Is there anything cooler than shooting down pirates in space in an intergalactic traveling Delorean? No, I didn’t think there was. Black Paradox is a wet dream straight out of the ’80s full of 64-bit action, adventure, lasers, and explosions.
You are Black Paradox, a big bad Bounty Hunter who gets to fly through space, THE greatest spacecraft conceived since the Millenium Falcon. You must tackle an armada and then some to claim some of the most notorious crooks found throughout the Galaxy, and you get to do it with a friend if you so please to do so, therefore making your hunt for the Hellraisers that little bit easier and more entertaining.
On the surface, Black Paradox is a run of the mill side, scrolling shooter with enemies flying onto the screen from every direction, with shots coming at you with equal aggression. But underneath all of that, there is so much more. From upgrades to a special ability, these factors make it so much more fun than other games in the same vein.
The controls are exceptionally easy to get to grips of. The usual gameplay rules apply of flying around whilst the game progresses outside of your control and you need to go toe-to-toe against an entire battalion and shoot shit until it goes boom. The flying is smooth but does feel a little slow which is a shame as it can make keeping up with the pace of enemies a problem, but the level progression does feel like it accommodates for this luckily.
Another way to counter Black Paradox‘s slow-moving Delorean (it’s still more efficient than its real-life counterpart) is a whole smorgasbord of weapon upgrades to pick up throughout the vast emptiness of space. I was surprised to see the variety at which was available and how unconventional some of the upgrades were. There was a flamethrower, a short wave blast shot, and my favorite, a helix shot just to name a few. The helix shot fires a shot which travels in the form of a DNA helix (duh) which was so satisfying to watch. What makes it better is that you can have up to two equipped at any one time too, so mix and match away.
The wonderful convention of upgrades is also paired with passive upgrades which can be purchased upon your own defeat. Once you fall in battle against the Hellraisers (it’s going to happen) then you have two options, you can either retry from the beginning from scratch, or you can opt to check out the upgrade shop. Here you can spend money earned from blasting fools in space to buy a variety of passive abilities.
There are so many abilities and they also come in varying levels. As you start to progress further and further and buy more and more of these abilities then you unlock better versions of each. At first, you can only equip two meaning that you need to choose which abilities suit your play style best. Over time though you can unlock up to four slots which will help to not only include these abilities but also boost all your stats.
We have yet to speak of the ultimate ability though, Black Paradox has an ability which is appropriately named… Black Paradox. This ability summons forth from another dimension a second Black Paradox (how many times will I type that in this paragraph). This Black Paradox (one more time it seems) warps out of nowhere and is easily distinguishable from the player controlled craft. It also spawns with a random weapon from the available upgrades and cuts down swathes of enemies with unflinching accuracy.
Sure you have a small armies worth of weaponry at your disposal, but the enemies too, have quite a clever bunch of tricks up their sleeves. Not every incoming projectile travels in just a straight line which you can just swoop on past. No. Some shots will travel similar to ones you yourself can get with Helix Waves and even shots which send out EVEN MORE projectiles! It really can become a hell shooter in more ways than one. On top of this, no two runs are the same so learning every little shot is out of the question as you can’t always tell what is coming your way.
Not only is the game an undeniably fun game to play, but it is also wonderfully retro and is oozing with a nostalgic 80’s feel. Somehow this makes the game feel better than if it used a more up to date and conventional style. It really helps add to the Intergalactic Badass Cyberpunk Bounty Hunter experience.
The retro feel is obviously fitting for the genre as it feels almost like a throwback to games of old such as Gradius and R-Type. The nostalgia paired with the perfect polish really helps to cement its roots whilst bringing the genre forward.
Thanks to Black Paradox having a notorious difficulty slope and a lottery-style upgrade system I found it really easy to try over and over to complete it upon failure. When you fail in the middle of a stage or even a boss, sure, you get thrown right back to the start to go another round. Thankfully though thanks to the upgrade system found during this stage you can obviously reorganize your passive skills to adapt and try to overcome whatever obstacle put you down, assuming the game doesn’t decide to throw something worse at you.
Lastly, Black Paradox is accompanied by a killer soundtrack. Between all the shooting and explosions are some sexy techno beats to feast your ears on. What you get to listen to is a fusion of standardized beats and gorgeous synth to get the blood pumping and the bullets flying as you tackle the entire force of the Hellraisers.
Black Paradox is an all-around marvel. Fusing old school and new school features of a genre almost as old as the industry itself to keep everything fresh and familiar simultaneously. It’s a gorgeous game with a gorgeous soundtrack and is only slightly hindered by the speed of your craft based because of the analog stick/D-pad. This alone shouldn’t put you off as with enough practice you can actually adapt to this.