Thanks to West Coast Software for the review code
Title: D/Generation: The Original
System: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Release Date: 06/07/2018
In this port of a classic Commodore Amiga adventure game, you take control of a Courier sent out to deliver a package to an industrial building known only as Genoq. When you arrive there, you quickly begin to realize that the building is under siege and strange things are unfolding, and that the mysterious package you must deliver is the key to stopping it all!
Being an Amiga game from the early 90s, it sure looks and sounds the part, with standard 16 bit graphics and not much in terms of music at all, preferring to go with atmospheric sounds, mainly an ominous buzzing sound effect that loops as you explore the building, along with the sounds of your footsteps and your weapon. Sometimes when you find a lone computer during your search of the building, there will be a fully detailed image on screen, done in the same style that the intro cutscene shows off, but outside of this the game itself pretty much has nothing when it comes to an actual UI, either old or new. There’s no title screen until after the intro cutscene plays, and it takes you right into the action right away when you press any button.
As a matter of fact, there’s practically nothing when it comes to any sort of unique features exclusive to this re-release, not even so much as a set of options for the display. This release is basically the Commodore Amiga ROM in the most basic wrapper out there, practically unaltered with the exception of a basic looking menu to provide saving and loading features. Compared to pretty much any other retro rerelease on the Switch eShop, this is easily the most barebones.
Being a port of an Amiga game, the controls are incredibly simple. You move with the left stick or d-buttons to guide your character in eight directions, all as you explore the facility in an isometric perspective. You’re also able to do a few other things as you explore, from being able to examine things by using the X button, to bringing up an item menu with the R Button. Most importantly, the A button allows you to fire a laser gun that you can find in the fourth room of the game, which is required to kill the strange enemies that bounce around in the building along with being used to activate arrow switches from afar. (although you can also activate them just by running against them)
Each room acts like a mini-puzzle, a standard fare for an adventure game. Either figure out how to clear an obstacle by finding an item to clear said obstacle, or just carefully navigate around the hazards if they’re indestructible. Sometimes a room will also have a hostage sitting around, and they’ll instinctively follow you if you approach them, so if you want to save them, you’ll need to prepare the room first so they don’t get killed by the hazards. Clear enough rooms, and you’ll find your way to the next floor, where you can save your progress and continue later.
For the most part, the game is a case of trial and error, but D/Generation also uses a lives system, so you need to refrain from being totally careless. While you can reload a room if you truly get stuck by using the save menu, dying too many times will lead to a game over and thus require that you head back to the last floor you reached by loading. It’s not too difficult in terms of navigating the first few floors, but the game becomes absolutely evil later on, and even moreso if you want to rescue every single hostage, since some of them will just flat out do some things or get stuck near a wall and thus be open to enemy attacks. Considering how some hostages are very important and give you crucial information, this is really something to keep in mind as you progress through the game.
In conclusion, D/Generation is a pretty interesting adventure game, with a strange sense of sound design, but an interesting story and some clever puzzles to solve. However, this release could have been a lot better, since as it stands the game is basically completely unaltered with no new features or anything interesting to speak of, things that may have helped this release stand out such as developer commentary, original art sketches and designs, scans of the original game box and manual, among other things. While there is also a remake on the Switch eShop that uses 3D models for the same pricetag, it honestly looks pretty hideous, so I’d actually recommend that you’d pick this one solely based off looks alone, but that also means dealing with a barebones, $15 port of a game. A game that’s still quite fun to play once you get past that initial hurdle of frustration, but still a rerelease that pales compares to the offerings devised by other companies at lower and similar prices such as the Arcade Archives and Johnny Turbo Arcade lines, along with the Mega Man Legacy Collection. By all means if these games are appealing to you, give this one a go, but I strongly recommend that you wait for a sale in order to do so.
I give a D/Generation: The Original a 6 out of 10.