I had trouble thinking of a game this week, mostly because instead of playing any old games this week, I clocked in about... 30 hours of IIDX (Google it, YouTube it, whatever. It's FUN, but also too new for me to use as a game of the week.) Do you know what it is now? Good. So I was in a techno-y, trance kind of mood this week, so I've decided to highlight Rez by Tetsuya Mizuguchi. Rez was originally released on the Dreamcast. It's the strange combination between arcade shooter and music game. The entire game is made up of vector graphics (Again, if you don't know what I'm talking about, Wikipedia can also be your friend.) and it looks freaking awesome. Rez doesn't have much of a story, but none of my favorite classic games do, for that matter. Apparently, there's some big computer virus that... I don't know... Threatens to make everyone stop using PC's and ruin the world of computers as we know it or something... It's REALLY not important at all. 5 levels later you find out that the virus just wants to be loved, and I'm pretty sure there's some innuendo for sex in there somewhere.
Anyway, the actual gameplay in this is nothing short of an experience that I truly believe everyone needs to, well, experience. It moves like a typical rail-shooter, you know, move your camera around and shoot, that simple. However, you can lock on to up to 8 viruses and shoot them. Every level starts in an empty, black abyss with a bass drum quietly pulsing in the background. A few viruses fly by, and make for easy combos, and then some tiny box flies by. Shoot that box 8 times. The level will then start to develop. Nothing too much, maybe some cubes will appear in the environment, and a synthesizer will start humming something. You'll start to see more complex patterns of enemies. And you keep going on with this. Enemies fly by, shoot them. Box flies by, shoot it a lot. The level starts to become more detailed until you see vectorized architecture everywhere, and the background music transforms into an absorbing, thumping trance track. This game just sucks you in.
Of course, what would any rail shooter be without things shooting back at you? Most of the viruses do, and since you're not invincible, it will do damage. If you get hit, you level down. You'll go from an almost human looking thing to a less looking human thing to a less looking human thing etc. to a sphere, and then you die. But there is hope! You can level up, too. Viruses drop powerups, and if you collect enough of them, you can level up back to your human form, until your human-type thing reaches a state of enlightenment and becomes a pulsing amoeba of trancely awesome.
That's it really. The game is stupid simple. You don't play Rez for the challenge, you play it for the experience. Interesting note of trivia. When Rez was released for the PS2 in Japan, it came with a USB device called a Trance Vibrator. It was an oval-y shaped piece of plastic that, as the name suggests, vibrated. It had stronger vibrations than the DualShock2 did, and it was designed so it could be held on to, put in your pocket, or my favorite (In terms of where this trivia is going!), sat on. Yes, they advertised that you could sit on it. So, once you had your Trance Vibrator wherever you wanted it, it would pulse along to the music, pulling you into the game even more. However, vibration feels good, and you don't think I would have said Vibrator that many times just because it tickles my lips to say it, do you? Yes, as you would have expected, there were several reports of Trance Vibrators being used as... Well... You know... OTHER vibrators.
Rez is available on the Dreamcast and the PS2. In 2008, it was re-released on XBLA as Rez HD, with super shiny awesome new HD graphics! It still remains my favorite and most played Live Arcade game to this day (That's right SoulCalibur, maybe you should have given your XBLA port a better widescreen, instead of a Windows 3.1 wallpaper border!), and I HIGHLY reccomend, no, DEMAND that you stay on your couch and make the best 10 dollar purchase you can ever make, or at least just get the demo. You have no excuses anymore as to why you can't play this game.
This video is from Rez HD. Video by cktg