Those naughty aliens! At least this time they had the sense not to try and invade the planet Earth. They are just intent on wrecking the moon instead rather annoyingly! As a solo starfighter pilot it is your job to put an end to this intergalactic mischief in this horizontally scrolling shoot-em-up.
The TurboGrafx-16 isn’t short of decent shoot-em-up games. Virtual Console gamers have been gifted the excellent R-Type, Soldier Blade and Super Star Soldier already, but there are just as many average blasters on the machine as well. Unfortunately, Dead Moon is one such game.
Graphically it’s not a patch on the aforementioned classics, but features some nice, if unspectacular, visuals. The parallax scrolling showcased on some of the levels is pretty neat and the sprites themselves are passable. Sadly there’s nothing here that will really cause your jaw to drop. The same can be said for the sound, the music is rather flat and the spot effects are decidedly unimpressive.
Taking these points into account, Dead Moon could be forgiven if the gameplay was up to scratch. Sadly, this isn’t the case. Dead Moon is insultingly undemanding and is far too short. The correct combination of weapon power-ups will ensure nothing gets even remotely close to your craft and unlimited continues only serve to make the game even easier to finish.
The only vaguely innovative feature to be found in this game is the ability for your ship to face in the direction of the enemy during boss fights. Boss fights are the usual pattern based affairs so once you learn what movements your oversized adversary will make it is usually not too difficult to exploit this to ensure your victory.
Considering how few games were released for the TurboGrafx-16 in the USA compared to its contemporaries, we’re bound to see some below-par releases sooner or later. It might have been a better idea for Hudson to have put Dead Moon on the back burner for the time being at least.
If you’re a shoot-em-up fan you will feel affronted by this insipid and characterless title, and if you detest shooters then there is certainly nothing here that will change your perception. Give this one a miss.