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Genocide - X68000 (1989), PCE-CD (1992, version covered), FM Towns (1993)

by Apachacha, additions by John Szczepaniak - June 21, 2012

PC Engine CD Cover

Genocide is certainly a good looking game, the original X68000 release as well as the PC Engine CD port and later FM Towns port. The sprites are large, distinct and well drawn. Your robot meanwhile looks totally badass and like something out of an anime movie, especially since his main weapon is a lightsaber. The stage backgrounds are also all varied and well drawn, with some decent parallax scrolling in places, and there's a reasonable number of unique enemies and bosses. The music is also awesome, with that noticeable 1980s kind of feel.

And yet it's still absolutely horrible. There are many reasons for this, but these two flaws catalyse to form something extraordinarily terrible:

(1) Your attacks never stop or slow down an enemy from advancing. Ever.
(2) You have no window of invincibility after getting hit, and you only get knocked back slightly.

You can see where this leads, can't you? Any enemy which requires more than a single strike of your weapon, which is pretty much all of them, is going to touch and therefore damage you. Oh, and your sword's range is extremely limited, so limited in fact that you're forced to take damage when attacking some large bosses. Since there's no window of invincibility (or perhaps it's just ludicrously short), if you get knocked backwards into another enemy you continue to take damage and are then knocked in the opposite direction. This sometimes leads to a pinball-like animation-lockout where you lose almost your entire health bar. It's especially bad since several stages feature tiny, horribly-fast little bouncing jetpack things, which drop from above based on your position, and none of which die easily. This makes three sections of the game almost impossible, because these guys will hit you, and you won't have a chance to hit back without five bumping into you at once. There are health upgrades, but they are as rare as the Holy Grail.

To those who argue that one should just dodge enemies, every level has a gate at the end which only opens after every single enemy in the level is dead. Even though the gate isn't technically an enemy it will also damage you if touched, which is pretty hilarious if you're trapped between it and an enemy. Actually, even calling them levels is a misnomer, since there's no actual structure to them. Every level, except one, is nothing more than a slow walk from left to right; simply an enemy corridor where the enemies are bullet sponges and you don't have a gun. The one exception is a stage which tries to mimic the mothership level from R-Type, except as you can imagine: you're walking instead of flying and flailing a tiny sword instead of shooting. It's representative of the entire game really, one long string of bad ideas.

To compensate for your short attack range, unstoppable enemies and lack of damage recovery window, there is a somersault move - which is mandatory if you have any desire of completing the game. Apart from that all you can do is attack, jump, and jump attack. Later on you receive an Option weapon similar to R-Type, which you can charge up, but taking damage resets it, making it mostly useless. You'll be constantly keeping an eye on your dwindling life, hoping that you can just somehow make it to the next level, since you can then die and restart with full health. There's unlimited continues, though it doesn't actually make the game even remotely more manageable.

Some things in Genocide are also just ridiculous. For example the tiny blonde kung-fu man who grunts as he performs a flying kick, and who can damage a towering mecha yet takes around 100 hits with a sword to topple. The fact he's one-quarter the size of your robot also makes him nearly impossible to hit. Even while crouching your sword simply doesn't reach, so the best option is to jump around attacking and hope he jumps into your weapon. If you actually manage later on to beat the final boss, consider yourself blessed with patience and stoicism - it took me over two hours to beat him, in a single attempt without cheating! Ironically, if you exploit the Option weapon there's another boss you can defeat without ever getting touched, highlighting how unbalanced Genocide is.

So much about Genocide implies a lack of ability, from concept and design through to programming and play-testing, with only graphics and music being noteworthy. Which is a shame, especially since the sequel (and its many ports) managed to improve on everything to the point where it was genuinely quite excellent. In fairness, the PCE-CD release is also probably the worst of the three.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Publisher:

  • Brain Gray

Genre:

Themes:


Genocide (PC Engine CD)

Genocide (PC Engine CD)

Genocide (PC Engine CD)

Genocide (PC Engine CD)

Genocide (PC Engine CD)



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