Go Series: Dark Spirits (Nintendo DS) Review

By Sam Turner 15.01.2011

Review for Go Series: Dark Spirits on Nintendo DS

Rising Star had a fantastic year last year. Not only did they capture the brain-collapsing No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle and Yuji Naka’s latest title Ivy the Kiwi?, but they also teamed with Gamebridge to release the ‘Go Series’. It’s essentially an umbrella term for a new wave of DSiWare titles that has resulted in a host of Japanese games being made available to the European users at a reasonable entry price in the hope of permeating an already over-populated DSiWare market. It is savvy business, but budget doesn’t have to mean balderdash. Anyone who has picked up the remarkably simple but technically sublime Birds & Bombs knows that when a game runs under your nose at 200 Nintendo Points sometimes it is worth the gamble, and Dark Spirits might be worth losing your pants in Vegas for.

It should not be expected that a game priced so low should be challenging to engage with. Set against simple plain backgrounds and with little to no motivation from a narrative perspective, the idea behind Dark Spirits, the side-scrolling shoot ‘em up from Suzak, is about as demanding as the button presses it takes to get going. There is no application of the stylus here, which for some will be a refreshing change.

You fly across the screen as a caped - possibly winged - humanoid. At this point I really want to say ‘vampire’, but I don’t know if that is me talking or the highly popularised films and books currently saturating the media with nocturnal visitors. Though vampires never had the need for projectiles to fight off numerous foes. I shouldn’t even be saying ‘projectiles’, because the four circles of fire that precede you on screen are more ‘spirits’ than methods of firing out death. What you can probably already figure out from the Go Series is that it is all pretty simple, but it is within these simple constraints that developers often feel more empowered to initiate different arrangements of play.

The four spirits that follow you during your time on screen and provide your much needed firepower are by no means static, but by a tap of a button are interchangeable in their positions. A concentrated fire burst can be changed to a wide angle assault and this can all be switched again to fire in reverse and attack any advances coming from the left of the screen. Tactically, Dark Spirits is quite well designed. Enemies are reasonably varied, enough to force you to make use of all positions of your spiritual companions. The area you are attacked from is constantly in flux, and even though the button mashing never really stops your thumb will be glad of the changing pace.

Screenshot for Go Series: Dark Spirits on Nintendo DS

Those who will feel the force of your newfound glee for projectile formations will also helpfully provide you with more ways of altering how it is you’ll actually fight. On the odd occasion the evil floating bullet spitters will drop ‘souls’, one of four different varieties. Represented by different colours, each can alter one of your spirits to perform a different task. The more souls you pick up, the more of your spirits are converted and so strategy once again plays into your hands, giving it an RPG element. For those people who want shields floating by them one minute and then strong short range attacks the next, or even both at once, you can do that. Again, in terms of strategy it is a premise that works well and is engaging, though once you pick up a soul you are stuck with it which means sometimes you are jammed with a set of converted spirits that can lead you into more trouble than solutions.

There is no lack of options, then, when it comes to making your way across the level, but wielding such a relatively large protagonist across such a small field of play makes understanding where the ‘hit box’ is the greatest difficulty. Sometimes enemy bullets sail through you and others hit where others passed unnoticed. It is an unwanted inconsistency just for the basis of having a human avatar on the screen. It is this inconsistency that seems to plague Dark Spirits from the beginning. What seems easy at first will leave you deluged in feverish fury the next and what seems like simple gameplay changes can sometimes leave you with more issues than it is worth.

Screenshot for Go Series: Dark Spirits on Nintendo DS

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

It is good to see something different on the DSiWare market. Dark Spirits might not glow with praise due to a strong introductory difficulty hike, a lack of tutorship and no reasonably sensible save function. However it does just enough to warrant a punt, and it’s priced at just around the perfect level.

Also known as

G.G Series: Dark Spirits

Developer

Suzak

Publisher

Rising Star

Genre

First Person Shooter

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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