[gameinfo title=”Game Info” game_name=”” developers=”Konami” publishers=”Konami” platforms=”” genres=”” release_date=”November 1, 2011″]
The Otomedius series is a spin off of the classic bullet hell side scrolling shmup series, Gradius. Developed and Published by Konami, Otomedius Excellent is the sequel to the original arcade classic Otomedius and re-release Otomedius G on Xbox 360. Otomedius is meant to be a parody game that plays on the pun of the combination of the terms “Otome” (maiden) and Gradius. Otomedius Excellent features half naked anime versions of female characters from other Konami titles fighting aliens in some strange air scooter vehicle things. On paper Otomedius Excellent is everything a fan of shmups would want. Clone of classic gameplay from established series? Check. Busty sexy anime protagonists? Check. The slaughter of a massive army of invading alien creatures and crafts? Check. Is Otomedius Excellent the next great shmup from Japan or should it have been titled Otomedius Bogus?
The opening cut-scene for Otomedius Excellent lets the player know real quick that this is a Japanese game. The cut-scene screams Japanese anime cliches from big breasted screechy anime chicks to epileptic animations. If you have seen it in a parody of anime by western cartoons, then it probably shows up in the opener for Otomedius. It is clearly obvious that the game was meant to be a fan service to those familiar with the Konami franchises that spawned the characters. These types of fan services tend to suffer the same issues that occur in licensed games; gameplay suffers to make a quick buck. While there are exceptions to fan service and licensed games sucking, Otomedius is not one of them.
Otomedius Excellent contains seven playable women to choose from and once that choice is made they ride their space ships like bicycles through 8 uninspiring levels that contain female bosses with less clothing than the heroines. Riding half naked through the elements must be the explanation for the sluggish gameplay. It has to be hard to move around the screen agilely when your breasts are suffering the coldness of space or the burning temperatures of volcanoes. Ducking and dodging the bullet hell in Otomedius felt more like playing the board game of Operation than the more traditional fast paced flurry from this genre of game.
Each of the playable characters have different starting weapons that can be customized prior to starting a game. None of these weapons are particularly strong and fire slowly adding to the feel of moving through mud. As you play through the game multiple times, these weapons are upgraded and do get better but you are still stuck running through the 2 hour campaign multiple times for multiple characters before the game even becomes borderline enjoyable.
There are a couple different modes of play that include story, score attack, and multi-play. They are all essentially the same thing (no changes to level based on mode) except in multi-play you can play with 3 other players. Multi-play tends to just lead to confusion between friendly/enemy fire and the sound effects of more than one player is likely to drive anyone nuts that is not Japanese. Death appears to have no real consequence outside of resetting the score and losing power-ups in any of these modes.
Otomedius Excellent is graphically on par with any shooter that was released back during the Dreamcast and early PS2 eras. It has the same old generic anime look that seems to be recycled from every anime game from the past decade. Audio isn’t much better between the regurgitated Japanese pop and high pitched sound effects. One has to wonder if there is a redeeming quality for this game. If you find one, please let us know.
If you mute the game’s audio, turn on some music you dig, load a save with upgraded weapons, and get a little drunk you might have an enjoyable time. Otherwise there are better shumps out there to play.