Friday, April 15, 2016

Wanna' see what Galak-Z: The Void looks like?

Galak-Z, if you don't know, is the best game to come out in 2015, and one of my all-time favorite things ever.  It's got some hot new content on the way!

I'm afraid I only have eight screens and none of them show action because I can't map Steam's capture button to my DualShock 4, and also because just surviving any of it at like 10-15 FPS on my crap PC was obviously nothing less than a miracle.  Anyway, check this out!

Aaaa-taaaak.... remember what I taught youuuuu...

The Void begins with a hot new cutscene that's just... wonderful, and I don't want to spoil it.  It's fun and silly and sets up The Void nicely as both a Galak-Z B-side and its purest expression.  Crash (who runs the junk shop and upgrades your ship) will tell you he's taken the liberty of applying some upgrades to  your ship - this is nice, because the Assault Muzzle gives you greater accuracy and faster shots, Double Lasers is actually huge, and doubles your damage output, and Auto Fire is a nice comfy upgrade from the default.

What you start with in The Void. 

I went in twice just as a test, and yes, it seems you'll start with the Assault Muzzle, Double Lasers and Auto Fire every run.  Crash's additions to the titular Galak-Z have it looking a bit beefier than you may remember.

You'll also start out with five health bars instead of the default four, and a precious layer of temporary shields over your default 2 layers (once your shields are reduced to zero, the third layer is gone forever), and 20 missiles instead of... what's the standard?  14?  I wanna' say 14 but I think it might be 16.  Anywho...

So what's the deal in The Void?  The deal is thus:

  • Travel through a new randomly-designed area.  
  • The space you're flying through and any dungeons you may discover therein to explore are constantly rotating around you 100% of the time.  
  • Your map is blurred and fuzzy anywhere that's not in a sphere immediately surrounding you (too much tachyon interference!) - this, combined with the rotation of the map/dungeon, makes it very easy to get turned around. 
  • You'll find your normal chests, upgrades and supply packs in dungeons, along with
  • Normal enemies. 
  • You will not find Crash's shop in the levels.  He only exists between levels, in The Void
  • There are no missions, it's just clear out the enemies, clear out the dungeon and move on. 
  • You'll fight tougher enemies the more levels you clear.
  • Said enemies will explode into technicolor scores when defeated, now, which adds to your score total (see: top-left of the screenshots). 
  • You don't have to clear out the enemies and dungeon, actually - you just have to make it to the exit point to open the next level - but things get harder each level, so you really want that scrap and those upgrades!
  • Also, the level is collapsing in on you as time goes on. 

Remember how in Galak-Z you could reach the edge of that map, and it would be clearly marked with red glowing laser hazard tape, and if you went into it you die?  In The Void, each level you play through is essentially the inside of a giant envelope within the orgy of space-time violence that is The Void - here, I took a screenshot of one end of said envelope.

If you touch that angry cloud of science fiction, that's it, you're done, run's over.  So you might as well get back to the warp point and move on to the next level!

This shows the Void closing in towards the end of one's time in a level.  I had cleared it out and was just poking around for anything I'd missed, but get this - the above screenshot is inside this level's dungeon.  Those pieces of gray gear you see poking out of the storm are the dungeon's walls and hallways, as they are overcome by the shrinking envelope.

Fortunately, the dungeon is designed to permit you a straight shot down its spine from wherever you are - the shrinking of the storm's eye doesn't appear to be able to box you in to a corner - and I was able to make it back to warp, and into the next level.

Then I decided I wanted to see what happens when you touch the walls of the storm, and discovered that yes, it kills you instantly.  But that's not the important part.  The important part is that once, for a radiant moment, I was ranked #3 in the world at Galak-Z

And at 10-15 frames per second, on a piece-of-crap PC I bought on clearance at Staples, ain't no small thing to yours truly.  Heck with only four scores on the board, that still ain't a small thing to me, but I've been told I have "problematic priorities."

The Void, even within the hobbling, crippled experience of my PC, looks like exactly the thing to suck me right back in to Galak-Z for another half-year.  An infinite game mode?  Yes please, Sir, thank you, may I have another?

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