Review: Dark Void Zero (DSiWare)

More 8-bit retro goodness

We've already seen Capcom enjoy success on WiiWare with their retro-infused Mega Man 9 release. Now it seems they're trying to show DSiWare the same retro love with Dark Void Zero. Of course now the question is, does the game live up to the lofty standards the company has already put in place with Mega Man 9?

Dark Void Zero features a very simple and intuitive gameplay system. Your goal in each level is to locate the various keycards needed to unlock doors, ultimately reaching the portal code needed to progress to the next area. Of course, you're going to have to defeat a boss first. While this might sound simple, you'll quickly find out just how tough it can be, but the game allows you to choose from three difficulties to better customise the game to your skill level.

As you run around each area, you'll come up against a host of enemies trying to stand in your way. You're armed with a standard weapon, but you can also acquire secondary weapons that feature more firepower. You'll find these quite useful in shooting through some of the walls that get in your way, not to mention some of the more powerful enemies.

You can also locate a jet pack that will allow you to fly and hover in the air. If it's collecting items you like, you can also pick up tech points and journal entries strung throughout each level as well. These can be a good incentive to go back and play the levels again in order to locate everything.

Once you've traversed each area, you'll have to match up against one of the game's foreboding bosses. If you thought the levels themselves were tough, wait until you get a load of the game's bosses.

The control scheme in Dark Void Zero is extremely basic and easy to pick up. The two-button setup works well in accurately portraying the good old NES control schemes from the 8-bit era. Couple the tight controls with some extremely well-designed areas and you have an action platformer that should challenge fans of all skill levels. Even with only three levels, there's so much challenge in each area that you'll still get your money's worth out of the game, and then some.

Visually, Dark Void Zero is exactly what you'd expect from a company shooting for an 8-bit NES-style visual presentation. If you didn't know better, you'd swear you were playing an old NES game, minus the heavy flickering of course. There's still enough detail in the visuals to be able to easily distinguish items you'll be searching for, and the enemies are all well-animated, probably even more so than would actually be possible on a standard NES console. Toss in some wildly vivid colour schemes and you have a very authentic 8-bit visual experience.

Obviously you're going to need a good set of 8-bit chip tunes to complement your visual styling and Dark Void Zero doesn't disappoint. Not only are there some absolutely amazing retro chip tunes to enjoy, but the sound effects the game makes use of are equally authentic as well. It's clear that Capcom put in some time and effort into making sure the audio presentation matched that of the visuals and it makes for a truly incredible audio-visual experience overall.


Sure the game might be a bit on the short side, but given the game's addictive gameplay and fairly high degree of difficulty, it's difficult to complain, especially considering the game will only set you back 500 Nintendo Points. If you're a fan of classic 8-bit action titles and don't mind a slightly elevated level of difficulty, this is definitely a game you'll want to add to your DSiWare collection. And if you're not a fan, this wildly enjoyable title might just make one out of you.

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