It’s hard to explain to those of you that weren’t there, but being a Dreamcast fan during the machine’s long period of undeath was a bizarre experience. You’d spend weeks or even months awaiting news of what was coming next for your long-discontinued console, while most of the world didn’t know or care. Typically, you’d end up with a shoot-’em-up ported from the arcade. In 2006, there was a shoot-’em-up that sent a wave of panic through the tiny tribe still flying the Sega flag: Under Defeat was to be the final game for the ultimate underdog console. Still, there was reason to be optimistic – the game’s developer G.Rev had previously delivered the excellent Border Down, and this looked just as good.
As it turned out, Under Defeat was a mighty fine and resolutely old-school shoot-’em-up that still holds up well over a decade on. Much of the enemy fire is directed straight at your helicopter and the odds are always overwhelming, as you face tanks, battleships and crazy prototype war machines. To make things slightly fairer, you’re given the ability to angle your helicopter’s shots and you can launch a drone with a sub-weapon at varying intervals. The game is utterly beautiful to look at, with gorgeous high-resolution textures and stunning explosion effects, including smoke which reacts to subsequent blasts.
The only shame is that it didn’t turn out to be the final Dreamcast game, because while the two that followed (Trigger Heart Exelica and Karous) were good, they didn’t quite live up to this.