Taking To The Not-So-Friendly Skies – Under Defeat HD: Deluxe Edition (Review) XBox 360

Taking To The Not-So-Friendly Skies – Under Defeat HD: Deluxe Edition (Review) XBox 360
Review Score:

As we make that smooth transition from current to next-gen consoles, this fellow old school gamer finds it refreshing to come across titles that serve as gorgeous reminders of those action-packed moments from yesteryear, and “Under Defeat HD: Deluxe Edition” from G. Revolution and Rising Star Games is such the title. UDHD is an arcade shooter (which was first released for the Sega Dreamcast in 2006) that has players taking over the role as a helicopter pilot that is caught in a conflict between the Empire and the Union. What makes UDHD’s story more interesting is that it’s based on World War II.

The graphics are what you would expect in a retro-ish shooter, but with a very nice facelift that comes complete with 3D graphics, a well-detailed battleground that’s full of destructible mayhem realism, and a slightly angled perspective to add more depth to the game.  And if UDHD seems familiar to you, well it should; it bears strong resemblance to “Twin Cobra” (now who here besides me remembers THAT title?).  The sounds here are also what would be expected — gunfire and explosions aplenty, with excellent background tunes to complement the action.

UDHD has two versions of the game:  Arcade (the original version) and New Order (which is essentially ‘Arcade’, but in widescreen format). Each version has a “Practice Mode” and an “Extra Mode”; “Practice Mode” allows you to practice on any stages that you have unlocked along the way and in “Extra Mode”, the stages are inverted.  For both Arcade and New Order, the game has 2 levels with 5 stages each, making that 10 levels total.

And before you take to the skies, you have four helicopters to choose from, three levels of difficulty, and whether you want to have normal or reverse control (pilot mode) for your ‘copter. The gameplay is certainly very simplistic in design and execution with the machine gun and bomb buttons, but there are plenty of strategies that you can use as you play (which makes UDHD’s “Practice Mode” an added bonus, to help you hone your strategies even further). You have 3 basic forms of attack: machine guns, bombs, and weapon options.

The machine gun is your main weapon throughout the game. By holding the gun button down on your controller, you’ll let loose a continuous stream of bullets. However, the same effect applies if you opt to use the right control stick, as UDHD supports dual-stick control. With bombs, you start each life with 3 of them and they unleash screen-devastating blasts that will kill most enemies instantly and protect you from enemy fire, but not collisions. There are three weapon options that are dropped by certain enemies or when you’re killed, and they provide you with 3 possible additional attacks. Each option is color-coded and will remain onscreen until you touch it.

The Vulcan machine gun (yellow option) is the same as your helicopter’s machine gun, and is the weakest option in terms of power, but is the fastest option to recharge. With the cannon (green option), eight shots are fired once per second, which take out most small and medium enemy tanks and helicopters in about a shot or two. While the cannon is more powerful than the Vulcan, it takes longer to recharge. The rocket grenade (blue option) is the most powerful option in the game. It is a single shot that takes out nearly all enemies in the game, as well as doing blast radius damage; it’s particularly useful especially during boss battles, but the recharge time could seriously hinder your strategy.

00_under_defeat_hd_screenshot_01

Each weapon option attacks a certain number of times, and then needs to recharge. While the option bar is green, it will turn entirely red (as the option attacks). Then you must wait for the bar to fade to black and not fire your machine gun, so that the option bar will turn green again. Otherwise, if you fire before the bar turns green, it will reset back to black. You can use your chosen option as many times as you wish, but you must allow for the reload time if you want to use it again.

UDHD is an excellent shooter with that recognizable retro nod, that even comes complete with an art gallery and 39 achievements that certainly aren’t a royally impossible pain in the arse to unlock. My only complaint about the game though would be the number of continues, as regardless the difficulty setting that you have chosen to play on, you still have only 2 continues to use. UDHD will test your reflexes even on the ‘Easy’ setting, so perhaps a higher number of continues would’ve been nice.

But being able to choose the number of lives to have at your disposal (up to 5 lives) and having “Practice Mode” makes up for the limited continues. Also, there is no real difference between the 4 helicopters to choose from when you start the game, other than the different colors. With those minor gripes set aside though, UDHD is a great choice for rookie and veteran pilots alike who are yearning for the old school skies.

Sean Boley
Platform: XBLA / Games On Demand
Developer:  G. Revolution
Publisher: Rising Star Games
ESRB: E (Mild Fantasy Violence)
Price:  $19.99

Under Defeat HD: Deluxe Edition’s Official Website

Review Score
Graphicswww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Excellent battlefield visuals, especially with the 3D, HD touch.
Soundwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Awesome music and awesome explosions; what more could you want?
Gameplaywww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Simple dodge-and-shoot arcade action; love it.
Overallwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
It's definitely a very solid entry with a facelift and some extras.
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