Dark Void Zero is built around not one, but two stories.
One is a story of a jet pack wearing hero named Rusty trying to stop the invasion of Earth by aliens. The second is the fiction surrounding the game's creation, a false history that claims the game is a remake of a classic NES-era title for the Nintendo DSi.
The truth is more interesting. Capcom, it seems, decided to make a Game Boy-esque retro version of its third-person action shooter Dark Void, to help promote the game. Dark Void Zero features 8-bit graphics, a genuine retro soundtrack and maybe two hours of gameplay with three difficulty settings.
But is the 500-Nintendo Points DSi title a commercial or a game?
Classic Controls: Dark Void Zero is everything good about those classic Game Boy titles. The controls are almost painfully straightforward; you move your character around with the directional pad, jump with one button and shoot with the other. That's it. No super special moves or weapon select. No clicking on thumbsticks or tapping bumper buttons. After I got used to it, and it didn't take long, it reminded me how much fun it is to be able to focus on the gameplay and not worry about memorizing complex control diagrams.
Retro Look: Other Ocean Interactive nailed the look of a classic Game Boy title, but without the pixelation. The game's tiny graphics pop on the DSi's touch screen and the top screen is filled with an easy to see map and some scoring details.
Bit Bop By Bear: Battlestar Galactica composer Bear McCreary composed all of the music for Dark Void Zero using original 8-bit equipment, or so I was told. The soundtrack is a wonderful selection of upbeat original tunes the push the envelope for what you'd expect to play along a retro title.
Dark Void, the more expensive console title, had its moments and I enjoyed the flight and cover systems, but Dark Void Zero is hands-down the better overall gaming experience between the two. I had forgotten just how much I enjoy these simple, straightforward games. For some odd reason, Dark Void Zero reminds me of all of the time I spent playing through Duck Tales on the original Game Boy back when plot and graphics were a distant second to fun. And that's a very good thing.
Dark Void Zero was developed by Other Ocean Interactive and published by Capcom for the DSi on Jan. 18. Retails for 500 Nintendo Points ($5 USD). A copy of the game was purchased for reviewing purposes. Played through the game in medium and easy modes.
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