Capcom’s Dark Void Zero was built as a prequel to the Xbox 360/PS3 title Dark Void, but is actually much more fun. It’s built as an original Nintendo title, just like Capcom did with MegaMan 9 and MegaMan 10. I loved those games, as I love old games that are simple, tough and fun. Dark Void Zero is no different.
You begin the game with a title screen that tells you to blow on the cartridge to make it work, which gives you an idea that they’re not taking this game completely seriously. Which is great, because you’re Nikola Tesla’s buddy Rusty, out to fight the good fight with a jetpack. But be careful, the jetpack will disappear if you hit wavy lines, and you’ll have to find another one.
With this, and the multiple weapons that you can carry one at a time, the various enemy types (with and without jetpacks and flying abilities) and the single-screen ‘this-is-it’ map and respawning enemies, you really feel like you’ve taken a trip back 25 years. You have a limited number of lives, and when they’re gone, they’re gone. There are a number of checkpoints that you can touch so you’ll respawn there when you die, and the game will allow you to restart on the furthest level you’ve reached, but you won’t beat the game on your first sitting. It’s like an old NES game in that you need to replay it, memorize where enemies are and how to beat them, and try to better your score for a three-initial boast.
The charm continues in the level design which has you chasing keycards, and in the music and sound effects which are clearly MegaMan inspired. (Listen to the title screen and tell me you can’t hear it.) It is an NES game which you can download for your DSi or 3DS, it’s fantastic.
Now the ‘bad’ part. It’s an NES game. It doesn’t have the modern online leaderboards or anything like that. It does have 3 difficulty settings, but they don’t make tonnes of difference, it’s the damage you do and the damage your enemies do. It’ll still be tough on easy. Along with that, it’s a 500 point game, which works out to $5. A great value, if it wasn’t $2.99 on itunes for the same game. To me personally, it’s worth the extra $2 to have a d-pad and real buttons, as a game like this needs it. I do wish it was priced in line with the itunes version, but it’s a small complaint. Overall, it’s a throwback joy.
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