The latest game to enter the 360 live arcade is an old 'on-rails' shooter going by the name of Rez HD. If you haven't heard of Rez, that's not a problem, as the countless copies being sold on eBay for the Dreamcast or PS2 at any time are always marked '@@@@@LOOOK RARE@@@@@' or something like that. Well it's not rare anymore - it's available as a download onto the 360.
Not quite. What makes Rez so different is in it's delivery. The graphics are nothing to get excited about, although they fit the game perfectly. What Rez does so brilliantly is merge sound, graphics and feeling all in one package.
The music plays along with the game. You fire a shot, it is played into the music. The music pumps it's bass - your controller pulses with the music. Before you know it you are staring trance-like at the screen, watching, hearing and feeling the game.
The gameplay is fairly simple, you float through the level and you move a sight that you use to aim. If you hold the fire button in and your sight moves over a shootable target 1 of 8 lock-ons will appear allowing you to shoot eight targets or a number of targets multiple times, release the button and off they go. You also have smart bombs which are collected by shooting them. When you start the game your entity in the game is represented by a wireframe person, and throughout the levels you collect powerups that float by which eventually change your form to a more advanced state. In effect, this gives you an extra life as when you get hit you de-evolve back to a lower form. Each level is made up of around 10 sections, with the last section being the boss level. The boss is typically harder to finish off than the rest of the game, but not difficult really - it just takes longer to do. How much it throws at you depends on how much you have managed to shoot down during the level.
The original game had a 'vibration pack' that you could buy seperately, in Japan only I think. There are websites showing these vibro-packs being put to some rather naughty uses which I will not go into here! The pack would be attached to the player or the player's chair to give even more immersion into the game. The 360 doesn't need such an attachment - just plug in some more controllers and the game will quite happily vibrate them in time. Be careful not to over-do it, as fillings can come out!
There are many hidden modes and levels for when you have completed the first four, and an online scoreboard will keep you competitive if that's your beef. Sadly, only 200GS is on offer for all you gamescore whores out there, but I bet some of them are still tricky to get.
This game is definitely going to keep me playing.