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Cheryl Gress
23 September 2018
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Thank you Smithsonian Channel for sending us a screener to watch!The Secrets TV series is in its fifth season and since we don’t watch much television around here, this is the first time I’ve watched an episode from it. This season premiere caught my attention, as I love watching archaeology reinsta...
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Game Info:

Steel Empire
Developed By: Mebius
Published By: Teyon
Release Date: July 31, 2014 (3DS), August 12, 2005 (GBA), 1992 (Sega Genesis)
Available On: 3DS
Genre: Arcade Shoot 'em up
Number of Players: 1
ESRB: E for Mild Fantasy Violence
MSRP: $29.99

Thank you Teyon for sending us Steel Empire for review!

Steel Empire is a side scrolling shoot 'em up in the vein of Gradius or R-Type, set in a steampunk universe.  Thankfully, it's not as excruciatingly difficult as those entries – though if you are a veteran of this genre, you may find it too easy.  I was able to get to the last level without having to continue on my first playthrough on normal difficulty.  Others are unlocked once you beat the game for the first time.  This game is the second remake of the classic Sega Genesis title of the same name, with the first remake being done for Game Boy Advance.

My largest complaint is that the continue system seems broken.  Once I got to the last level and gave it my best shot, I died at what I believe is the last boss, and then went on to continue.  Instead of getting a second chance at clearing the level, it just continued and immediately gave me the stage clear screen – as though I had just skipped the last level.  No game should ever allow you to do that.  Then I saw the credits.  I don't know if there is story or anything that I missed, but I didn't get the second chance I was looking for.  I did get credit for completing the game, as the next difficulty level was unlocked.  I was able to reproduce this bug when another family member tried to continue at a very similar spot on the last level also.  I don't know how this got past QA...

Steel Empire
Highlights:

Strong Points: Fun, polished shoot'em up gameplay; nice graphics and 3D effects; reasonable difficulty
Weak Points: Music can get a little repetitive at times; game breaking bugs; price
Moral Warnings: Shooting other ships out of the sky; d*mned used as part of a location name

Other than this game-breaking bug, it is a pretty fun shoot'em up.  You can choose between two different ships: an airplane that is faster, or the zeppelin that is tougher.  We stuck with the zeppelin for the most part.  You can shoot either in front of you or behind, depending on which button you press.  This can be handy, and is necessary for certain levels which can change direction on you.  There are also bombs which can clear the screen and do substantial damage to bosses.

During a level, there are little power up balls you can collect.  Some of them give you nice orbs next to your ship, which are really handy.  There are also power ups, which increase the damage on your guns.  As you collect more of them, your ship gains levels, though it's not entirely obvious what levels actually give you.  The only thing I noticed was that your ship drops additional missiles as you continue to gain levels.  This is definitely handy, but I'm not sure what else it does.  You can also collect additional points and even the rare bomb or extra life.

Steel Empire
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 78%
Gameplay - 14/20
Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 9/10
Stability - 2/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 92%
Violence - 8/10
Language - 8/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

If they patch out the game breaking continue bug mentioned above, the game itself is pretty good.  The music is appropriate, through some levels have the loops a bit too short.  The graphics are pretty decent; it looks like mostly sprites, with some nice looking 3D explosions.  The 3D (depth) layering is a nice touch also, as you can see what is still in play and what isn't.

But one other major issue is the price.  For better and for worse, we are past the era where developers can charge full game prices for what is essentially an hour long gameplay experience.  That is what has happened here.  Yes, there is replay value, and what is there is good, but $29.99 good this is not.  In this modern era of downloadable titles (this game does not have a retail release), asking this much for the game simply doesn't make sense.  However, if they fix the continue bug mentioned above, I believe it is worth picking up on a sale; it is a fun game to be sure.

Bible Verse

  • Verse of the Day - Hebrews 10:35-36

    Do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.

    ...

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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