Developers: Natsume; Dynamic Planning; ITL
Publisher: Milton Bradley
Director: Atsushi Okazaki
Producers: Takashi Nagai & Tadashi Makimura
Programmers: Kimiya Sasaki, Seiichi Tajima & Koichi Dekune
Artist: Hidenobu Takahashi
Composer: Kiyohiro Sada
It’s like Gradius or Life Force without that pesky ship to protect you!
The gruesome title screen is overshadowed by the game’s “presenter”– Milton Bradley. I always thought of MB as a board game company, but they did dabble in video games briefly as well.
Abadox is a one-player scrolling shooter that puts you in the body of an alien, instead of many similar games that have you flying around shooting aliens. I usually complain about multiplayer games (as a joke), but it really seems like a missed opportunity to not have a player two in Abadox.
At first you start out with basically a peashooter, but you can shoot and snag blue power-ups to upgrade your weaponry, increase your speed, and provide some rotating balls as a shield. After thoroughly consulting the manual online (something I intend to do moving forward), I learned the ‘A’ button can “control” the shield, but it just seemed to mostly make the balls quiver a bit while rotating around my spaceman. And honestly, most of the time you’re too busy tapping ‘B’ to shoot the multitude of antibodies attacking you to worry about what your shield is doing.
At the end of each level there’s a boss battle, but honestly just getting there is way tougher than the big baddies themselves. I played Abadox for about an hour, and burned through 50 live in that span! I suck, but not that bad. It’s a pretty punishing game, and some of the bottleneck sections of levels are hard to get through without power-ups, which you do lose after taking a hit and dying. Luckily there seems to be unlimited continues as well as checkpoints so you never have to start all over again.
NUTS AND BOLTS
Abadox’s graphics are some of the best of the games I’ve played and reviewed so far. Sure, your character is kinda generic, but the creatures and backgrounds pop. Nothing stands out about the score; in fact I can’t even remember any of it. The controls are pretty tight, and have to be to navigate some of the trickier areas. Dodging is almost as important (maybe more so) than shooting.
Abadox isn’t a game that’s going to blow you away with its originality. The concept and style are extremely reminiscent of other games in the same genre, as previously noted. However, in this case, especially if you like those other games, that is not a bad thing. As brutally difficult as Abadox is I really did get into it. So if you like scrolling space shooters but Abadox slipped under your radar (as it did mine), be sure to give it a shot!