Iridion 3-D Hands-On

Iridion 3-D puts a new spin on the classic side-scrolling shooter formula of games like Einhander and Gradius by giving the game a unique behind-the-ship perspective. We had a chance to sit down with an early build of the game to see how it fares.

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Iridion 3-D is one of the few original Majesco games releasing for the US launch of the Game Boy Advance. A spin on the classic side-scrolling shooter, Iridion 3-D puts you in a single ship that must shoot its way through a horde of futuristic environments complete with traps, enemies, and obstacles. We recently had a chance to sit down with a near-final build of the game to see how Iridion 3-D stacks up against the rest of the genre.

Iridion 3-D doesn't have much of a storyline. You're a futuristic fighter pilot who must shoot his way through a series of environments in an effort to defend Earth from a horrible enemy invasion. The game doesn't exactly explain who the enemy is, or why you're fighting them, but the lack of details is quickly forgotten when you get into the action of the game. Iridion 3-D plays very similarly to your standard side-scrolling or top-down shooter. You play as a jet, and you must move back and forth and shoot your weapons at the enemies that fly at you. Killing certain enemies will leave power-ups behind, and picking them up will equip your fighter with better weapons. The game currently has at least three types of power-ups, and most of them are slightly different versions of the classic weapon power-ups found in other shooters. Unfortunately, there didn't appear to be any special bombs or missiles in the game, and the secondary button didn't do anything. Additionally, at this point, the control isn't as precise as we would have liked, and we found that the fighter would often float a few millimeters to the left or right after we stopped pressing the D-pad.

The graphics in the game look very good, and the game runs at a very slick frame rate. Unfortunately, there are no alternate view modes, and the behind-the-ship perspective frequently obscures the action and makes it difficult to gauge exactly where incoming fire is headed. The sound is pretty awesome, and it really takes advantage of the GBA's superior sound technology with some hot music and sound effects.

At this point, Iridion 3-D looks like it could be a great game for fans of the genre. With its unique perspective and the classic gameplay that makes shooters such great pick-up-and-play games, Iridion 3-D should balance out the GBA launch lineup swimmingly.

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