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Posted on Mar 4th 2011 at 03:41:15 PM by (dsheinem)
Posted under Triggerheart Exelica, End Game, Dreamcast, Shmups, Classic Gaming

It has been some time since I last covered an end game on the blog, and when I did it was a Dreamcast shmup.  Here we go again...


As a 2007 release, Triggerheart Exelica was one of the last games that Sega itself released for the Dreamcast in Japan, where the system outlived its U.S. counterpart by almost five years (the last U.S. Release by Sega was NHL 2K2).  So how does this near-final final shmup stack up to the rest of the excellent Dreamcast shmup library?

As an end game it is notable for several reasons

Multiple release formats.   As was the case for several of the late Dreamcast releases, there was a Sega Direct limited edition version of the game which included a small art booklet, a phone card, a poster, and a soundtrack.  In addition to that version, there was another Limited Edition version which included the soundtrack, and a Standard Edition featuring just the game.  All of these releases came in a DVD-sized case, as was typical of these very late Dreamcast titles.  As you might expect, each of these releases continues to demand a premium on eBay, with the rare Sega Direct version usually fetching over $200.


The Sega Direct, Limited, and Standard releases of the game

It has a good gimmick.  Some of the best shmups have a gameplay gimmick  Ikaruga's color-based gameplay, Gaiares' TOZ, and Gradius' power up system are all classic examples.  Triggerheart's gimmick is the anchor shot, which allows you to grab enemies, use them as a shield, and spin around and throw them.  This adds an almost wrestling-esque feel to the game at points and gives it a ton of replay value as you can try to figure out new ways to string together chains or best address the rougher sections of the game.   


Its aesthetics elements aren't state of the art.  There are many earlier, better looking shmups on the Dreamcast.  Late system releases can be very hit and miss - sometimes they take advantage of all the development tricks learned on the games released previously and try to squeeze the most out of a system (e.g. Under Defeat for the Dreamcast), other times they are produced as budget titles and look cheap (e.g. the PS1's Shooter series of games).  Triggerheart Exelica falls somewhere in the middle: it looks and sounds fine, but it isn't anything special.  As it was Warashi's first (and only) outing on the Dreamcast, they may not have had much experience porting their arcade games to the hardware.  In any case, the game doesn't stand out as either a budget title or a carefully polished high point for the system.


All in all  Triggerheart Exelica is a fun game and a necessary addition to any shmup fans Dreamcast collection.  Its status as a late system release gives it more of a reputation than it probably deserves, but it is a great game nonetheless.


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Comments
 
Part of the appeal of this title is the kawaii characters.  At the time there were relatively few titles that could be considered cute-'em-ups.  Twinkle Star Sprites and Gunbird are the only ones that come to mind.  Nowadays, there are  bigger offerings.  Touhou Project, DeathSmiles, and Muchi Muchi Pork!, just to name a few.
 
@OatBob: Good point - I forgot to mention that this game helped to signal the recent shift to loli-centric shmups being a major subgenre. I guess if I liked that trend I'd give TE a bit more praise...but at least you are still in a ship in this one.
 
Oh great, yet another title for me to put on my want list.

If I didn't know any better, I'd swear that you, CrabMaster, and SingleBanana are conspiring to keep me in the poorhouse with all of your game recommendations... :p

I've been sold yet again!
 
@Zagnorch - If we can empty your wallet enough you just might be forced to sell parts of your collection for less than going rate in order to pay off some pushy debt collectors. Thats the thought that keeps me writing anyway.
 
@Crabmaster2000:  You aren't that strange, cloaked figure speaking into the ear of my house sellers trying to up the cost, are you?  I thought I recognized that shark fin poking up out of the hood!

@dsheinem:  Thanks for these articles!  I have some random 'end-of-life games' for my Dreamcast (including Last Hope Pink Bullets and Fast Striker 1.5 Special Edition, but I have yet to find a good price on this one.  First time I played it was on the Xbox Live Arcade release.  Didn't bite but I enjoyed the demo.

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