With every installment of the Arcade Archives series comes yet another obscure arcade game port. Here we have Terra Cresta which is a vertically scrolling shoot 'em up. Is it on the same level as classics such as Xevious and 1942? It'd be best not to get your hopes up.
Terra Cresta is obviously played by dodging enemy fire and shooting. You have the option to hold down a button to shoot rapidly or tap another button to fire at your own pace. Where it sets itself apart is in its power-up and formation systems. Upon collecting a power-up, your ship is equipped with a new part. As a result, your firepower increases in a certain way such as adding the ability to shoot backwards or implementing a wide array of projectiles. All upgrades are destroyed whenever you get hit then one more hit will obliterate your ship, so be careful. If you have at least one upgrade equipped and enough stock remaining, you can unleash a formation attack. This pushes your upgraded parts away from you as they fire their own unique blasts. Although this has the potential to create a massive force of projectiles, it also leaves you vulnerable. When you upgrade fully and manage to grab another power-up, you turn into a temporarily invincible flaming phoenix. That'll make shooting at dinosaurs and drones all the more thrilling!
There's no denying that Terra Cresta looks almost exactly like Xevious. This is deceptive since it doesn't play like it nor is it anywhere near as good. Ground targets are even destroyed by using your regular weapon. If they made it look so similar to Xevious, why didn't they include a bomb feature for land-based foes? Anyway, you'll fly over water, deserts, and greenery frequently enough that you'll swear it loops every minute. This lack of environmental diversity makes the tedium much more prevalent than if you had the opportunity to explore different topography. Thankfully, enemies and their projectiles are easily spotted which was an issue in many shoot 'em ups that were released during this period. The soundtrack consists of Genesis-style music that is quite good although being able to fully enjoy it is a challenge with all of the extremely loud explosions occurring constantly. Overall, it looks like Xevious and sounds like a Genesis game with its sound effects turned up to eleven. You couldn't get more generic than this.
Probably the biggest surprise that Terra Cresta has in store is the fact that it only contains one endless stage. Not only that, there are also no discernible sections. However, you do encounter three different boss-like enemies from time to time that help break up the gameplay a little bit. Ultimately, this means that you'll play just to get a high score since there is absolutely no incentive to progress any further. Everything looks the same and plays the same. After playing it for a while, you'll want to simply end it and forgo that high score opportunity just to move on to something more worthwhile.
Unfortunately, Terra Cresta suffers from the same issues that previous Arcade Archives titles are afflicted with. To be specific, there are no included extras and the leaderboards only hold the top 100 players. On the plus side (kind of), you can play with a friend. If this sounds intriguing then prepare to be disappointed because you have to take turns. Many arcade games had this feature back in the day, but now that I look back; I don't understand why. Wouldn't it be more fun to play a full run while your friend watches then he does a full run to try and beat your score? Why break it up and take turns? It only serves to disrupt the flow of the gameplay.
Terra Cresta is an Arcade Archives installment that I can't imagine recommending to anyone besides hardcore retro shoot 'em up collectors. With repetitive and lackluster gameplay and presentation, maybe this one should have been left in the past.
- + Simple classic shoot 'em up gameplay
- + Upgrades and formations add some variety to the mindless shooting
- - Issues from earlier Arcade Archives remain
- - Only consists of one tediously uninteresting stage that goes on forever
- - Environments barely change throughout