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Down Load

version: jp - year: 1990 - developer: nec - publisher: nec - format: pc engine, hucard - condition: mint - rarity: uncommon

Down Load was only released in Japan


Ride a futuristic bike, Akira style!


Here, the scrolling will be going forward while the tower will stay still. This results in a very weird effect, which isn't convincing at all


From this point on, the difficulty level steps up!


Focus only on the bosses' shots, and don't bother aiming hehe


Engrish strikes back!


Getting close to the final level


Epilepsy Warning: The psychedelic last level changes color every few seconds, you're warned!


The last boss is VERY hard. The yellow circles are just decoration. Shoot the red dot and avoid umbrella-like bullets. After a while he'll start moving in a very hard to avoid pattern. Drop the 6 smart bombs you probably kept for this specific moment aiming at the core and try to dodge the huge shields which surround him and which he'll shoot at you...


...mission completed!



Need them? Here they are!

Review - Down Load always eluded me as it is one of the lesser known shooters on Pc Engine.

Maybe its reputation of being a very challenging game or maybe the fact it runs on HuCard made it one of the most overlooked games in the PC Engine library.

Well, Down Load actually manages to do a number of things right. The anime-style cut-scenes told through the use of beautiful portraits coupled with its unique cyber-punk setting make it stand out. You won't be flying inside a spaceship, but you'll be riding a futuristic bike, Akira-style.

Graphically, Down Load is definitely well done. Backgrounds are colourful and change a lot even during the same level. One thing I noticed though is that sometimes, the transition between one setting to another is very abrupt and occasionally, there are some programming mistakes in how the graphics look. I found this aspect to be interesting because it seems the programmers lacked some experience! Despite these minor graphical flaws, Down Load looks astounding with its multi-layered parallax scrolling and its blazing fast levels. Actually, the speed of the scrolling changes a lot too, forcing the player to adjust his playing style continually. Also, enemies are varied and shoot a lot and this sometimes results in some (bearable) slow-down.

The music is very well done, as the tunes are very atmospheric and inspired. Unfortunately, I can't say the same thing about sound effects. The noise of the main weapon sounds terrible! I guess the limitations of the HuCard format had to show up somewhere…

Gameplay is pretty straightforward and the weapon system is simple yet effective. Choose your main weapon and your auxiliary weapon before starting a level and just collect power ups and health during the game. A good combination is most certainly the laser as a main weapon and the shield as a secondary weapon. Once you learn the levels you are probably better of switching the shield with the smart bombs especially for the last boss…

As I sad before, Down Load is a very challenging game but some factors will make the challenge more human:

• your ship has an energy bar and you can often replenish it during a level by collecting health icons • there is a password system which is very handy.

In the End, Down Load is a truly excellent shooter, packed with some of the best audio-visuals you can hope to find in any Hucard game! it is warmly recommended to shooters veterans and to PC Engine fans alike.

Its unique blend of cyberpunk and manga artwork make it a winner while the psychedelic last level reaches unattainable heights of originality and artistry, in a grand finale reminiscent of Kubrik's 2001 A Space Odyssey ending voyage.

Bottom line: a tough yet playable shooter with a few interesting touches....7/10











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