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Ginga Fukei Densetsu [Sapphire]

version: jp - year: 1995 - developer: hudson soft - publisher: hudson soft - format: pc-egine, cdrom - condition: mint, w/o spine - rarity: very


The intro is ground-breaking


Bosses often morph into nastier creatures


2D and 3D graphics are seamlessly integrated in the ultimate Pc Engine hardware showcase


Gameplay is very dynamic as enemies pop up unexpectedly


To play Sapphire, you'll need either the ACD Card Pro (pictured) or the ACD Card Duo. Stylish players, will use the Pro version to play on the original PCE set up!

Review - Hudson Soft ultimate vertical shooter landed on Pc Engine as a final attempt to even out a war that was inexorably being lost against Sega and Nintendo.

It was to serve a dual purpose: show what the ageing PC Engine could do equipped with the latest technology from Nec and revive interest in the console.

As soon as the intro starts, it becomes immediately clear that Sapphire is no ordinary software. The intro, a mixture of manga style drawings and prerendered graphics, is a work of art by itself.

Graphically, Sapphire achieves unmachted hights on Pc Engine and probably on whatever else came out during that period. As a 2D shooter, it breaks records one after the other. Sprites, polygons, morphing effects, huge explosions, great lighting effects, parallax scrolling and the list goes on and on...

In all honesty, it is difficult to find something wrong here. My only complaint is the usual one it seems: your ship is bigger than what I usually like, but in this case, it really is no big deal.

The music isn't entirely convincing though. Some random heavy metal stuff peppered with Japanese tunes frankly don't fit that well with the rest of the game. The sound effects are also average, and really I was expecting more from the overall audio experience. It doesn't do justice to the rest of the game.

Gameplay is very entertaining although it could be considered a bit on the easy side, considering that it is possible to set 9 continues and considering that many bosses can be wiped out by only using smart bombs... But now, I'd like to spend a few words on the rarity of this title.

Sapphire is one of the most expensive games on Pc Engine because it had a very low production run. It is unclear at this point how many copies were printed but not many are around. On this matter, UK's Edge magazine wrote that Sapphire was never a commercial release but it was rather handed over at some game show. This info has been contested by many sources in Japan so I would think that the game WAS actually a commercial release after all.

If you decide to purchase Sapphire, you should keep in mind that many shops try to sell it for rediculous high amounts. I was lucky enough to find it for a very reasonable price (not in the shops) but without spine card. The spine card can often cost you an extra 100$ so I would not go for a complete game.

Finally, some counterfeit copies do exist and are apparently professionally done. There are ways to tell the difference between a genuine and a fake although the game's front and back cover must be inspected carefully.

Bottom line: Rare and technically outstanding vertical shooter whose only fault is to be a bit too easy....8/10










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