By Capcom/Takumi Sega Dreamcast & Arcade 2000
Reviewed by Jon Chang


Take out your wrath on those evil colonists! Choose one of two shiny ships in your choice of Retribution Red or Laser-Death Blue..

First level - entering Mars' atmosphere through a flotilla of enemy battlecraft.. This is very nicely done and reminds me of Soukyugurentai a bit.

Enemy 'Control Tower' thing. Blow this up to fill the screen with loads of little bonus 'Rubik's Cubes'

I think this is the Stage 3 boss - nasty bugger too. Reminicent of the spider boss from
Axelay he is.

Erk.. Now he's mad. Run.. Actually this shot is more reflective of what you'll see onscreen for most of the time in Mars Matrix. Lots and lots of pink and blue bullets. Help..
Colonists on Mars have declared their independence. Earth sends a military expeditionary force in response. Apparently the colonists have developed the ultimate projectile screen system which would make the bad guys in Dodonpachi wet themselves with envy..

When I first played this game at the arcades I was blowing $10 every Friday night and making little headway. In fact I thought it was a miracle when I breached level 3 for the first time!!! When it came to the Dreamcast I stopped blowing all my money at the arcades and devoted myself to this game and it's rather unique approach to twitch.

Radiant Silvergun (which is probablly my favorite of the top down scroller variety) focused on lots of bosses with intermittent waves of destruction but it gave so much room for personal expression via the art of x-x-y-b that it became an instant classic for me. It had a unique weapons system, lots of style to the gameplay (in terms of how you defeated the bosses) and looked great! I remember actually the style of it totally blew my mind! Sci-fi envions and a rather interesting storyline follows a rather goofy opening.

But where Radiant Silvergun has subtlety mixed into the fray we find
Mars Matrix aka Omaha Beach June 6, 1944.

Mars Matrix focuses on a never ending rain of death coming downscreen at all times. You must kill every living thing on Mars to reclaim it. Everything.. Your weapons are simple. Gatling-type Automatic
(1) , a Pulse Laser (2) that has shorter range but is far more powerful (has a 1 shot every 2 seconds rate of fire) and the Mosquito (3-4).

The Mosquito works by sucking in enemy bullets and either a) powers up to the max and unleashes the black hole bomb killing everything on screen (or in the case of bosses doing lots of damage) or b) powers up partially and then spits the munitions back at your enemies. The Mosquito auto recharges when it's not in use.

Mars Matrix packs 6 gun toting levels and 7 bosses (the last boss has 2 forms). Mars Matrix redefines the word "challenging" and "hard" fact Mars Matrix may very well be the definition of xenocide in a can kill just about everything here. In fact the game uses all sprites to maximize the on screen ammo count and number of bad guys at all times.

Indeed when you wipe bad guys they turn into experience cubes (of different sizes and consequently different amounts of xp). Gather enough of these in a given time and your ship powers up to the next level making everything onboard more powerful. This is also remarkably hard to do at first but thankfully the developers have graced us with the ability to unlock, amongst other things, tutorials for the levels. These tutorials are invaluable and allowed me to turn completion of the game by my fingernails into a rather respectable end game.The music is decent techno fare but is generally blotted out by the tremendous number of bullets you will be firing. I've heard it said that there are people who can beat this game with 1 credit or that there's little challenge once you get the "secret" to the game down. Well perhaps those people were born with the gift of twitch because while I am not a god of these games I think I fare pretty well and even with the tutorials it still exhausts like 3-4 credits to finish a game (unless you turn the difficulty setting way down that is....)

You can buy features like speeding up the game, number of credits, number of lives per credit, art gallery, etc. Basically as you earn points you can trade them in for features one at a time...

I cannot recommend this game enough..
Especially if you live in the's only $20!!!!

Score out of Five:

Jon Chang
Studio Grey

Mars Matrix Arcade Flyer. Click for a bigger scan.

Mars Matrix is certainly a very accomplished game. Released by Takumi (
Kyukoyu Tiger 2, Giga Wing) prior to the slightly disappointing Giga Wing 2, it proved to be certainly their most exhilirating shooter thus far. Takumi are starting to produce some quality Cave-style output recently and this is by popular opinion probably the best of the bunch. The Dreamcast conversion is extremely smart and packs in a ton of features not found in the arcade game such as a innovative 'Shop' system (gain credits by getting good scores to buy extra game option features such as extra credits, new ship colours etc!) and remixed game modes with all new stage graphics and enemies. Though the Mosquito system might not be to everone's taste (basically it's an adaptation of the Reflect system seen in the Giga Wings) the lack of a proper 'smart bomb' system is probably to the game's advantage providing a greater level of balance than found in the latter games. Plus it strikes me as a cross between the atmospheric and graphical style of Soukyugurentai and something Cave (DoDonPachi) might have produced which can't be a bad thing..!! Mike

Many thanks to Jon Chang for providing the review!
An alternative Mars Matrix review can be found at
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