Friday, 25 June 2010


I never cease to be amazed by the quality and frequency of releases in the Indie gaming scene these days, there are so many excellent titles that just seem to pop up from out the blue and that someone, somewhere has been working tirelessly in their spare time (or fulltime!) to bring such games to the public. If there is such a thing as art in video games, no doubt it will be found somewhere in the heart of indie gaming.

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Hydorah is just such a title that really did take me by surprise in this fashion, it’s a title that on the surface looks a lot like a clone of a Gradius / Nemesis style shooter, but it doesn’t play anything like it. In fact apart from the inherent qualities of it being a shoot ‘em up, it doesn’t really particularly indentify with any previous shooting game I’ve played, instead it takes little pieces of inspiration from lots of different sources, mostly from games that where released back in the days when 2D shooters where at their prime.


Hydorah Official Trailer from Locomalito on Vimeo.

Is this good or bad? I believe it’s good, had it been released as a commercial title back in the 90’s, it would have been greeted with considerable praise, especially seeing as most of the shooters of the time where generally inspired by what had come before but with a few additions and refinements here or there, this title would have in fact looked very comfortable as a 1990’s commercial release.

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The crux of the story line so far is that your on mission to topple the evil god Hydorah and his (or her) followers, who are currently enslaving the Galaxy you live in and spreading their general malaise and evil to all good people. To counter this you’ve arrived with your trusty spaceship and set off to liberate the different worlds that stand in your path until you reach the mighty Hydorah and get a chance to blast him back to where ever he came from.

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Play is generally built around fighting off attacking enemy spaceships and gaining power ups when ever available, also as the game progresses there are more variations in power ups after you defeat level bosses. There’s a galaxy map that allows you pick different routes on your journey to Hydorah and three saves which can be used between levels, to help you progress through the game. Play itself is challenging but not too hard as to put you off, you generally have to learn your way through each level  (i.e.  get to know the levels traps and enemy waves) but this all becomes second nature after a period of play.

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Speed Issues

One of the small issues I came across whilst playing Hydorah was speed, which became very apparent on Windows Vista. For whatever reason, as soon as I started playing Hydorah on a Vista rig, I began to experience some serious slow down(Think Super R-Type for the SNES), Tests on Windows XP saw the game running at top speed, so it may be possible that Vista is the cause of the problem (either that or my nvidia video card has taken issue). To solve this problem, I managed to find the right settings under properties to cure it,  but even having to adjust settings or even think about it may put some people off. Hopefully the developer will look into this issue and remedy the problem with an update or patch, as the speed problem can almost render the game unplayable.

(Vista Speed Correction – Properties/Run in 640 x 480 mode/Disable Visual Themes/Disable Scaling on High DPI Settings.)

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Parting Thoughts

Putting speed issues aside, Hydorah is a brilliant game,It’s the kind of game you’d normally expect to find on Xbox Live or the PSN Network as low cost retro (indie) title, so the fact that it is free just makes it all the more appealing. If your looking for top quality shooter – stop looking and go download it now!!!

Rating: 95%

Hydorah website can be found here