Capcom has been leveraging its existing library of games on platforms
like the GBA for quite some time. Development of epic titles can often
stretch much more than one year. In fact, spending little over one year
is considered short for a game's development cycle. So it comes as no
surprise that publishers, while waiting for their main progenies to
hatch, have to publish some other titles to maintain positive cash flow.
For some, the solution is the repackaging of award-winning titles of
last year or the introduction of a value line. For others, like Capcom,
you can get the best of both worlds by packaging your previous winners
and transferring them to new platforms. Such is the idea behind
introducing Vulgus for the Pocket PC.
Vulgus is a no frills 2D shooter. The interface and emulation has been
expertly carried over. The general execution is similar to Microsoft's
sanctioned Pac-Man and Dig Dug conversions, as well as similar to other
Capcom games. In fact, Vulgus is grafted alongside other Capcom
conversions, like Ghost and Goblins, Commando and 1942, as evidenced by
the presence of a front-end to allow you to choose between these titles.
Moreover, upon purchase of a Pocket PC title, you actually get a
complimentary version of it on your PC. This probably goes towards
illustrating the similarities between the two platforms.
Unfortunately, despite the slick transfer of Vulgus on to the Pocket PC
screen, some glaring omissions are not remedied. Vulgus gets all the
audio-visuals correct but there is very little in the way of
improvement. In light of games like Turjah, the action in Vulgus seems
hackneyed and amateur, especially without the 1942 moniker. Firing
requires you to press your PDA keys repeatedly; one for each volley.
Thus, unless you use an external gamepad or handheld accessory, you'll
be, like me, worried about hammering that one key until it falls off.
It doesn't help that the innate rate of fire found in Vulgus is anything
This is rather disconcerting, considering Vulgus comes with some pretty
good fundamentals. It's one of the few games where turning off the PDA
mid-session doesn't cause the sound to prematurely drop out. Like other
Capcom reincarnations, amenities are provided for dynamic
loading/saving. And the options we have come to expect from arcade
emulations are provided in the PDA version. You can manipulate the
number of lives, set difficulty and configure bonus options. Mapping
keys is simple and the number of keys supported is extensive.
These features follow other Capcom games but unfortunately, I don't
think Vulgus was the best candidate for transference. In spite of this,
the price tag on this title is extremely attractive as it costs you
nothing except the time to download. But the actual gameplay you get
from Vulgus will be frustrating, as the rate of fire is anything but
amiable. In light of recent Pocket PC shooters, the game's visual
appeal is unfulfilling even though it may be faithful to the original
franchise. At a time when people are salivating in anticipation for
recreations of Resident Evil on the Gamecube, it seems logical to bring
some classics to the PDA platform. However, such enthusiastic fanfare
cannot be vouched for with respect to Vulgus. It appears to be a
complete miss in this second wind renaissance period that we find
[08/10] Program Size
[10/15] Learning Curve
[ N/A ] Multiplayer