Sturmwind is a new Shoot ’em up title from Duranik for the Sega Dreamcast, its classed as a homebrew game, but don’t let that put you off as this is as good as any new commercially released Shoot ’em up available today.
Upon loading the game you are presented with the choice of playing it in 50 or 60hz mode, once you select the mode you want to play the menu screen loads. Here you have 4 options: Start game, high scores, options and bonuses. Most are self explanatory but a bonus area always intrigues me so I took a look at this area first, here you will find an awards system in place (much like the trophy or achievement systems on current gen) and one I am sure will add some replay value.
Now onto starting the game – there are two types of games are available, Arcade mode and Normal mode. Arcade mode consists of 6 levels, no continues or save option, one for hardcore fans that option me thinks. Normal mode enables the auto-save feature and also allows you to select levels after you have completed them, which you might need to complete all 16 levels. The controls are A to shoot. Hold X to charge a pulse shot. Left Trigger switches the shooting from forwards or backwards. Right trigger scrolls through the weapons.
During the game weapons containers float around the screen after you have destroyed random enemies. Up for grabs are Extra points (1000) and 3 weapon upgrades, if you shoot the container it will change its colour to that of one of your weapons, continue shooting at the container to scroll to the upgrade you want then fly into it.
Nordwest: Red flare, multi directional fire.
Rudel: Green flare, horizontal direction fire only.
Lichtblitz: Blue flare, Laser type also horizontal only.
At the start of the game the enemies come at you from one direction and are easy pickings but as you progress they begin to come from all sides, including from behind (hence the ability to control your firing direction) which adds to the level of difficulty.
The bosses are huge, colourful and powerful but not invincible, in fact I would say these are pretty well matched for most peoples skill levels. They increase in difficulty slightly in each level giving a good learning curve.
The audio immerses you in the atmosphere of the game fantastically, actually some of the best shmup music scores I have heard in a long time.
Split over various worlds and levels your task is to complete each area by defeating the end of level boss and on top of that get the best score you possibly can. None of the game appears impossible to complete so far, I am sure this will please the average gamer but I believe the added Arcade mode will give the hardcore gamer a big enough challenge also. The only downside to the whole game is the lack of a 2-player mode, but that’s a minor point.
This game oozes quality, it deserves to be in your collection so get over to Duranik and get your order in, you wont be disappointed and you will also be supporting not only one of the finest homebrew devs around but the scene in general.