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CONSOLE: Turbo-Grafx 16 DEVELOPER: Naxat Soft PUBLISHER: NEC
RELEASE DATE (NA): 1990 GENRE: Shmup
// review by SoyBomb

Feeling a bit paranoid?

I've always thought the Turbo-Grafx 16 was a weird console. Without an affirmative mascot or a breakout series to really distinguish it from everything else, the Turbo-Grafx 16 was somewhat like that one kid on the playground who always sits by himself and snacks on granola or wanders around muttering incessantly to himself while the other children play on the jungle gym equipment. Nintendo had its Mario and Zelda series to back up their console. Sega ripped through the streets with Sonic the Hedgehog and *gulp* Alex Kidd, no matter how horrible that series is. Poor Turbo-Grafx... it may have had the Bonk series, but that didn't make a strong enough splash in the game pond to keep the system alive. So what else could it lean on?

Psychosis? No.

Psychosis is weird. Would you expect any less from a game whose plotline is based around the fact that your body is dead, but your mind still wishes to live on? That's right: you're pretty much dead, but you might as well keep your brain going. A demon known as Ungar is dwelling within your mind now. Why? I really don't know. In order to combat this mental infestation, a virtual spaceship of sorts is concocted by what's left of your already deteriorating subconscious. Its reason for being is to fry up all the evil monsters who are dwelling within the depths of your psyche in order for you to stand a chance at survival, including that pain-in-the-arse Ungar. Not only is this story far from plausible, but it's a pretty pathetic excuse to get a player to swallow this game hook, line, and sinker. Then again, it coincides perfectly with the insanity that will ensue once you get yourself involved in the game.

You don't play through stages in Psychosis. No, you play through "causes". Causes for your recent bout of insanity, apparently. You'll need to fly through each area of your mind, defeating countless terrors as they come at you head-on, before finally confronting one aspect of your overall paranoia. It's downright unusual to fight with a gigantic eyeball shrouded in mists, for example. Is this person scared of all things ocular and cloudy? You'd better hope it doesn't start raining eyeballs after he awakens. Of course, he can't run because his body is deceased (thus making the entire premise null, void, stupid, and useless.) Another boss fight involves fighting against an infinitely-tailed wolf and its two floating wolf head cronies. I have a bit of a canine phobia myself, so I get it. But these are not exactly the most common fear and anxieties the developer could have exploited. Anyway, as you travel, you'll be able to enhance your weapon with power-ups, as is the way with pretty much all shmups out there. You can also snag a couple of associate orbs on your travels to provide additional assistance and firepower, not to mention good shielding protection if they are arranged in front of you in such a way (thus making you practically impenetrable from the front, suitable for boss battles and such). This form of invincibility drastically reduces the difficulty against bosses, so... go ahead, exploit it.

And after every cause, an ugly E.T. look-a-like gives me the middle finger. Beautiful.


If you've ever wondered what's in your head, here's the answer.

The graphics are decidedly average, on par with pretty much every other shooter out there at the time. Psychosis makes a deliberate effort to toss as many different types of seemingly random enemies at you as possible. Meanwhile, the locales seem standard as well, ranging from sandy beaches to underwater temples to gooey caverns. Y'know, your typical space travel hotspots. It's actually difficult to find many space shooters that break such a mold. The sound effects are not worth discussing at all, but the music is... okay, it's sometimes lively but sometimes downright creepy as well. I suppose when you delve into the inner psyche of the human being, it's not a calming experience. You won't have classical music playing and a butler won't bring you your evening tea by the fire. So weird audio and video would be a natural inclination, and so the developer has obliged us. In fact, this fact alone is the only logical reason why the game is so unusual. Nothing makes sense, and such is the way of the human mind.

There really isn't much else to discuss about Psychosis, other than the fact that it is very unusual. I have read numerous other reviews of Psychosis, though they are few and far between. They all seemed to give it the same grade I was initially going to prescribe, so I believe that the inclusion of my assessment into the pack makes it official: Psychosis is an average game. It has nothing great going for it, and it has nothing absolutely disgraceful against it either. If you are a fan of the shmup genre, feel free to try this one out, either via an actual Turbo-Grafx 16 (which is the least likely option), or, more surprisingly, via the Wii's Virtual Console service. Prepare yourself for a freaky ride, but don't expect to be amazed.


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