4cr Plays – Moon Chronicles: Episode 1
After Major Kane lands on the Earth’s moon for what was supposed to be a routine visit to review a mysterious hatch that was found by the base’s crew, something sinister rises from the darkness and destroys the rest of his team. Scientist Tsukigami and General Lambert are the only people who can help you, and it is now Major Kane’s mission to enter the hatch to try and find who or what is responsible for this massacre. What Major Kane will finds inside the hatch is something that no one was expecting.
(The trailer on the 3DS eshop is far better quality than the one I posted. For some reason YouTube’s compression messed it up)
This s the setup for Moon Chronicles: Episode 1, an upgraded port of Moon from Renegade Kid. The same content that was available in the Nintendo DS retail release has been split in four episodes for easier consumption at a lower price, and so far it seems to be for the best. For those who’ve already played Moon on the Nintendo DS (and for those new to the game) this reworked adventure features revamped graphics, a smooth and fast frame rate, the 3D effect (which is very good), and dual analog stick support that makes this a better game overall.
Dual analog support means that the Circle Pad Pro is one of the supported control options, which in my opinion is something that more games should consider. Using the Circle Pad Pro makes playing this First Person Shooter a whole lot easier and more comfortable than using the Metroid Prime Hunters-like options, or the setup where the D-Pad and the face buttons are used to mimic the functions of a second analog stick. Without the Circle Pad Pro the game does suffer from some of the basic issues with FPS games on the 3DS so use your judgement and experience to set your expectations accordingly.
Early in the game you are introduced to the Remote Access Droid (RAD), a small unit that can be launched to explore inside vents and down small corridors. You will need to use the RAD to open the path for Major Kane because there are several obstacles which block your progress and must be surpassed while evading a bevvy of deadly creatures. Luckily, the RAD can shoot electricity, paralyzing any enemy it hits.
This first episode of Moon Chronicles is split into four chapters. In two of the chapters, you explore around the station, trying to find an explanation for what is going on while searching for new weapons, ammo, and health upgrades. You also interact with several computer terminals to gather information that helps to flesh-out the narrative.
One of the chapters is a boss fight against a large enemy, which ends up being the shortest of all chapters since it can be completed in 5-10 minutes at most.
The final chapter for Episode 1 allows you to control a special vehicle that lets you explore the moon’s surface to search for another hatch that will grant you access to a new underground setting that you won’t be able to explore until Episode 2 is released.
There are only two problems with Moon Chronicles: Episode 1. The first is that some low resolution textures were left in place instead of being upgraded like the rest of the textures in the game. The most obvious one is the center circle of the doors you find all over the station, which makes it even more strange since you’ll be seeing these doors during 80% of Episode 1. The other issue is the length for Episode 1, because you can complete all chapters in around 2 hours.
On the bright side, Renegade Kid thought of this and implemented three difficulty settings, as well as the option of replaying any chapter in any difficulty at all times. They’ve also included hidden artifacts in each episode that when found open some extra content by way of a VR mission created by Tsukigami.
Moon Chronicles: Episode 1 is a great showcase for what can be done with a First Person Shooter on the 3DS. Other than the odd low resolution texture here and there, this is a great upgrade to the original release, and Episode 1 works as a nice setup to the rest of the game.