Shred Nebula Review

Shred Nebula

Info:

Shred Nebula combines the best elements of arcade space-shooter action with free-roaming exploration and multiplayer excitement. Pilot the experimental R.I.P. Rocket through the galaxy in search of the Lost Expeditions … no ship has ever returned from the vastness of interstellar space! Will you be the first to discover the secrets of the gravitational region known as The Shred and make it home alive?

Players: 1-8
Released: 2008

Reviewed October 2007 by Keith Murray

Reputations sometimes have a habit of giving a title overburdened expectations. Shred Nebula, the début title from independent development studio Crunchtime Games, takes its place on the Live Arcade with an illustrious figure from the world of gaming at its helm, J. Goddard. Responsible for some of the most popular arcade titles of all time in the form of Alien Vs Predator and Street Fighter 2, amongst other glittering stars of our gaming past. So how does this début title shape up?

The vast majority of shooters on both XBLA & PSN are twin stick affairs, whereas Shred Nebula takes a different path. The key to the title is inertia and momentum, and marrying up the two to navigate around the varied locations the story offers. Control is spot on once some initial bedding in is overcome, and with the ability to turn on a dime and reverse (initiated using the left bumper) the player will find a highly manoeuvrable craft at their disposal.

Assuming the role of the captain of the RIP Rocket, the player must blast their way through 22 levels trying to discover the whereabouts of a space fleet that has disappeared. Levels are made up of the same basic elements: noxious gas clouds which will vaporise your ship quickly if you don’t employ the shield while traversing them (activated by pressing the right bumper), rudimentary structures and are populated with enemy craft looking to hunt you down. There is a rich variety of enemies to deal with, but they can be easily dispatched and hardly pose much of a threat overall.

As the player progresses, different secondary weapons are unlocked and selected by pressing on the d-pad. Also scattered throughout the levels are different coloured crystals that can be used to recharge secondary weapons once they run out of juice, but which also double up as health if theyre already at 100% charge.

Dialogue appears on screen in boxes which keeps the story ticking along. It’s a pity some other form of delivery couldn’t be found as they become slightly annoying after a while. Coupled with the fact that they take up the entire screen, it feels slightly out of sync with the general pace of the game.

Shred Nebula can be blasted through pretty quickly and doesn’t offer much in the way of replay value, including the fun, if limited Deathmatch Multiplayer mode. It feels like a marker being put down, hinting at what could flourish from this new development studio.