Ghost Blade HD by eastasiasoft is classic shoot-‘em-up game that was originally developed for the Sega Dreamcast way back in the day. It holds all of the gameplay elements that fans of the genre have come to love. With the digital revolution comes the endless supply of digital remasters of old games that will send the distinguished gamer on a nostalgic trip down memory lane.
Ghost Blade HD is a fun shoot-‘em-up that runs short, but hosts a high replay value. Any fan of this genre knows that length isn’t nearly as important as fun levels to play over and over again to boost the high score. There are five levels total, three difficulties, and three playable characters. These characters are a good representation of how male dominated the gaming industry was back then, but I digress. The characters are different enough that switching between them will change the players gameplay strategy. The levels are mostly the same. There are waves of enemy ships until the eventual boss battle at the end. Each boss is varied enough that you have to develop some kind of strategy for each one. Some enemy ships fly in from the bottom of the play area, and then fly up into position so you can shoot them. This feels like a feeble attempt of the developers to create a more 3D feel. Visually there’s not much difference besides the background color. Which is probably more indicative of the graphical limitations of the era, rather than a lack of artistic merit. With that being said, the high definition update of the ship models are impressive. The main difference in the difficulty settings would be easy mode automatically using any available bombs when hit instead of taking one of your lives.
Ghost Blade HD has a simple formula that has been seen before. Holding one button shoots, and holding another focuses the projectiles in a straight line. This game was made before the twin stick shooters came to fruition in the genre, so aiming isn’t nearly as important as dodging. The shooting isn’t exactly infinite either. Destroying the enemy ships turns them into stars that the player collects. Not collecting stars causes your ship to shoot at a slower rate. This becomes more important in cooperative play. It also shows its age by using only a third of the screen for the action. It’s nice not having the UI (User-Interface) covering up all of the action, but if you’re playing on a plasma TV be prepared for the screen burn. Two thirds of the screen is taken up by static pictures that can be changed from the pause menu. It is possible to change the screen orientation so if you want to turn your TV on it’s side then you’ll be treated to having the entire display reserved for the action.
As mentioned before Ghost Blade HD does boast couch co-op. This is a highlight for old school players looking to have something fun to play with a friend that isn’t half way across the country. It also boasts a training mode allowing the player to pick not only any stage to practice on, but also being able to jump directly into fighting the end boss of every level. With it’s high replayability, couch co-op, and solid gameplay Ghost Blade HD receives an 8 out of 10.