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Reviews (N-Z)

Ordyne (Japan)

988 (1-2 Players, Simultaneous)



Overview and game play

Ordyne is a Japanese horizontally scrolling shooter with bright cartoon style graphics. A player can participate alone or with an extra credit a friend can join in for simultaneous blasting. The game begins in round one with the players flying in what look like clockwork aero planes over a cloudy landscape. Pressing button one fires a blue bullet towards the advancing enemies. Pressing button 2 releases a bomb on ground based targets or anything below and slightly ahead of the players’ aircraft. Weapons can be upgraded in two ways. Firstly, if all enemies in an attack wave are destroyed, some numbers attached to balloons will appear. Collect the numbers to add to your collection of crystals. Shops with a “come in” sign appear in each level and to enter one the player must fly over it and push up on their controller. Crystals collected can then be used to purchase weapon upgrades or extra lives to add to the three the player starts with. A second way to upgrade weapons is to find a special orange robot that sometimes appears carrying a flag that reads “Dream Co. Ltd.”. Touch the robot by flying your aircraft over it and you will activate a wheel of fortune style mini game. A list of 8 prizes corresponding to a spinning wheel with 8 segments appears. A count down starts and then the player must fire a ball that lands on one of the segments. Whichever numbered segment the player hits will result in a prize of the same number on the list being awarded. Ordyne features boss characters at the end of each round with weak points to find and after dispatching the boss of round one a short bonus review screen appears to calculate any bonus points the player will be awarded. Little animations of the players appear on these screens, some of which are quite humorous such as the animation at the end of level two, which contains a lava landscape. A lava turtle boss must be defeated at the end of round 2 to proceed and the animation that follows shows the two players standing next to the defeated lava turtle fanning themselves because the turtle is so hot. The bonus screens also give the players a brief break before resuming the game and to check their progress.



The game continues in a similar way over a variety of landscapes: rocks and water in round 3, water in round four and a dark cave in round 5. The first five rounds of Ordyne present a weak challenge to experienced players but this may be due to Namco targeting a younger audience. Persisting with the game reveals a sterner challenge even for more experienced players. Some of the weapon upgrades deserve a special mention. There are upgrades that produce large colourful bullets with little faces on them to add humour to the game and they are consistent with the cartoon style of Ordyne to entertain younger players.



“Colourful” is a word that springs to mind when playing Ordyne. The title screen has rainbows of colours cycling in a circular pattern to entice young players and perhaps to show off the graphics technology powering the game. Some of the graphical effects are quite pleasing, such as the animation of the players aircraft. Moving the aircraft forward will cause a small flame to appear from the back and the players’ hair is swept backwards as the aircraft speeds forward. Move the aircraft back and the players’ hair flies forward temporarily covering his face. Round 5 has some graphical similarities with another horizontally scrolling shooter, R-Type, as 2 legged robots with round heads jump around and rocks must be blasted to proceed forward. The emphasis of Ordyne’s graphics definitely appears to be on humour and cartoon game play that is consistent throughout the game.




Being a cartoon style game, the music is light-hearted and not harsh or in the style of military style marches. Surprisingly, the tunes are not up beat but are mid-tempo melodies vaguely similar to music one might hear at a fairground. The music changes for Boss Characters to show they are different which is an aural technique used in many games, sometimes with great results. In the case of Ordyne even a change in music to signify a boss enemy does not generate much excitement but this is perhaps not a failing of the sound alone but the cumulative effect of easy game play providing a weak challenge to older players in the earlier levels. Spot sound effects in Ordyne are functional and average for 1988, when the game was released.



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