In this series retro game expert Zac Bentz picks his top ten MAME games. If you’re a casual gaming fanboy MAME stands for Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator and is a software emulator that allows you to play ancient arcade games on modern hardware.
Dangun Feveron – 1998 – Cave
I sometimes find it interesting to see what lengths a developer will go to in order to get a gamer to play the same old games over and over again. Usually it’s just something like tacking a 2 or III at the end of a popular name and sprucing up the old graphics. Sometime it’s adding a new character or plot line. It’s not often that it’s disco:
Dengun Fereveron is a space-based shooter. That’s certainly nothing new. What sets it apart, at least on paper, is that it’s infused with some wildly out of place disco motifs. The “Feveron” of the title is based on fever, as is the fever you get at the disco. The bodiless voice-over guy constantly shouts things like “feeeever!,” “bring it on down!,” “can you feel it?!,” and “free love!” This all has nothing to do with the actual game play, which is a straight-up sci-fi blast fest. There aren’t any disco-ball bad guys, no oily men with thin mustaches shooting lines of coke at you, no hot chicks with big hair dancing and spinning their spiked heels in your direction. Unfortunately.
Since the game was made in 1998, there isn’t even any particular reason for the misplaced nostalgia. It’s such a thin premise that one could almost miss it entirely. Well, that is if it wasn’t for the totally crazy dance party scene that pops up at the end of each stage. Then you’ll see a giant disco ball drop over the heads of a group of dancing silhouettes. After that you’ll start to pick up on all the other small nods to disco.
But those are few and far between. For the most part, Dangun Ferveron is just a simple, fast-paced shooter, and a fun one at that. There are only a couple stages of powering up, sending your bullets fling faster and faster. Aside from destroying the enemy, you can also pick up groups of floating survivors for extra points. The game is definitely designed to eat quarters, as some of the waves of ships are impossible to avoid entirely. The huge explosions also mask the walls of bullets, so it’s easy to miss that one shot the kills you.
While the disco gimmick is mildly interesting for the first stage or two, it’s the genuinely fun game play that will keep you playing this one. It’s nothing new. Just simple fun.
Zac Bentz is a regular contributor to the Japanese culture blog Japanator, runs his own Japanese music review blog ZB’s A-Z of J-Music and plays crazy electro-rock in The Surfactants. He lives in Duluth, MN with his wife, pets and a closet full of adventure.