Sunday, July 19, 2009

Retro Game of the Day! MUSHA

MUSHA, short for Metallic Uniframe Super Hybrid Armor, or something like that, was a premier title in the Sega Genesis' stable of vertical shooters. One of my favorite games of the period, it released in 1990, developed by the talented folks at Compile (devs of another favorite title around these parts, Space Megaforce/Super Aleste).

They could have done the game a better service by granting it a more Western-friendly name, if they were interested in sales I suppose (I don't think publisher Seismic was around for too much longer after this released!) and without the magazines' support I would never have picked up a game with such a silly-sounding name - fortunately they went properly gaga over it at the time, showing off some really slick cutscene shots (something of a novelty back in the day!) and it really turned me on at the time.

The game itself was pretty standard fare from these guys - intense shooting action, power up your weapons (you worked with a standard shot, a lazer, a cool black hole weapon, a spinning force shield shot - hmm I think that was about it!) in addition to little sidekick options who would augment your firepower. These options could be "programmed" to fire in a variety of formations, and you'd have to keep feeding them picked-up power chips to replenish them (otherwise, they keep dying on ya!)

Thematically, you were looking at an interesting hybrid style of high-tech mixed some bizarre feudal-Japan inspired look, it was weird but even to us clueless gaijin, it worked! An interesting departure from every other game out there, at least. Lots of cool weird-o enemies trying to blast you down every step of the way, usually leaning more on the mechanical side than the samurai or demonic inspired side - which was fine enough with me.

This game was an audiovisual feast on the Genesis, they used a lot of nice-looking parallax and interesting scrolling effects to really spruce things up - and the music in this game was just wonderful 80s balls-out grinding metal, of the sort the Genesis' processor boomed out perfectly. I still get a kick out of blaring the soundtrack to this game, primitive as it may sound by modern standards.

A kicking shooter that is not too be missed, if you like shooters then this should definitely be on your roster of titles to investigate!

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