Side Arms Hyper Dyne : Special – PC Engine / TurboGrafx CD Review

Retro Resolution Retro Review

System: PC Engine CD (a.k.a TurboGrafx-Cd)
Developer: NEC Avenue / Capcom
Publisher: NEC
Release date: December 14, 1989 (Japan)

Side Arms Special - BC mode 2 - PC Engine CD

Three years after the coin-op debut of Side Arms, NEC released Hyper Dyne: Special on the awesome PC Engine CD. As per the original, the home incarnation opens with the words ‘The battle for survival has started!’ Never has a truer phrase been uttered.

Alongside the impressive, if cheesy, 80’s synth-pop red-book CD audio the game earns its ‘Special’ tag through the availability of the unique ‘Before Christ’ (BC) mode in which Side Arms masquerades as R-type, replete with mid-stage reset points, a chargeable beam canon, support weapons pods, and enhanced graphics.

In BC mode the weapon upgrade POW icons no longer switch type in response to incoming fire, instead they periodically cycle through the available options, whilst bobbing lazily around the playfield. Multiple user-selectable weapons are also eschewed, requiring careful consideration when approaching power-ups.

Both original and BC modes feature tight risk/reward gameplay, placing the upgrade you really, really need to survive for a further five seconds in the thick of the alien flak; succumb to temptation and death swiftly follows, ironically leaving you with less weaponry than before.

Manoeuvring your protagonist demands pixel-perfect precision, precision which is sadly unobtainable; The Mobilesuited Lieutenant Henry moves like he’s been knocking back Red Bull, resulting in awkward staccato movement (usually head-on into an alien projectile).

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