I've had a request for this one, and it's a pretty top notch shooter
that has been overlooked for a while, so here's my take on Spriggan
for the PC Engine CD. I'm not exactly sure where this game fits
in with all its "brothers" in the series. It can be grouped with
Compile games, and has a similar style of play, yet it has also
been grouped with Nexzr Special and all those Japanese timed competition
games. It has a sequel on the Snes, but that has little to do with
this one, and a Spriggan Mark 2 on the PC Engine, which plays more
like Cybernator and not like a "pure" shootemup. So avoiding the
confusion dealing with placement, let's take a look at how the game
stands by itself.
has a very unique weapon system, which requires a twenty minute
explanation that the game provides for you if you let the demo screens
run. There are four different colored balls you can pick up: red,
blue, yellow, and green. You can hold three of them at a time, and
depending on which combination of the three you have, the weapon
system changes. My favorite is green, yellow, green, which produces
something like a wide-screen wave effect. A red, blue, red shoots
off a fire weapon in a triangular shape, and with blue in the mixture
there is a water shield type weapon. You can also opt to fire off
one of your orbs as a bomb, which comes in very handy but causes
you to lose the weapons system you're using. While this is very
innovative, my only complaint is that the actual weapons stink.
If you don't use the G/Y/G I mentioned before, the fire rate is
so slow compared to the enemies you're facing that you get wasted.
If the designers would have improved the weapons, this game could
have been much better.
picking up a silver orb gives you a one-hit shield, which is very
useful. This also destroys all enemies on screen. Spriggan offers
a manual speed up system, pretty good play control, huge bosses,
and nice backgrounds. Fans of Kingdom Grandprix should try out this
game, since the graphic style is very, VERY similar. Another feature
that I really liked is during a boss fight, orbs continue to drop
down towards the player, allowing a constant pattern of powering
up, bombing, and grabbing another powerup. So those long boss fights
actually supply you with ammunition, unlike R-Type where if you
die, there isn't a powerup in sight for the boss. Music is pretty
good, it keeps you occupied but doesn't really stand out as memorable.
The only down side I can find to Spriggan is that it is very fast
paced. This one is no stroll in the park. Challenge is about medium,
since you get lots of 1ups but use them frequently, and replay factor
is about medium also, since the game offers a time trial mode like
the Star Soldier series. Spriggan is worth a try for any and all
shooter fans, just don't get too excited about the sequels and spin-offs,
which are very disappointing.