If you're as much of a shoot 'em up fan as I am, you probably love discovering long-lost hidden treasures. Thankfully, this brand new collection features 2 fantastic arcade shooters from the turn of the millennium that are sure to satisfy genre enthusiasts.
Vasara debuted in Japanese arcades back in 2000 and it's an incredibly fun shmup. What makes it enjoyable is its fun melee attacks and Vasara Attack system. Basically, you shoot and dodge projectiles but you can also hold the shot button to charge a melee attack then let it go to unleash a fury of short-range strikes. As you play, you can deploy bombs as well as charge your Vasara Attack gauge by collecting gems. Once it's full, you can perform a very powerful special move that's quite effective against bosses. There are 3 characters to choose from, you can play with a friend, and the stages and bosses are expertly crafted to create a challenging and rewarding campaign.
Releasing in 2001, Vasara 2 sets itself apart from its predecessor by streamlining its gameplay. Now, you don't have any bombs but you can charge your Vasara Attacks much quicker and store up to 3 charges at once. The 12 stages are full of mid-bosses and huge structures to take out and as a result, the campaign is packed with action-intense scenarios. It also features 4 characters plus a secret one that you unlock after finishing the campaign which is a cool prize. Needless to say, Vasara 2 is one top-notch shmup.
Both of these games include plenty of options such as the ability to rotate your TV, implement smooth or sharp visual filters, and change the difficulty as well as increase lives and special move stock. However, these classics are super-tough even with the easiest settings so if you're a genre newbie then you'll likely get frustrated with the high degree of difficulty. Anyway, there are online leaderboards, too, and an art gallery. That being said, I wish there was more museum-style content like the soundtracks, game history, and such.
In addition to the 2 arcade originals, you also get a brand new Timeless Mode which features bosses and characters from the classic games rendered in 3D and they look awesome. This mode implements a very wide playfield which rarely lends itself well to vertical shoot 'em ups but thankfully, you can play with up to 4 local players which will definitely make more use of the onscreen real estate.
Timeless Mode basically plays just like the arcade games except the action is far less exciting as the amount of enemies is substantially dialed back and with such a wide playfield, the gameplay ends up becoming far too monotonous to enjoy. Also, aside from the handful of bosses that are lifted from the arcade games, the enemies severely lack variety so you'll end up shooting at the same few foes to the point where it feels bland and repetitive. This is especially true when you play solo because the screen tends to be quite barren.
Vasara Collection contains 2 incredibly fun classic shoot 'em ups that aren't very well known which makes this collection even more worthwhile. So, if you're an arcade shooter fan then buying this compilation should be a no-brainer.
- + Contains 2 top-notch shoot 'em ups that were never released in the west before
- + Timeless Mode features cool 3D visuals
- + Great characters and options
- - The arcade games' steep difficulty may turn off casual arcade shooter fans
- - Timeless Mode isn't very fun solo
- - Not much museum-style content