It's awesome that developers are still making games for Sega Genesis so here's Arkagis Revolution; a top-notch shooting adventure.
Arkagis Revolution is one heck of a great game. The first thing that impressed me about it is how it takes advantage of many Genesis hardware features. For example, you can control it with either the standard or the 6-button controller and even use the Sega Mouse or Sega Saturn Keyboard if you prefer. I personally played it with my Retro-Bit 6-button controller which makes the gameplay more intuitive as you can swap weapons on the fly with the 3 extra buttons as well as bring up the map with the Mode button. However, my Mode button doesn't seem to work for some reason. Anyway, you can write down your password at any time by simply bringing up the map which is handy, especially considering you can continue from mid-stage checkpoints. Finally, there's even a diagnostics screen that you can access by resetting 3 times which allows you to test your controllers. They really thought of everything, didn't they?
With all of the nifty technical stuff out of the way, Arkagis Revolution tells the story of the Arkagis nation which is on Mars. You play as Lyn who's a member of the rebel forces and pilots the ARX-01. You're joined by Commander Genari and an engineer named Mika who designed the ARX-01 and you'll face off against Ricard and Victor from the United Space Colonies. Each of the 5 characters is either voiced by Kristen McGuire or George Exley and they do an excellent job of giving each character a unique personality. I'm very happy that there's such clear voice acting in a Genesis game and I hope to see more retro console games push limits like this.
Arkagis Revolution's gameplay is a mix of shooting and exploration. You basically fly around labyrinthine stages while figuring out where to go next, fighting enemies, and collecting power-ups. These stages are presented in Mode 7 visuals and you control your ship by tapping A and C to rotate the stage and B to shoot. The resulting gameplay is impressively fast-paced and responsive and it makes battling enemies and exploring a ton of fun. The icing on the cake is that there are a few weapons to swap between including a standard phaser, homing missiles, and a powerful blast shot. Choosing the best weapon for each situation is rewarding, especially when you're fighting a boss which can be quite the rush as the bosses evolve while you battle them by becoming increasingly hostile and unpredictable. I can't remember the last time I played a retro game that made me move to the edge of my seat as much as Arkagis Revolution has.
Of course, even though I loved my time with Arkagis Revolution, it does have its downsides. First, it's quite easy to get lost if you happen to take a wrong turn and end up accidentally backtracking. Although there is a map, using it might not help because you can't see all that much aside from your immediate surroundings. The only other major issue I have is that the environments are quite plain with very few stand-out features. I wish that the stages featured more visual variety and environmental objects because some levels' graphics can get quite tiresome. Keep in mind; if these are the only 2 substantial complaints that I have then you know this is a great game.
If Arkagis Revolution released for Sega Genesis back in the day, it would have been an instant hit so if you have a fondness for gaming as if it's the '90s then do yourself a favour and pick up a copy of this modern 16-bit gem.
- + Top-notch blend of shooting and exploring with great bosses and weapons
- + Makes use of many Genesis features
- + Voice acting adds a lot of personality
- - Even with a map, it's easy to get lost
- - Environments lack stand-out features