Siter Skain - Reflex

It took me a while to get to this game, as I've been playing everything EXCEPT the games that need to be reviewed. I finally popped this disc in tonight, and honestly I wasn't expecting much. I know that this is the sequel of sorts to Siter Skains previous release "Kamui", so I was expecting another Ray Force / Layer Section clone. Boy, was I wrong! This game is awesome! In the time between these two games it seems that team SS has learned a thing or two about programming AND game design. The first stage starts off impressively enough, but what really turned me on to this game was the level 1 boss fight, the transition to level two, and the effects used for the second level boss. This is NOT simply a clone of another game - Reflex stands well enough on its own with no comparisons coming to my mind. The mechanics of the game work well for me too. Unlike 99% of the STGs we all know and love, Reflex has no "bomb" button, no missiles to launch, and there doesn't appear to be any upgrade to your firepower. You start maxed out with a large focus laser that projects about 6 beams forward, and two smaller lasers branching out at about 45 degrees. The second button is your shield. You actually have quite a bit of shield energy to use, and you are recharged by not firing your weapon. While this would seemingly give you an unlimited shield, its not so simple as there are rarely moments in this game when you can just not fire for the 6-7 seconds it takes to fully charge (and yes, you can use partial charges to power your shield). This game is incredible, and it comes with my highest recommendation. Better than Kamui, better than some of the Touhou games, and in my opinion is bested only by the Crimzon Clover demo game. I LOVE this STG.