Otomedius Gorgeous

Otomedius Gorgeous!

Otomedius Gorgeous!

Maiden voyage.

Otomedius Gorgeous! is essentially a game about penguins and cleavage. It doesn't show us any penguins endowed with boobs of their own, because that would be hideous, but still, I reckon these two elements probably constituted 60 per cent of Otomedius G's design document. The remaining 40 per cent is a Gradius-inspired love-in at the shmup ranch.

Otomedius began its curious existence in Japan's arcades in 2007, and a conversion of that coin-op forms roughly half of this Xbox 360 release. It's as perfect as 'arcade perfect' console ports get: no slowdown, no compromises, no silly 'editing'. It even benefits from a couple of additions - a choice of six jazzy borders to flank its 4:3 display, and a three-player (not two-, not four- but three-player) Versus Mission mode playable via either Live or the impractical-but-decadent System Link option.

Versus Mission alone should be reason for shmup-heads to look at Otomedius G and say "Mmm, wouldn't mind a bit of that!" It's unusual to find competitive play in this genre away from high-score tables or Senko No Ronde, yet the Versus Mission mode here provides direct, immediate competition with quick rewards. It's a simple trick, too: players simultaneously take on a sequence of bosses, including the likes of Rolling Core and BigCore Mk-II from Gradius II, for a period of ten minutes. Each player has infinite lives and literal tabs are kept to show how your rivals are doing. This continues until the timer hits zero, at which point the results screen appears to confirm who won, who finished 2nd and who finished 3rd/last.

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