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X2

version: jp, eu - year: 1996(eu), 1997(jp) - developer: team 17, capcom(jp) - publisher: ocean (eu), capcom(jp) - format: playstation, cdrom - condition: mint - rarity: very(jp), slight (eu)

X2 for the Japanese market had its gameplay re-balanced by capcom prior to its release. The result is insanely good.

 

The european version of X2 is as fun as taking a math exam. Really.

 

Project X on the Amiga 500

 

X2 on Playstation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review - X2 is the sequel of the classic Amiga side-scrolling shooter Project X which was well known at the time for its outstanding audio-visuals but flawed, unfairly hard gameplay.

For this playstation-exclusive sequel, Team17 created a true visual masterpiece which totally eclipses most 32bit shooters. 2D graphics which look so impressive are honestly a rare thing to come by.

32000 colors on-screen, transparencies, several gorgeous layers of parallax scrolling rich in details and scroll-switching levels (horizontal and vertical) are simply incredibly eye-catching. Beautiful alien waves seem to flood the screen with torrent-like effects while huge bosses animated with tons of frames brutally step in and crowd the screen simply with their huge mass while they try to bury you under a stream of projectiles. In the asteroid field level, you'll be traveling back and forth between the foreground and the background layer of the stage and this will be handled through an awesome-looking zooming effect.

Visually, X2 is a graphical behemoth and it deserves to be seen from start to finish such is the quality of the artistry at work.

Also, some levels and bosses will feel very familiar to players who enjoyed Project X since X2 shares a very similar graphical theme. The music is typical euro-style techno which is often used in western-developed shooters and I must say that it works well to enhance the “high tech” feel of X2.

Now about gameplay, a very important distinction must be made here: despite the attempt to make this game easier than the uber-hard prequel, the European version of X2 is unfortunately totally unplayable.

Sure, there isn't nearly as much drag on the ship as there used to be in Project X but what has been left untouched is the chronic drought of power-ups, the unbalanced difficulty level and the excessive “armor” of enemies and bosses. By that, I mean that even the most basic alien waves will require an excessive amount of hits before being destroyed and the result is that in X2, you'll spend most of your time in trying to dodge enemies rather than kill them. This wouldn't be a big issue in itself if it wasn't for the fact that if you don't kill enemies, you don't get power-ups at all.

So the end of the story is that the Euro version of X2 is a total mess on the gameplay side.

Furthermore, while navigating levels, speech samples will warn you of incoming threats giving you advices on what to do. Too bad advices sound more like teasers since it will often be impossible to properly follow them given the inability of your ship to destroy most of the enemies on-screen!

To add insult to injury, if you take a look an the European game's manual, you'll find the following text: “Remember when video games didn't need a story? Well, remember no more! Here is X2. The aliens are coming and you are our last hope! Shoot them all or burn in hell!”... I have no words.

The difficulty of euro X2 is not the kind of difficulty that pushes you to better you playing style to the extreme but rather, it's the kind that completely shatters your hopes of advancing because it is so overwhelmingly (and stupidly) hard, for no reason other than frustrate and destroy all possible attempts at having fun with the game. And your inability to shoot down even the most insignificant alien ship is so infuriating that it's like the game never takes off. You'll be waiting for ever to build up your arsenal but this will be in vain as you'll be inexorably chopped to pieces by idiotic alien waves. And even if you manage to accumulate a decent amount of weapons, you'll still be inexplicably underpowered and enemies will simply tread on you as if you didn't exist.

About your arsenal, a special mention should go to the awesome -looking homing laser which sweeps the screen and bends beautifully like a snake made of electricity (if you played Raiden II and Truxton, you'll know what to expect).

Anyways, after all this negativity, it might seem impossible to find any significant redeeming quality in this game.

When Capcom picked up X2 for release in Japan , it probably saw the huge potential the game had so between 1996 (the date of the Euro launch) and 1997 (Jap release), Capcom worked on X2 and tweaked the gameplay. The result has been totally unexpected: what was an awesome-looking game with a wasted potential magically turned into one of the best (if not the single-best) Playstation 2D shooter! (Maybe I'm getting a little over-excited here, Zanac X Zanac still holds the crown of best PSOne shmup...)

Now, you'll actually be able to see the incredible graphics of the most advanced levels and even confront yourself with CRITICUS, evil incarnated in the form of... a Latin-speaking galactic lobster? or maybe a mutant scorpion from outer space? or...well, see the thing for yourself :)

On the surface, Capcom didn't make many changes as the audio-visuals in the Japanese release of X2 are basically identical to their European counterpart.

In fact, Capcom ended up introducing a few subtle changes in the gameplay department as it increased continues from 2 to 5, made alien waves and bosses much easier to destroy, decreased the number of bullets on-screen and last but not least it increased the number of power-ups in the levels by a whole deal.

The end result is simply groundbreaking since it fuses the awesomeness of euro-smups technical wizardry with the typically balanced and unmatched gameplay of Japanese shmups. Capcom's touch transformed X2 inside-out, as the Japanese version plays like a dream and looks as devastatingly beautiful as ever!

In a word, Capcom pulled off a little miracle here and elevated X2 from mediocrity to epic glory. The Japanese version of X2 is almost too good to be true.

Don't waste your time on the Euro version, you would risk to poison the experience! Instead, start your quest on finding this version as it is a true gem in the PSOne catalogue. It is a must have. Honest!

Bottom line: the Japanese version of X2 is the way to go. Technically awesome, and finally way more playable than its punishing european counterpart. 9/10 (jp), 5,5/10 (eu).


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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