-Also on Dreamcast
The long war against the Ver知ith is coming to an end. The scientists that head C.H.I.L.D.A. (Chief Interplanetary Life Destruction Association) have developed two humanoid weapons that will destroy the last of the Ver'mith's forces.
Because the scientists of C.H.I.L.D.A. are mostly lonely dirty old men, the Triggerhearts have the appearance of underage girls. The two Triggerhearts Exelica and Crueltear were sent into the war to battle the autonomous combat unit Ver知ith. But something went wrong.
The Ver知ith sent the two Triggerhearts to Earth using a sneaky teleportation gate. They were recovering from their war wounds when the teleportation gate re-opened and the rest of the Ver知ith forces arrived. They had actually departed at the same time as the two, but were lagged. Without any knowledge of how to get to their real home, the two got ready to battle the Ver知ith on their new home, Earth.
Triggerheart Exelica stars two possibly underage anime girls wearing robo-space suits. These girls are Triggerhearts, which are like super space police in this particular shooter universe. Their names are Exelica and Crueltear, although I have a feeling that the game is really about Exelica since the title is Triggerheart Exelica. Crueltear is getting the shaft with Exelica receiving all the credit in the title. Maybe she changed her name to Crueltear because she's been getting looked over her whole artificial life because Exelica always gets the credit. I sure would be angry about it. Anyways, Triggerheart Exelica looks like an average overhead shooter at first glance. It has plain backgrounds and mostly uninspired enemies. However, if you really want to be good at it, Triggerheart needs to be played much differently than other shooters.
What makes Triggerheart different from other overhead shooters is that each triggered chick has an anchor shot system. This anchor shot greatly alters the way you play the game. When fired, the anchor shot latches onto an enemy who is spun around the Triggerheart. It can then be used as a spinning weapon/shield or it can be launched into groups of other enemies. Launching the anchored enemy into others will give you more yellow points to collect, and you'll need as many of those as you can get if you want a chance of seeing the "true endings." To get these incredibly difficult to earn endings, you need a certain number of yellow points for Fanfir to show up at the end of stages one and three. Fanfir is the final boss of the game who mysteriously looks just like the two Triggerhearts. Why does she look like them? Is she the first Triggerheart that turned evil because of the scientists perversions. When she does show up she isn稚 too hard to defeat; earning enough little yellow points for her to show up is where the big challenge lies.
The anchor shot also acts as a lock-on when launched at larger enemies, ground targets, and bosses. Large flying foes can be captured, but it takes longer than the smaller cannon fodder foes. Once captured that large enemies act as a stronger spinning ram/shield. If you choose to destroy the enemy instead of waiting for the anchor to capture it, your shots will stream right at the targeted soft spot, destroying it in a manner of seconds. The lock-on and anchor shot are essential when facing down the bosses.
You can beat the game by just using the traditional shooting method of shooter by, you know, shooting, but there will be times that no matter how much your chosen Trigger-chick spews forth, the screen will still become blanketed with enemy fire from not being able to destroy enemies fast enough. The Triggerheart's guns can be powered-up only twice, which does not make them powerful enough against larger enemies. This makes it essential, again, to learn the anchor shot.
I have never played the original Dreamcast version, so it was nice to hear when the game was announced for Xbox Live Arcade. Plus, $10 is much more reasonable than $40+ that the import Dreamcast disc was/is going for used. The visuals are Dreamcast era, but have been spruced-up in HD. Everything looks nice in it's high definition glory and is very colorful. The sound effects are generally good except for the big explosions when defeating a boss, which are actually a bit rough on the ears. You have a choice between original music and remixed tunes, either of which is a fine accompaniment to the anchor shooter action.
Since it's an XBLA port the game has added achievements. If you want to earn some of the more difficult ones you値l need to master the anchor system because some of the achievements for Triggerheart Exelica are ridiculous. Now, I知 good at shooters, but these achievements are difficult for me to earn. Only the most hardcore of the hardcore shooter fans will earn these little treasures. A couple of them are beating the game without dying, while another is beating it on hard without using a single continue. I知 not exactly sure how you get the true ending for each character. From what I致e read online, it looks like you need to beat Fanfir on stages one and three, plus not die. I知 sure if I put enough practice into the game I値l eventually get them, but I致e already spent a lot of time with the game; how much more time do I really want to spend for a hundred more achievement points?
At least you don稚 have to get the achievements to enjoy the game. The game is pretty fun for a top down shooter and the anchor system gives it a unique style. If the game did not have the anchor system I certainly would not be rating this as highly. Those looking for something a bit different in their overhead shooters should check it out.