Not content to rest on the laurels of Enigmo 2, Brian Greenstone has been hard at work on Pangea Software's latest effort, Pangea Arcade. Following the current retro game trend, Pangea Arcade offers modern versions of arcade classics, hearkening back to a time when games were played with the sole objective of achieving the highest score rather than working toward a definitive end.
Firefall, the first offering in the package, takes its cues from Centipede. For those unfamiliar with the classic, gameplay mainly involves fending off a many-segmented foe as it works its way from the top of the screen to the bottom in a field littered with destructible objects. Updates to the venerable play mechanics include powerups that enable players to shoot sideways as well as up, a battlefield that scrolls up a notch every time a "centipede" is defeated, and bonus stages reminiscent of Galaga that involve shooting down fast-moving formations of enemies.
Next in the lineup is Warheads. An obvious homage to Missile Command, Warheads puts players in charge of protecting a series of ground structures through the use of 3 missile launchers placed on the left, right, and center areas of the screen. As enemy missiles rain from the sky, players must use the 3 launchers, which can be fired independently of each other and have limited ammunition, to blow the enemy missiles out of the sky. Adding a twist to the formula, players will actually have to defend 4 different sectors, which the game automatically swaps around as play progresses. The occasional cargo container can also be shot from the sky to replenish precious ammo.
Perhaps the most curious game in the lineup is Nucleus. At first glance, the comparison to Asteroids is dead on, with the easily-recognized lone ship in the middle of a field of wildly flying destructible asteroids mechanic presented at the outset. However, instead of merely shooting and dodging about, Nucleus also appears to borrow a page from Sinistar, and tasks players with the job of acquiring electrons, which are obtained from destroying enemies, and depositing them in a nucleus in order to create increasingly complex elements, starting with hydrogen and moving up the periodic table. As if this wasn't enough, creating a new element temporarily turns it into a black hole of sorts, sucking up and destroying anything within range. To make life a little easier, various powerups can be obtained, including a powerful laser and shields.
Though the gameplay is unabashedly old-school, the graphics are decidedly more modern. Drawn in 2D, each game is presented in rich graphics with plenty of little details. Gorgeous particle explosions greet each kill, smoke trails litter the skies in Warheads, and Firefall's stages become littered with various obstacles. On a special note, the floating camera motion in Warheads, which has to be seen to be appreciated, gives the gameplay area a decidedly spherical impression. The whole package includes support for 3D Anaglyph glasses as well, both in black/white and color. Pangea Arcade also supports widescreen modes and allows for windowed play.
Not to be left behind is the sound, which is offered in 3D for those with the right setups. Each game features its own soundtrack, from the jangly guitar of Firefall to the symphonic music in Nucleus. There's also a fair number of voice samples, with Warheads informing players of attacks in various sectors, and a sudden death in Firefall being heralded by a human scream that is somewhat reminiscent of Solarian II.
Those looking to get their old-school gaming on shouldn't have to wait much longer, as Pangea Arcade is currently slated for a release sometime this Fall. Look to IMG in the future for more information on this title, including further previews and a full review when the game sees release.