Welcome to -- RETRO GAME DAISUKI ! -- a blog about the wonderful world of Japanese retro video games (ARCADE / PC-88 / X68K / MEGA DRIVE / SATURN / PlayStation / PC-ENGINE). Re-live the strangest games from the 80's and 90's. Retro games were our youth!
Author : HERZOG
-- Playing video games since the 80's ! --
Still trying to translate all the posts from my old blog. Please see this post for more info.
Also, please excuse any grammar and any other related errors you may find on this blog, as English is not my first language.
Jack into cyberspace in this enjoyable cyberpunk-themed shooting game from ALFA SYSTEM.
● Title: ダウンロード ● Genre: Shooting ● Release Date: 1990.06.22 ● Developer: ALFA SYSTEM ● Publisher: NEC AVENUE ● Media: 4Mbit HuCARD ● System Specific: PC-ENGINE
DOWNLOAD is in my opinion one of the most interesting shooting games you can find on the PC-ENGINE. It was developed by ALFA SYSTEM who are perhaps best known for their flagship shooting game series 「CASTLE SHIKIGAMI」.
On the PC-ENGINE ALFA SYSTEM dedicated mostly to handling game conversions for NEC, but they did release a few original productions, the most noteworthy being DOWNLOAD, 「KAIDAN 00」 and 「GODZILLA : BAKUTEN RETSUDEN」.
During its original release DOWNLOAD was praised for its emphasis on story telling and for the quality of its visual scenes, all of which were very impressive to see still in a HuCARD title.
The character design was handled by the mangaka MASAOMI KANZAKI, who a couple of years later gained worldwide notoriety thanks for his work on 「STREET FIGHTER II : RYU」.
Personally, I think the character design was very good, yet it contrasts with the enemy design which is for the most part unremarkable. The overall graphics however are definitely top-notch.
■THE STORY OF DOWNLOAD
The story of DOWNLOAD takes place in the year 2099 in Kabukicho city, Japan. You take the role of a healthy but problematic「Cyberdriver」agent named 「SYD 2091」.
After waking up from a bad dream in his apartment, SYD receives a video message from a fellow agent named 「DEVA」. She tells him that she has new information pertaining to the case he and his partner OHALA were working on, and which ended up with the death of the later at the hands of an unknown cyberspace entity.
DEVA warns SYD that someone set the police after them on fake charges, and probably by the time he gets this message she will be already in the custody of the Kabukicho police.
Left with no other choice and eager for some answers - SYD gets on his fully armored motoloader and sets off for the Kabukicho police HQ.
At the start of each stage you can outfit your motoloader with both a main weapon and a sub weapon.
In spite of the hilariously broken English, the in-game descriptions will give you a general idea on the weapons and their properties.
● MAIN WEAPON Your main weapons have unlimited ammunition and can be upgraded 5 times by collecting the appropiate power-up capsule.
Note that whenever your motoloader takes a hit your weapon level will go down 1 level.
・BEAM VULCAN A widespread shot type. It covers a wide area but it's rather weak in power. ・LASER CANNON A piercing shot type. A penetrating laser beam that offers devastating frontal offensive power at its maximum level. ● SUB-WEAPON Unlike your main weapons, sub-weapons have limited ammunition. Picking up an ammunition capsule will restore your sub-weapon to its maximum capacity.
・CHASER Dual homing missiles. Not very powerful but highly effective. The missiles can be fired in rapid succession and can destroy enemy bullets.
・CRUSHER A small core that will consume any bullets and minor enemies it comes into contact before going out in a screen-wide explosion. ・BARRIER A 4-way movable barrier that can shield you against enemy fire.
DOWNLOAD uses a (very) friendly shield-based damage system that lets you take up to 4 consecutive hits before getting destroyed.
Whenever your motoloader gets hit its shield barrier will change color going from (full shields) GREEN ⇒ YELLOW ⇒ RED ⇒ PANIC! (no shields).
Your shield barrier can be restored by collecting an energy capsule.
The campaign in DOWNLOAD is composed of 6 multi-segment stages. It's obvious that ALFA SYSTEM put a lot of effort into giving each stage its own identity, and fortunately for the most part they succeeded in their task.
For your convenience the game offers you both unlimited continues and a password mode.
【 STAGE 1 : KABUKICHO CITY 】(4 Phases)
Your first mission is to bail DEVA out from the Kabukicho police HQ. This is an excellent introductory stage with 4 segments shock full of frantic non-stop shooting action.
Like with most shooting games, the difficulty of each stage will depend greatly on how well you can maintain your weapon's level.
【 STAGE 2 : POLICE UNIT CYBERFRAME 】(2 Phases)
『I AM SHAKING. LONG TIME NO JACK IN.』
Just as SYD suspected it, DEVA informs him that someone hacked into the police mainframe and set their robot units after them.
SYD now must jack into cyberspace and delete the virus program that's infecting the police units.
『NICE TOUCH DOWN SYD.』
As it turns out DEVA's client was none other than the「COMPANY」, which is your typical control-it-all mega corporation. It seems one of their big projects has gone completely haywire and is now taking control.
The agents also tell SYD that the hacker known as RAT was in fact his partner OHALA.
『TOUGH BREAK, MR. LEE.』
How ironic - killed by the terror they tried so hard to keep in secret.
Before dying the agent tells SYD that thing just know is only the half of a new「SUPER ARMOR」unit the COMPANY was developing.
【 STAGE 3 : ROAD TO FUJI BASE 】(1 Phase)
That DEVA is more trouble than a videogame princess. The agent told SYD that she most likely was taken to the undersea 「Fuji Base」where the SUPER ARMOR unit was being developed in secret.
It seems they still have need of a password stored in her neuro memory. There can't be much time left before they break her...
【 STAGE 4 : FUJI BASE 】(2 Phases) 『DEFENSE IS STRONG IN THIS PLACE.』
Inside Fuji Base SYD encounters the strongest enemy resistance yet. There's no time to switch weapons neither, he must find DEVA quickly.
The SUPER ARMOR suprisingly turned out to be a total pushover. I guess it was sort of a prototype, but still...
【 STAGE 5 : SPACE BASE 】(1 Phase)
DEVA has learned that the virus program called「NERO」is stored in the COMPANY's master control core unit located in space.
With the help of a space shuttle SYD takes off into space base and breaks through the enemy last line of defense DARIUS style!
【 STAGE 6 : MASTER UNIT CYBERFRAME 】(4 Phases)
『I AM GONNA MAKE YOU UPSET. NERO.』
It's time for the big game and SYD finally comes face to face with NERO who is one ugly mother virus.
NERO tells SYD he's assimilated his partner OHALA - Yet another reason to hate the bastard.
With the very last bit of his remaining consciousness, OHALA tells SYD to go for the last down and finish the job.
Destroying the master core won't be easy, but it will foil the COMPANY's ambitions, at least for time being. Fortunately for SYD. A coveniently stored space shuttle will allow him to go back to Earth safe and sound.
Like I mentioned it in the introduction, DOWNLOAD is one of the most interesting shooting games you can find on the PC-ENGINE, and more specifically, in HuCARD format.
It's funny how back then the media complained about how the game was held down by the card format, and how it should have been a CD-ROM release instead. Yet when the sequel came out, this time on SUPER CD-ROM2, it was mostly a slow and drab shooting game. Yet believe it or not, it was received better.
In my opinion however, the original DOWNLOAD was a far better and more enjoyable shooting game.