Xyanide: Resurrection PS2 Review

With huge, big name, heavily hyped releases coming out almost every week in the run up the holiday season I have to say I find it reassuring for a game I’ve never heard of before to drop on my doorstep. Seriously, I have not seen one press release about the game, and at the time of writing no other reviews are online either. In truth, even after finding out there was an Xbox version of the shooter released last year I was still bemused as to what to expect as the first few screens of the game went by, and as the game continued to load.

However, as with most other shooters I realised quickly that Xyanide: Resurrection sets out its stall very early, with pretty much all of the game’s fighting system set out and explained over the course of the very first level. But in all actuality, the fighting system is not that complicated at all, with very little to confuse people that may be unfamiliar with the genre. In fact, for Xyanide you are pretty much given a basic combo system, along with a couple of upgradeable weapons, and then tasked with shooting down as many bad guys as possible in quasi-LylatWars style, with both Gradius and Rez like elements emanating from the game as you go. Actually, there are a fair few bits and pieces of many other games noticeable in Xyanide: Resurrection where you can lock onto up to three enemies at once, and drop bombs with one tap of the button to send out and tap again to explode it in the right place, and use your radar to keep an eye on all that is around you. However, don’t get too excited by the mention of those classics, as only small parts of those titles go into influencing the game, and at best Xyanide: Resurrection essentially comes across as a unpolished mix of the above. Don’t get downhearted though as any game that tries to channel all of that greatness can’t be that bad, can it?

Game progression is handled in the old pick the easy way or the hard way approach as you go, with a triangle – similar to the one seen in Outrun, letting you move up in difficulty or step down as you go. Personally, even after some considerable time with the game I have still not managed to get fully through the hard route, but found the easy route more or less a cakewalk. As a result I definitely think there is a challenge in this game for everyone, regardless of skill, or level of familiarity with the genre.

The way you upgrade weapons is also very familiar. When you kill one of the enemies they drop a item called Xyanide, which you can pick up, and then when you finish a level you can use these credits to upgrade your ship. For my game I ended up spending the credits from my first level on a magnet which aids in pulling all available Xyanide towards your ship, meaning you don’t have to go around collecting it yourself. Then I moved onto the shotgun attachment, picking up the others as I went along. Bosses are an element of the game that are very OTT, with some being just crazed which creation people should not be able to come up with when sober. Don’t believe me? Well, the first boss in the game is a coral filled asteroid that fires lasers from skulls dotted all over its surface, and if that is not weird enough then it just gets weirder as you go. Finally, yet another plus point that Xyanide: Resurrection has going for it is the inclusion of a very entertaining co-op mode to let you and a mate take on the game together.

As for presentation the game is more or less disappointing. Apart from the bosses and a few level specific enemies, almost every single one of the main fodder enemies look almost the identical. Also, even though the back of the box boasts that the game “uses technology never seen before on the PS2,” this is really not reflected by the quality of the levels as nothing truly stands out as being eye-catching or in any way impressive. Music on the other hand is much better with some interesting high tempo dance tunes. During my time with the game I ended up playing the very first level a good few times and thankfully even after multiple listens I still absolutely loved the song that accompanies the action on show. In fact I would be happy to listen to it outside the game if it were possible.

All in all, once you don’t go into the game with your hopes too high then Xyanide: Resurrection is a competent shooter with a decent control scheme and some respectable action on show, and it is certainly worth the budget range asking price it is currently on sale at. That said, it is no where near the quality of recent shooters, but regardless with very little title in the genre out there to appease fans at the moment you could do far worse than picking it up.

Good (but not great) old school fun

6 out of 10
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