Sunday, February 7, 2021

Matter of Import 023: Orguss (SG-1000, 1984)


Orguss is a horizontally scrolling shooter licensed by Sega from the anime series Super Dimension Century Orguss, part of a series that included Macross and Southern Cross, but not set in the same universe. And unlike its prequel and sequel, it wasn't selected to be a component of the US mashup we called Robotech.

All three series are, in their own way, about mecha that can transform into fighter aircraft, and that forms the gimmick behind the game Orguss – in the game you can swap between robot and jet form with the press of a button. As a robot you move more slowly but can use rapid fire and target enemies that are closer to the ground, and as a jet you maneuver more quickly and have less of a surface area to worry about getting hit.

As a mechanic it works well enough; both forms have enough of a trade-off that you have reason to swap between them even if doing so leaves you defenseless for a moment.

Beyond that, though, Orguss is a pretty bland shooter. There are only three types of enemy, and only one stage to the game that repeats with increases in difficulty each iteration. The enemy sprites are of the now-familiar single-color SG-1000 style – something that looks like it'd suit the ZX spectrum rather than a console competing with the Nintendo Famicom.

Uninspiring as it is, I'm giving Orguss a D ranking. I practically had as much to say about the source material as the game itself.

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