It’s an arcade extravaganza as I run and gun my way through NG:DEV Team’s Gunlord X! But will they be able to bring the spectacle of the arcade experience home?!
Time Honored Traditions
Arcades – an extravaganza of gaming that has always been a curiosity for me. I mean the whole spectacle is like going to the theaters to see a movie, only it’s for video games! They’re typically flashy, kinda loud and chock full of cab after cab of bite sized experiences with big ambitions, played one token at a time. That is of course, unless you’re some sort of wizard that doesn’t respect the timeless tradition of wasting a whole roll of quarters on one game! Silly 1CC wizards.
Unfortunately, due to the accessibility and power of modern consoles and/or PCs, arcades and even traditional arcade-style games are becoming less prevalent these days. But the talented group of individuals over at NG:DEV Team, want to keep the arcade experience alive with their true to form and quintessentially NEO GEO inspired creations. And that includes their latest entry, Gunlord X!
Which is available right now on the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch!
Turrican or Turrican’t?
Invoking similarities to the Turrican series, Gunlord X is a side scrolling action platformer with a focus on running and gunning, and an overwhelming amount of explosions! In Gunlord X, you take control of Gordian Gaiden as he dons his Gunlord suit and shoots his way through an onslaught of enemies in search of the evil planet lord “The Master”. But taking down this genocidal tyrant is only second to finding his wife, Venessa. Who just so happened to go missing after the conclusion to NG:DEV Team’s previous shoot em up entry, Last Hope!
Before I get to anything else, I just want to say that Gunlord X absolutely exudes that arcade overindulgence! It has those punchy, bassey sound effects that shake you to your core after each explosion, lavishly detailed and impressively gigantic sprites, sprawling backgrounds, and satisfying action that makes you want to come back for more despite having spent your last credit. The devs even threw in a horizontally scrolling shoot em up stage, just so they could tick all of the boxes! Honestly, I never felt so compelled to drop the €500 for the MVS cartridge and build my own arcade cab! You’ll be happy to know though, that my better judgement kicked in, and I restrained myself! For now.
I think what I like most about Gunlord X, aside from it’s presentation, is how perfectly simple it is. There’s no frills to weigh you down gameplay-wise and apart from your ability to find various power ups that’ll change your shot patterns, which can include things like a spread shot or a barrage of bouncing green orbs, your only concern is pointing and shooting. Well, that and the occasional boss battle that’ll really test your skills at dodging incoming bullets! It’s just pure unadulterated fun! I even enjoy the focus on exploration in the game!
However, that’s where Gunlord X kind of falls apart as well. Not so much with the whole having to explore thing, but with the fact that some of the stages more than overstay their welcome! In my mind, a good arcade game should be something that you can easily play in quick spurts. Gunlord X on the other hand, requires a bit of a time commitment, with it pushing the 30 minute mark on some levels! I mean, it’s a minor gripe, and that time is variable between stages, but it definitely discourages you from revisiting a level to clean up any of the collectibles you missed!
That being said, I very much enjoyed my time with Gunlord X, and if you’re a fan of classic run and gunners, the sensory overload culture of arcades and getting that experience from the comfort of your home, then I highly recommend you give it a try! Who knows, maybe you’ll be inspired to check out the rest of NG:DEV Teams line up!