The Game Boy Advance has been heralded as the return to a focus on gameplay rather than graphics. However, the GBA launch contained some games that didn't conform to this rule. While IRIDION 3D has some of the best graphics to grace a handheld, it is also one of the most flawed games out of the launch.
IRIDION 3D uses Mode 7 graphics to simulate a 3D environment. The game, however, still plays like a traditional shooter on an X- and Y- axis. The problem is that Iridion 3D doesn't really do much to improve upon older shooters. There are a few power ups here and there, but no smart bombs or anything beyond your regular weapons. The action is all very straightforward. The game can be very difficult to play at times, thanks to the darker screen of the GBA and the difficulty of depth perception when enemies are approaching. IRIDION 3D suffers greatly because it just isn't that much fun to play.
The biggest problem in the game is that you spend most of your time avoiding stuff rather than shooting at it. The game only tests how hot you are on the stick, not how accurate you are with your weapons. It's a shame because if a little more time had been spent on lighting up the background and upgrading the weapons, IRIDION 3D would be an awesome shooter.
The graphics are awesome in terms of surroundings. The very first level is a flight through a disposal tunnel and, while dark, the background is very detailed. Other levels include battles in the clouds and low-level flights over an ocean, both being very impressive graphically. The boss battles are also a sight to behold and really do show off some cool stuff about the GBA. This game looks like it's got full 3D polygons. Unfortunately, enemies tend to blend in with the darker areas of the level, and this significantly hurts gameplay.
The sound isn't too bad. There are some pretty cool guitar tunes that screamed "old school"; this definitely made it feel like a shooter of the old days. Still, I enjoyed the music and the sound effects. Shin'En did a good job here, although you'll need a pair of headphones to really bring out the best IRIDION 3D has to offer.IRIDION 3D is one of the more graphically impressive GBA launch titles. From the 3D menus to the in-game 3D environments, Iridion does drop jaws with its impressive graphics. Unfortunately, the rest of the game takes away from this sense of euphoria. A save feature (passwords annoy me) and more depth to the shooting engine are a must. There isn't enough innovation here to make it worth your time.
Platform: Game Boy Advance
USBR Rating: Everyone
Publisher: Mejesco Sales
Suggested Retail Price: $29.99
Fun Factor: D
Reviewer's Wild Card: C