"Mars Matrix" is a scrolling action video game. It was first released for the Sega Dreamcast in 2001 by Capcom. In the United States, the game received a guidance rating of "E" which deemed it appropriate for all ages.
The story of the video game is sketchy at best and is wide open for interpretation. What I was able to gather from the various cut scenes and fragments of text was that the planet Mars was colonized by humans who are revolting against their extra terrestrial leaders. The player, assuming the role of a leader, aims to restore peace on the planet by dealing with the insurgents by force. This brings forth an immense, full scale war which presents itself as a vertical scrolling video game. Quick wit and a crafty navigation finger ensures safe travels through the setting, and also allows players to respond with their spaceship's firepower.
The player has access to two ships which are differentiated by colour. The red spaceship features a slow traveling "spread" shot which fires an assortment of particles towards the enemy at a reduced rate. The blue ship, however, features a single quick beam which travels in a linear direction. I have not found either ship to sport any particular advantage over the other as both are found useful on certain stages of play. Both ships include a special attack known as the "Mosquito" attack. When utilized, the player will reverse all oncoming shots from enemy fire back towards the enemy. It is based on a charge metre which requires replenishing over time, so sporadic use is something I found to be essential as the time it takes to restore is noticeably longer than that which it takes to deplete.
What I like about this video game is its experience system. Once destroyed, enemies will leave behind small gold objects which, if collected, award the player with experience points. In a similar vein to traditional role playing games, meeting experience point requirements award the player with a more powerful and devastating weapon with each subsequent "leveling". I haven't found the accumulation of experience points to be necessary for overall performance but boss characters may be dealt with in a speedier fashion if a player chooses to harvest these points for additional damage ratings.
The graphics are presented from a top down perspective which focuses on the centre of the game in play. The player's ship occupies the bottom portion of the screen, and enemies will flutter from the top towards it. The visuals are two dimensional in their design which is appropriate for this type of video game though didn't really strike me as being refined. I found several backgrounds featured a "muddy" blend of copper reds and browns which didn't appeal to me as a player. The soundtrack is an improvement over the graphics. A flurry of high tempo techno recordings accompany the player and are accented by the standard "beeping" of intergalactic phasers being fired at one another.
Arcade aficionados would likely find Mars Matrix to be a fun and energetic gameplay experience. It is something I enjoy personally and would happily recommend to prospective buyers, though felt a little disheartened by the lack of polished visuals when considering their basic appearance.