Under Defeat HD (360) Review

Insert Predator “choppa” reference here.

I’ve played my fair share of side/up scrolling shooters. Granted, I have never been very good at them, but I do enjoy them from time to time. The “bullet hell” genre is a bit of a different monster in the grand scheme of shoot ‘em ups, where maneuvering takes precedence over pinpoint shooting. Under Defeat HD is one of those games.

Players take control of a fighter helicopter during multiple missions shooting down other aircraft, mowing down tanks and artillery on the ground and even battleships on the seas. In an interesting game mechanic, players can not only move the helicopter up down left and right, they can also rotate it slightly to the left or right by moving while not firing. With a simple two button layout, one for firing and one for screen-clearing bombs, it is easy to pick up and play.

Tell me you don’t hear Creedence Clearwater Revival playing right now.

Platforms: 360. PS3
MSRP: $26.99
Price I’d pay: $15
Multiplayer: 2 player local co-op

Another unique mechanic is the “option” ability. If I were to stop firing my weapons for a short period of time, a bar would fill up. When full, I would summon a small helper bot that would fire my collected power-up I had picked up. These come in the form of a fast firing machine gun, powerful but slower cannon and slow but massive damaging rockets. It’s a nice twist on the familiar game play.

I found the rotating while not firing mechanic to be bit cumbersome at times, especially when I was forced to attack from an angle in certain boss fights, so I would end up having to stop firing and move the analog stick to rotate, but still move in that direction at the same time, putting me in a vulnerable position. Under Defeat is not easy either. In bullet hell fashion, one hit and my chopper would explode. Luckily, this can be combated with a great setting- players can choose to have the fire and rotation mapped to the right stick while the left stick is all about maneuvering. This makes the game much more user friendly because I didn’t have to stop firing to rotate and I could now rotate and move in the opposite direction. It’s the best way to play.

The game features numerous levels and two modes that are basically the same. Arcade mode feels more like the old school look, with the borders on the side taking up most of the screen while the New Order mode has a full wide screen HD re-master look, but both play and feel the same.
Players can test their skills with the online global leader boards as well as friend’s list leader boards for both arcade mode and new order mode.
Players looking for some co-op action can find it in the form of two player local co-op.

One thing I enjoy about Under Defeat is the soundtrack. It’s a mixture of rock and pop sounding music that feels like it came out of an early 1990’s action movie. It fits well and has some rather catchy tunes.

Laser light show.

While the game plays well in most aspects, there are a few problems with it. The frame rate comes to a crawl during explosions and heavy firefights. It can make the game play a bit difficult, especially in the heat of battle with bullets flying everywhere. While the game looks fine, it visually is nothing to write home about.

Now, the biggest problem I have with the game is not in the mechanics or the game play. It has to do with the price they are charging for Under Defeat. I understand this is a more obscure title, but for a shoot ‘em up that was originally on the Dreamcast, I don’t think it’s worth the $26.99 price tag. Still, that does take away from the decent game play that I genuinely had fun playing.

Under Defeat HD is a good game. It plays well even if the slow down can occur more times than I would have liked. The style and especially the soundtrack are well done, and it is a challenge to play for fans of the bullet hell genre. It all depends on the player. Fans of this genre will find a ton to love with Under Defeat HD. It really is a good shoot ‘em up game. Casual players will have to ask themselves if they are willing to pay $26.99 for this, but if you do; you’ll have a good time with it.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

  • Fun game play
  • Interesting mechanics
  • Great soundtrack
  • Frame rate issues at times
  • Somewhat steep price tag
Written by
Drew is the Community Manager here at ZTGD and his accent simply woos the ladies. His rage is only surpassed by the great one himself and no one should stand between him and his Twizzlers.