Superdimension Iliad

Fuck Superdimension Iliad.  This game pisses me off, because it’s a really great idea.  You play a little Fez-looking thing that has to travel through all stages of gaming history, shooting at enemies Mega Man-style.  Apparently, you can even get weapons from beating bosses, just like in Mega Man.  Sounds great!  And it really does do a remarkable job of having graphics that invoke each era  you’re traveling through.  This should have been one of the best titles on Xbox Live Indie Games.  But it’s not, because the game’s difficulty reaches new levels of delusional expectations on players.

Behold, the only stage I could beat.

I only made it to the first branching path of the game.  Which is a nice way of saying that I beat the first level.  I then spent about an hour trying to get past either of the next stages, one of which is based on Atari graphics and the other Intellivision.  I really, really wanted to, because I wanted to see what would be next.  Again, the concept is fricken awesome.  But I couldn’t get past either of these stages.  There are too many enemies firing too many projectiles at you.  You have a health bar, but it fades quickly.  Enemy bullets move faster than you do, and you often don’t have enough space to avoid them, because if you jump over a bullet you’re probably going to come in direct contact with an enemy.  In the Atari stage, I was being bombarded on all sides by shots, plus a slow-moving dot that follows you around and is an instant-kill if it touches you.  The space you have to navigate this gauntlet is just a few character-lengths high.  If you stop moving, the dot will catch you.  Oh, and there’s also instant-kill landmines to jump over.  Does this sound fun to you?  It sounds like corporal punishment to me.

The Intellivision level (or is it Coleco?) is even worse.  After doing Mega Manish “hop on the disappearing blocks” for a few sections,  you end up in a meteor shower.  The meteors move faster than you do, plus there are these little instant-kill UFO thingies that move WAY faster than you.  They take more than one shot to kill, so by time you’ve put enough bullets into them, chances are they’re probably already celebrating over your corpse.  This is a game with difficulty so extreme that I seriously doubt anyone who play-tested it actually finished it.  Did the developer get too good at their own game and lose track of reality?

There’s more problems.  There’s a lives system in place and you only get three of them, upping the frustration factor to such a degree that NASA’s computers crashed trying to calculate it.  Check-points are too far apart.  And for some reason there’s a modern techno-soundtrack.  They nailed the graphics almost perfectly, and the sound effects are spot-on too, and then they ruined the illusion of it by sticking in a generic metal/techno soundtrack.  That would be like Eminem doing the soundtrack for Schindler’s List.

Boy, that stage inspired by Super Mario 3 sure looks fun. It’s too bad that the game is damn-near impossible and thus it’s unlikely most players will ever reach that far to appreciate it.

I’m so disappointed in Superdimension Iliad, because it really has a great idea.  It’s an idea I wanted to see through to the end.  If it had worked, it might have been one of the best games on the platform.  But it doesn’t work, and the only reason it doesn’t is because the developer wanted to make it as difficult as possible to enjoy his creation.  Imagine if the only way you could view the Sistine Chapel was to walk around on a floor covered in bear traps, because that’s what the developer did.  He murdered his own idea.  Bravo.

Superdimension Iliad was developed by We Love Hamsters Software

80 Microsoft Points couldn’t locate a trailer or the website for the developer in the making of this review. 

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The most read Xbox Live Indie Game critic in the world.

10 Responses to Superdimension Iliad

  1. Starglider says:

    Is that box art in any way related to the game?

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