Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider Evaluation | TechRaptor


Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider seems like a game from a distinct time. That is apparent on a floor stage with its presentation. It’s a retro-inspired motion platformer with a 16-bit artwork model that prioritizes precision and problem over narrative. Nevertheless it goes one step additional on the subject of its nostalgic pool of reference: invoking a mixture of 90s cyberpunk and pulpy ultraviolent tokusatsu. The result’s like discovering a extremely underrated videogame tie-in to a movie that does not exist.

Go forward, fireplace that gun, you will not less than die pondering you probably did one thing.

I might Purchase That For A Greenback

The story of Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider is convoluted however acquainted. It is set within the far future the place a totalitarian regime has risen up. They’re utilizing robots, in addition to mysterious cyborg tremendous warriors, to maintain the inhabitants scared and in line. You play as one in all these tremendous warriors, Moonrider, who awakens from a stasis chamber within the basement of a secret laboratory. Enraged by the oppression of the folks, he takes up a laser katana and proceeds to battle a one man battle towards the unhealthy guys.

Whereas that’s the fundamental define of the story of Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider, how it’s advised is disjointed at greatest. The primary batch of cutscenes opens with some Robocop-esque channel browsing, displaying snippets of the world outdoors of the degrees. These scenes flounder between acquainted vignettes of darkish satire – a cooking present giving recommendation on the best way to make your rations last more – and information reviews of a higher battle occurring within the margins. The scenes are additionally intercut with Moonrider piecing collectively his previous whereas giving lengthy speeches concerning the risks of fascism and the facility of the human spirit.

These parts do give Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider a tacky B-movie appeal, but it surely does not cover the truth that the story is stuffed with holes. I wasn’t being dismissive after I in contrast the game’s story to a licensed film tie-in. There are a number of factors all through the game the place characters depart, change sides, or are referenced for seemingly no motive. There is a subplot the place a gaggle of human resistance fighters begins attacking the corrupt leaders’ headquarters, which is resolved in two cutscenes. Moonrider seemingly figures out in all places he must go and has a dramatic revelation about his origins offscreen. This erratic narrative pacing stored making me think about the slower-paced character drama and build-up that will have occurred within the film the game is predicated on filling in these gaps.

A room with a large four-armed monster of metal and muscle from Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider
My internal 9-year-old is grinning ear to ear.

Transfer Appropriately, Do Not Die

Fortunately, Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider is extra concerned about being a automobile for high-speed motion than telling a cohesive story, which is the place it shines. The core gameplay takes quite a lot of hints from the Ninja Gaiden and Shinobi collection. You progress to the suitable, reduce by enemies, navigate platforming challenges, and battle a boss on the finish. To do all of this you may have a three-hit combo along with your laser sword, a wall soar, a drop kick assault, and a few particular assaults tied to a particular meter.

Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider retains every of its ranges fascinating with a ton of entertaining setpieces. These embody being pursued by a killer robotic, escaping a burning constructing, preventing waves of enemies on a bike, navigating laser traps whereas shifting by a moon base, and avoiding aerial bombardment whereas leaping throughout enemy fighter jets. All of those sequences are bolstered by a catchy techno soundtrack and artwork path that mixes Japanese sci-fi aesthetics, chunky mecha designs, and sprite animation full of bloody satisfying punch.

An image from a motorcycle level from Vengeful Guardian Moonrider
The outdated days when Mode 7 blew folks’s minds.

No Game Genie Required

However whereas Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider excels in presentation and spectacle, there are a number of points that hold the gameplay from hitting moments of pure zen. Moonrider’s wall soar is the largest offender because it feels barely off in responsiveness in comparison with fast and punchy assault animations. Ultimately, you get used to it, however it may well actually mess up the rhythm of blazing by a stage. Moreover, whereas the game does have a Mega Man-style stage choose display, there is not a lot incentive to play them in a sure order. Each single particular assault is equally efficient towards bosses: the largest hitters by far being the Darkish Portal and Photon Sprint. The closest factor to an optimum path is collectible armor chips scattered all through every stage, which offer bonuses like a double soar or therapeutic each time you kill an enemy.

Lastly, regardless of pulling references from notoriously tougher video games, Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider is not significantly unfair or arduous. Whereas sure boss battles might be exercised in “Nintendo Exhausting” frustration, the vast majority of every stage might be blazed by in a trance attributable to a number of trendy design touches. Therapeutic gadgets, additional lives, and particular assault power are given away generously. Falling down a pit is not an on the spot kill. Enemy assaults are all well-telegraphed with wind-up animations and dependable patterns. Lastly, there are checkpoints outdoors every boss’s battle area. Couple this with a mixture of sure armor chips and the game’s sense of problem adjustments from the stuff that raises your blood stress to a lightweight adrenaline rush.

This does not imply that Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider feels unhealthy to play. In reality, when you acknowledge that retro inspirations are extra concerning the look than the texture, it turns into a vastly satisfying delight. In the event you’re an motion platformer veteran, you’ll be able to simply clear the whole game in about two hours, give or take an additional hour when you hunt for all the armor chips. The lean runtime is aided by how no setpieces are repeated or padded out, which marks good design. Additionally, when you get pleasure from velocity runs or no-hit runs, there’s a rank and rating system so that you can compete with your pals.

A dialogue scene from Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider
Sufficient speak, have at you!

Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider | Remaining Verdict

In the event you ever wished to seize the texture of renting a cult traditional late 90s motion platformer for an thrilling afternoon, then I like to recommend Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider. It isn’t probably the most tightly designed throwback to the SNES/Genesis period on the market, however on the subject of embodying the model of that point, it’s a nostalgic rush that can’t be matched.

TechRaptor reviewed Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider on PC with a duplicate supplied by the writer. The game can be accessible on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Swap.

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