise in robot terror! The World Union for Peace decided to organize a team to help take care of these these terror robots, and the masterminds behind their appearance!
What is really unique about this game is that the characters that you play as are composed of a bunch of awesome Capcom heroes! Mega Man, Cammy, Arthur, and B.B.Hood are all playable in addition to some new characters like Charlie. These characters all have distinct move sets and special attacks (which I will discuss later), making the roster a huge force for increasing the replayability of this game!
In terms of gameplay, this game is a shooter at heart. You take control of one of your heroes and are thrown in to a top-down 3D-esce game area. The control stick moves your character in the direction you push it, while the action buttons are utilized for short and long-ranged attacks (in the weak and strong variety). For instance, Mega Man can shoot pellets for his weak projectile attack, and shoot his mega buster for his strong attack. The attacks can also be combined for some cool combos. Players can also collect and unleash huge special attacks that wipe out large numbers of enemies!
As there are usually tons of fast-moving enemies on screen, some of them can actually be quite hard to hit! While the game does provide a targeting system that allows players to lock onto enemies, I found that it didn’t always work, which made the game a tad less enjoyable.
While there aren’t really 1-up or lives in this game, each character has a health bar that depletes as they are hit. If the meter is fully depleted – GAME OVER! Enemies drop health packages so the meter can be recharged, but this doesn’t necessarily make the game easy! There are a number of continues to take advantage off, so even if you die, you still get a few more tries! The game also offers numerous difficulty levels too, if you plan on taking a leisurely run though the game.
In terms of levels, there are 10 total. The levels tend to be somewhat short and generally follow the theme of 2-3 scenes, followed by a boss battle. What really makes this game unique is that each time you start a game, the levels are progressed through in a random order, making it a new play through each time! One might think that order doesn’t really matter – but it does! The further you get into the game, the enemies and bosses became much harder! So each of the levels feel different in how you approach them deepening on whether its your first level or your last!
The bosses are also pretty cool – if not somewhat generic; for instance, your standard alien and tank bosses make an appearance here. Most bosses have a fairly standard pattern of attack, but in the later levels, their attacks are so powerful widespread that its almost hard to avoid getting hit! That is when a few well-placed special moves can be helpful as you are generally invincible during the special attack animations! These later bosses felt less about skill and more about luck and have a stockpile of special moves, which I didn’t really like.
While the game is fun on its own, it really takes off when you play with a friend! The whole game can be played cooperatively from start to finish! This can be really helpful on bosses when the added firepower really makes a difference. Just remember – there isn’t an increase in dropped power-ups, so be sure to play strategically!
In terms of graphics, it’s really a mixed bag. On the one hand, the anime-style art and character portraits are awesome to look at – BUT, the actual game graphics are somewhat plain and generic-looking. The scary level takes place in a boring graveyard, and the bridge level take place on a boring bridge. The character models don’t fair much better either but get the job done. The music and sound effects are also quite mediocre. While there is music, it usually doesn’t play or is drowned out by the sounds of the machine guns firing! The worst part of the sound is the voices – some of them are really high pitched and annoying!
While the game isn’t perfect, the randomness of the level progression and the action-based gameplay keeps this shooter fun and fresh – and even more so when you add in another friend! This game is exclusive to the Dreamcast (as far as I know), so if you have a Dreamcast, consider picking this one up if you find it for a half-decent price! Overall, I give this game a 7/10.
Final Score: 7/10