Ok, first up on the Takara Dynovisor is Missile Command 3D. Released in the fall of 1995, Missile Command 3D was a "2000"-esque update to the classic arcade game Missile Command which saw releases on Atari's 2600, 5200, 8-bit line and the Lynx. The premise is simple: protect your cities against an onslaught of enemy missiles. In the 80s, we all knew that this meant the Russians but in the 90s - with the Cold War thawing out - this update goes with "aliens and foreign countries."
Missile Command 3D was developed by Virtuality, the company that designed the Jaguar VR headset and its progeny. The update includes three game modes: Original, 3D and Virtual. 3D and Virtual modes were designed to work with the Jag VR headset and its IR headtracking features. Unfortunately, neither the SCUBA or Dynovisor arrived to market with that feature intact. I played both the 3D and Virtual modes for the purposes of this review.
3D Missile Command: If you haven't played it before, the "3D" game in Missile Command 3D takes the concept of the original game and puts it in a pseudo 3D setting. For those familiar with the "2000" games, this would be equivalent to their plus modes. You defend your six cities from polygonal missiles, alien ships and meteorites in a playfield that seems to stretch vertically 120 degrees. There are power-ups and smart bombs that come in handy as the Reds...er...um..."aliens"....rain death from above.
With the Dynovisor I definitely noticed a depth and sort of roundness to the playfield that I don't get playing on a standard tv. Instead of just moving the screen to view the highest incoming missiles, I had the sensation of rolling my head upwards as if looking to the sky. I can only imagine how that would have felt with actual head tracking. The sound in the headset is excellent even if the "3D" game sticks to the same track, wave after wave. The visuals were low res compared to a tv but with a decent amount of fiddling I got a relatively sharp picture. Once adjusted, there was an added depth to the mountains and missiles.
Virtual Missile Command: Virtual Missile Command is essentially the "2000" mode for this game. It ups the ante and takes the Missile Command concept into a full 3D environment. The cities are arrayed in a circle with your gun turrets around them. You switch guns using the shoulder buttons of the pro-controller. Instead of using missiles to mount your defense, you use lasers that shoot with pinpoint accuracy and can be upgraded throughout the level. There are also cruise missiles, best reserved for alien ships, and bosses and smart bombs that come in handy when there are too many enemies to handle.
The feeling of depth that I experienced in 3D mode was even more pronounced in Virtual mode. Because Virtual game mode plays in a 360 degree world with attacks coming from all directions, I really felt surrounded in a way that I simply couldn't playing on a tv. The visual effects are quite good with great use of shading on the polygons. Again, I can only imagine how cool this might have been with headtracking. The soundtrack for this mode varies from world to world and effects are a little more varied here so it made much better use of the headset's built in speakers.
Overall, I enjoyed playing Missile Command 3D with the Dynovisor. The sound is terrific and the visuals are passable with a lot of adjustment. I only played for about an hour and frankly, I'm not sure I could use it for much longer than that. Between the straps and the thin padding on the mask face, comfort is definitley an issue. Maybe I'll get used to it with further play. The headset did seem to add a different dimension to the game play, particularly in Virtual mode. The 360 playfield coupled with the lighting and shading effects on the environment and enemies really provided a sense of immersion. I will definitely try this one out again. I don't think that Missile Command 3D is any better with the Dynovisor than on a standard tv but it is different, and after 20 years of playing the game a little something different is welcomed.
Edited by atarilbc, 29 March 2016 - 09:40 AM.