Before we go deep into this review about Suguri – Perfect Edition, we’re going to remind you that this game was originally made in Japan by Doujin. That basically means, it’s developed by independent developers. This is not a game that’s had huge funding to back them up. This game was born to show their love and support towards the gaming and anime culture. And to be frank, it’s kind of refreshing for us. We were getting a bit tired of titles trying to deceive gamer’s taste by sugar-coating bad design with shiny visuals; not to mention senseless violence with massive advertisements just to market and sell. Suguri PE is no funky business, just a gaming taste of its own.
Suguri PE isn’t one game. It’s a collection of two completely different games which also includes an expansion pack, and two original soundtracks from the Suguri series. You’ll findeverything related to Suguri in this Perfect Edition. The first game that we’re going to introduce is the one that started it all: Suguri. It’s a side-scrolling shooter with anime-styled characters. It’s about a girl named “Suguri”, who was ‘made’ by humans to heal and save the Earth which was devastated by war. And as she was going about her job, she saw something falling from the skies. It was an outer-space being looking for a new place to live, and they found Earth. Though it starts as a typical “one heroine saves the Earth”, as the story progresses you’ll find that it becomes rather interesting.
When you start the game, it starts with a short intro to what this game is about. Unfortunately, after about three sentences in English it turns to Japanese, so unless you speak Japanese, you’ll have a hard time following the story. It’s no biggie and we’ll tell you why later, but we still wished for the 100% translation.
If you’re the type of gamer who doesn’t read the manual before starting the game, you won’t have too much of a problem here. The game controls and system isn’t too complicated. But if you really want to learn quickly about the game, we suggest you read it. In fact, you’ll find the storyline of this game in the manual as well. The controls of the game itself isn’t too hard, but little details like Hyper Gauge for special attacks or Dash move where you can avoid enemy fires while charging up the Hyper Gauge are the little details that might save your time.
Before you play any Suguri series games, we highly recommend you get a gamepad for your PC. It’s still doable with the keyboard, but gamepad just helps so much. The gamepads are relatively cheap and you can even use the gaming system controllers if you have the right drivers and peripherals to use them with your PC.
But having simple controls doesn’t necessarily mean it’s an easy game. Suguri takes many combinations of these ‘simple’ controls to get by. And as you make progress with Suguri, you’ll find yourself unlocking many weapons to choose from. Suguri can equip two weapons, and you can set them as Weapon A and Weapon B. The main difference betweeen A and B is that A can be used for normal attack as well as the Hyper attack; and B can only be used for normal attacks. For example, let’s say that you have a machine gun and a bazooka. You like the Hyper attack ability of the Bazooka, but you find that its normal attack speed is just too slow. Then you have the machine gun, which you’d like to use as the normal attack, but not for a Hyper attack. In this case, you would equip bazooka as Weapon A, and the machine gun as Weapon B. These little adjustments can be very important, because even though game levels can be a bit short and sometimes simple, good flying skills isn’t the only factor in beating the enemies and bosses. A good combinations of weapon equipment which complements the player’s skills will be the key to beating the levels. It almost feels like a puzzle, which is a plus for a shooter game.
The second game that’s included with this Perfect Edition is called “Acceleration of Suguri”. This is similar to the boss battles from Suguri, which is a 1 vs 1 fight. With AoS though, you have more room for the opponent, the weapons are fixed, and shields can be deployed without the need of certain weapons to enable them.
Though the characters and graphics are very much like Suguri, the gameplay and strategy changes into something totally new. And you can enjoy AoS with your friends; it supports up to two players for the battle. The battle can be a bit hard to get used to, but once everyone gets the basics, the battle can quickly become fast-paced chaos. Fun indeed.
The X-Edition is an expansion pack for Acceleration of Suguri, which adds characters’ dialogues to tell stories of their own between battles. Many times the stories are not too deep and fun, so if you appreciate the Suguri series, you will certainly love this expansion.
The graphics of Suguri are what you would expect from an independently developed game. Well, we might have seen better, but these developers are more fans of anime culture, not professional programmers, so it’s very understandable. The design is original, and we liked the clever ideas here and there. The background is actually in 3D, and it changes dynamically as Suguri clears the sky and suddenly drops under the ocean. We also liked the “danger” caution system, which tells the player which direction the enemies are coming from. The audio is surprisingly well mixed and mastered. We couldn’t spot any sound that stood out from the rest of us with miscalculated loudness, which is pretty common with low-budget games. The music is mostly techno and trance, so you might hate it or love it though it’s nothing hardcore and fairly easy listening.
The only drawback that we found was the fixed video resolution —640 by 480— so if you have a large widescreen LCD monitor, you might see it stretched with blurriness. But the game supports windowed mode, so no big problem there. And the low minimum requirement means you can probably run it on any PC that supports DirectX 8 so I think it’ll be no problem for laptop gamers as well as the netbook gamers.
For all that, Suguri PE scale is probably not going to impress you, but it might give you the special satisfaction that you can’t get anywhere else. It’s like not listening to major radio stations for days and jumping into the underground music scene; it may not be flashy, it may not be an epic experience, but somehow it gives you the refreshment that you never thought you wanted. We have seen far worse titles than this with higher budget studios, dull conceptual world and poorly written manuals. And two different games with different styles, plus one additional expansion pack with original soundtracks for around $20 is not a bad deal either.