3/2 The joys of Doujinware


     Ever notice how many not-too-shabby to excellent quality games are so damned obscure? Is it because they get crushed under the heels of game franichises like Mario, Sonic, and Crash Sucky Bandicoot?

Yeah. Basically.

     Course, then there are games that are obscure because they're Japanese, and only available via Internet download. Idinaloq falls under this category. Produced by Namikaze Project, one of the two or three amateur programming groups that doesn't specialize in adult sims, Idinaloq is a hectic shooter featuring 3-D graphics and 2-D gameplay. Kind of like Raystorm, or a couple other ones that were evidently forgettable, as I've forgotten them.

     Don't try and figure out the title. Japanese shooters historically have titles created by shuffling around syllables until they sound catchy enough. Idinaloq isn't the name of the robot invaders, and it isn't the name of the heroine's plane or anything. Maybe Idinaloq could be the battleship that pops up in the background and you apparently launch from. Doubt it. Moving on.

     Gameplay is from the overhead and slightly behind perspective, as you deal with the hordes of enemy fighters who fire madly, but never in enough quantity. Wait, have I gone mad, you ask? Not ENOUGH projectiles flying at me? Well, you see, each of the fighters has a pair of drone-things that zip forward to absorb enemy shots and channel the energy into your Graviton Cannon, which is an enormous but rather crudely done superlaser that kills about everything. Each of the different planes can have their shield bits out for a certain amount of time before they need to take five and recharge their FORCE bar. They also absorb energy at different rates.

     There are four female pilots to choose from, as well as a hidden character who appears after you've beaten the game. Of course, she's just the bridge tech (Tomomi) who occasionally frets at you over the comlink, so she's not that good a pilot. But her ship, the Lovely Angel 00 (Possibly in reference to the Dirty Pair) is a bright pink starfighter that shoots a spreading heart-shaped vulcan cannon, so that alone makes her somewhat fun to mess with. The heroine, or at least the girl the select screen starts on, is a brunette named Sayuri who flies the Well-Rounded Blue Jet (aka Seylen-01). If you ever played shooters with different fighters for your choosing, you know what I mean. She's about the best at absorbing energy, as far as I can tell. Next comes Eiria, the creepy red eyed cyborg girl and pilot of the Phoenix-02. She's the angsty one since they're fighting robots and she happens to be part robot. Irene is a blind girl with green hair who happens to also be about the best pilot in the game. I think that's sorta funny. She may or may not have gotten her vision back at the end of the game, but her eyes are open. Finally, there's resident tomboy Formera, piloting the suitably tough Undine-01. Its regular gun is the strongest, but it takes forever to charge up her graviton cannon.

     The game has its drawbacks. For one thing, the actual difficulty of the game is nil, since they made it incredibly hard, yet added arcade-style infinite continues exactly where you left off. So, even though I tried to 'keep it real' by doing things like dodge enemy shots and memorize attack patterns, you could really just sit back on cruise control and mash the continue button every time you're killed. Another problem is the length. Or lack thereof. There are only four oddly-named levels in the whole game. I say oddly mostly on the basis that level two is dubbed "embarassment." And the music starts off sort of goofy, too.

     The game's strongest suit is the graphics, of course. The planes are fairly generic but nice-looking. The brightly-colored 3-D models kept making me think of Virtual-On for some reason. Of course, playing all the way through the game makes it so when I close my eyes, I still see millions of neon bullets flying at me.

     The full voice acting was a nice touch. The opening and ending movies, while a bit on the grainy side, are a nice touch, and the whole project is heads above most other amatuer efforts. If you have a high speed connection, I can more soundly recommend the game, though, since with only four stages, you'll probably spend more time downloading the game than actually playing through it.

 Download Idinaloq at:

Home of the Underdogs (everything on one .zip)

Namikaze homepage (here you can download several small .LZH files instead of one large file, can skip downloading the op/ed movies sequences if you want



Really makes me stop and think about what might happen if I actually made a game instead of saying over and over that I should be allowed to do so.

I broke the Empire. Whoops.

Admit it. You're dying to hear her say the word 'sempai.'

(side note: She doesn't. Shame, huh?)