Triggerheart Exelica Review
Like many LIVE Arcade titles, Triggerheart Exelica has seen itsself appear on many platforms. Originally appearing in the Arcades and then followed by releases on the SEGA Saturn, SEGA Dreamcast and finally the Xbox LIVE Arcade. There hasn’t been many, if any, vertical shooters on the Arcade service, and it will be this year that we will be seeing this change with the appearances of Ikaruga and 1942, but it is Triggerhearts that will be first of this kind to shoot its way on to the system.
The game lets you choose between one of two female fighters encased in robotic armour. Each fighter has its own unique shooting styles; Exelica specializes in wide spray attacks, while Crueltear uses focused frontal shots. You can also fire anchors at your enemy foe, this lets you “lasso” an enemy craft and use it as a shield against oncoming fire, or just simply throw it back at them to inflict more damage.
Choosing either character will take you down the exact same story path, though there is an achievement for completing the game with each character. A feature in this game called V.B.A.S. (Variable Boss Attack System) sits in the background, dynamically adjusting the game’s difficulty based on your performance in-game so you can make this game as easy or as hard as you like. Sadly, whether it is this feature or the fact that you have an unlimited number of continues, the five levels go by pretty fast. With no sense of challenge, you will find yourself beating the final boss and completing the game in less than 30 minutes. On the other hand there is a hard mode, but this isn’t as easy as selecting it from the main menu, it is tucked away in the options menu where you can set the skill level from there, very odd.
Graphically, Triggerheart is your average vertical shooter with a mix of 2D and 3D sprites. For a fairly recent shooter it has a very dated and simple look which has been done better in other titles around at the same time. Sound is just as limited as its graphics, with an aging soundtrack and spot effects. There are no online modes except the usual leaderboards and unlockable achievements to help boost your gamerscore, so don’t expect any 2 player co-op here.
I think it is wise to have released Triggerheart Hearts on Xbox LIVE Arcade at this time, as we have to begin somewhere and there are much better vertical shooters in the past just waiting to appear on Xbox LIVE Arcade. Sadly Triggerhearts is one title you should avoid. Think of it as an appetiser before the main course – Ikaruga, which as soon as it’s released Triggerhearts will not have a look in! I recommend you try before you buy with this one or just wait a little longer for the real deal to come along that is worthy of your 800 MS Points.