Under Defeat HD

Right now, I’m sitting with Under Defeat HD nestled eagerly in my Xbox 360’s disc drive and I’m asking myself “what the hell are you doing in there?” I’ll explain.

Under Defeat is a vertical-scrolling, arcade shoot-em-up where you control one of a handful of different helicopters, each with different performances and abilities. It was a game that was originally on the Dreamcast, and was clearly very popular for it to have had a high definition update. However, it’s not the first popular game to have made the jump from the Dreamcast to the current generation of consoles. Jet Set Radio made a similar move, albeit using digital distribution and not discs.

I wouldn’t normally chastise a game for being on a disc, but in this case I really feel like I need to make an exception. The main reason for this is that there’s just not enough in Under Defeat HD to warrant it being on a disc; not nearly enough. All you get is effectively one game mode split into four: the ‘New Order’ game mode, the ‘Arcade’ game mode and a practise mode for both of those, where you can replay any level as much as you like. New Order and Arcade are almost identical however, only differing in that the latter only uses about a quarter of the screen width of the former – they’re otherwise the same game experience.

And that’s it, unless you’re looking for a challenge. That’s one area that Under Defeat certainly doesn’t fall short. In fact, you’d better hope you’re looking for a challenge because it’s so difficult at times, it can start to get annoying. You’d be forgiven for thinking that preventing an area on your helicopter that’s about half the size of a pinhead from being hit would be easy. Holy fuck, is it tough! For that, blame the waves of enemies drowning the screen with bullets. It’s not even like Dark Souls in that, even though it’s tough, you can get through it if you’re smart; it’s just bloody unfair.

Even on the lowest difficulty with the starting lives bumped up to the maximum amount you’re allowed, you’d still need to be the lovechild of Ace Rimmer and Starscream to be able to get through the game’s meagre 10 levels (20 if you count Arcade mode’s 10 near-identical levels). I can’t see why you’d want to though, even if you were a fan of it on the Dreamcast. If Arcade mode – the mode that’s reputedly just like the original iteration – is anything to go by, nothing has really been added in this HD update that could really make it worth your while.

Nostalgia is the only thing that could make you want to buy this game; I’d imagine the only other type of person who’d buy it is someone who doesn’t like games or money. Take my advice: if you want to play a great, nostalgia-inducing shooter that’s innovative, reasonably priced and available to you right this very second, go play Ikaruga.







16 responses to “Under Defeat HD”

  1. AmidstStorm avatar

    You have absolutely no idea about the genre of shoot em ups if you give this game a 4/10.. Stick to reviewing a genre you know about.

  2. Ardian avatar

    “Play Ikaruga” You said? This was easier than ikaruga! You Never Played ikaruga you just saw some clips from youtube and never played it if you’re those CoD Players then stick with that game instead.

  3. Oliver "speedlolita" Wood avatar
    Oliver “speedlolita” Wood

    “Under Defeat is fun for 10 minutes”.

    Sounds like you played it for 10 minutes.

  4. Manoel avatar

    This is what comes out when pussies try to play games designed for men….

  5. Mark P avatar

    I guess I missed the memo where a game is automatically great just so long as it’s difficult.

    Oh and sorry Manoel but games aren’t designed for men. We’ll have no more of your sexist nonsense, thanks.

  6. Charlesr avatar

    “We’ll have no more of your sexist nonsense, thanks” – but in your bio (seen by clicking your photo), you talk about wanting to make a game so great that women ask you to sign their boobs…

  7. Oliver "speedlolita" Wood avatar
    Oliver “speedlolita” Wood

    Wow, you actually had the balls to respond. Unfortunately you’ve simply made more of a fool of yourself.

    Casual gamers these days…

  8. The Sonic Mole avatar
    The Sonic Mole

    Mark – I respect your opinion but maybe it would be a good idea for the site to get a genre fan to review the game as well. Your review reflects that this type of game is an acquired taste and fairly impenetrable to those who aren’t fans of the genre. However, with all due respect, it’s not of great use to those who are fans of shmups of this ilk.

  9. jimbo avatar

    I love how the review makes almost no comment on the gameplay hooks, scoring system, enemy patterns or anything vaguely factual to base this slating on. If it had it would have been possible to respect the opinion rather than just coming across as a baseless rant – I fail to see how any shooter could score highly here as the same criticisms can be levelled at each and every one.

    Comparing Under Defeat to Ikaruga is also asinine, they’re at complete opposite ends of the spectrum. It would be like saying Mario Kart or Ridge Racer shouldn’t exist because we have Gran Tourismo. Ikaruga is very much a dry experience, that’s 100% about pattern memorisation. Whereas Under Defeat goes down a far more arcadey route, with more bombastic gameplay and enemy patterns and a balance where you can survive by fast reactions rather than just repeating the same staid sequences.

    As for why someone would be attracted to this release compared to the Dreamcast one – how about the fact that it is orders of magnitude cheaper and features far better looking graphics on an HD display?

    It really feels like this reviewer hasn’t done even a modicum of basic homework and certainly hasn’t spent much time with the game, it’s also one of the easier shooters out there so don’t know where that criticism came from.

    I would have expected anyone taking a game design degree to also understand the implications that even a simple field of view adjustment can have on the way a game plays and feels.

  10. billy_dimashq avatar

    Marks right this game sucks. If you want a real man shooter, not some girly J-vertical shmootemup or whatever their called, you should really play Black Ops 2. You’ll thank me later I promise when you see the graphics

    These sort of games died along with the Dreamcase and only good for XBLA or PSN andante Wiiware but that’s for casuals who think Scribblenauts is genre defining

  11. Retro Spirit avatar
    Retro Spirit

    @ billy_dimashq

    Nice trolling there, only the thickest, brain dead tw@ts boast about CoD games.. making comments such as ‘Black Ops is sick mate, ova games iz well gay innit’, and you aren’t one of those are you? Are you? So it can only be trolling.. it made me laugh..

    The review was pretty poor, it’s very clear that the reviewer isn’t into Smhups at all, which begs the question, why bother reviewing it.

    I am not a hardcore shmup fan but I do like them.. I finished DoDonPachi Resurrection, Akai Katana, mushimisama futari & Espgaluda 2, and enjoyed them all, but only in short bursts.

  12. Alexxxzzz avatar

    A game that’s only fun for 10 minutes gets a 4 out of 10? By that logic a game that gets a 3 must be fun for 7.5 minutes, and a 10 out of 10 must be fun for a whopping 25 minutes?

  13. Misery avatar

    …..this is a really awful review. Though, I knew that as soon as I got to the third paragraph. The moment someone starts whining about “There’s not enough game here!!!1111” when talking about a shmup, is the moment when I *know* that the reviewer knows exactly squat about the genre.

    The amount of content that is in here is TYPICAL for this genre. And many of these games can cost much more than this one did, and are still on discs.

    ….and dont compare everything to Ikaruga just to make yourself sound like you know what you’re talking about. While alot of ACTUAL shmup fans really do like it, it’s also the one that people bring up when they want to sound like they know the genre, when they really dont.

    Oh, and, I thought I might point out that New Order mode and Arcade mode DO, in fact, differ from each other… not that you played it enough to figure this out. Scoring and balance changes, some alterations to enemy positions/patterns, and an arranged soundtrack. And before you say “BLARGH STILL NOT ENOUGH GAME”…. no. That’s often how different “modes” are. Different modes in a shmup do NOT (pretty much ever) mean different LEVELS.

    There’s more than enough game here, as for anyone ACTUALLY willing and wanting to dive into it, it’s probably going to take a great many hours to beat this one, as it is very tough.

    ….oh, and since you “can see all of it in 10 minutes!!11” I’m going to guess that you…. ahem…. “beat” the game via continuing, yes? AKA, you havent actually beaten it and probably lost right around level 2. Shmups arent beaten until you get through the whole game and defeat the end boss WITHOUT CONTINUING EVEN ONCE, and in fact, a huge number of them have a “true” final boss that wont even appear if you’ve used a continue, and endings that you cannot get.

    Sigh. Next time… get someone that knows what they’re talking about to review a game like this.

  14. XBIGY avatar

    What a poor review. you bitch because a SHMUP is too hard and that the main point of it is challenging? Have you played a SHMUP before? Oh and you advice people to buy Ikaruga, one of THE most challenging SHMUPS out there. What a moron.

  15. Decider-VT avatar

    Wow. Have all of the criticisms of this review been intentionally deleted?

    1. Simes avatar

      Intentionally? No. We did switch to Disqus commenting a month or so ago, and a lot of comments got mislaid during that process, something we’re still trying to get them to sort out. The likelihood is that they’re still in there and will be retrieved in due course.

Leave a Reply