Is the term retro-futuristic a paradox? Well, it probably is, but who cares? It does a great job in describing one particular gaming genre, whose latest representative we now have sedated and immobilized on our dissecting table to analyze and poke for your pleasure. When we talk about the movies, comic books and other art forms from the 1980s, we often tend to snobbishly describe them as tawdry, flashy and cheap. Be that as it may, but you got to hand them one thing: they never were afraid to be over the top, taking risks and monkeying around just to provide you with a great fun. With that in mind, Black Paradox is an homage to the epoch when movies and books weren’t playing it safe, a guilty pleasure for all lovers of retro-styled arcades and a game that isn’t a least ashamed to flaunt this nostalgic legacy with a splendid bravado. Black Paradox does all that and much more with a relaxed and carefree attitude, without a raw irony or anything that would parody its aesthetics and the era of the eighties from which it obviously stems.
In other words, Black Paradox is a game which will be kicking ass and taking names throughout outer space for a long time. Now, if you haven’t figured it out yet, Black Paradox is a retro-futuristic, side-scrolling space shooter created for PC and iOS and a second cousin to games such as Uridium, Gradius, R-Type and other classics of the genre. The game takes place in the distant future, the year 5027 to be more precise when humanity had claimed the entire galaxy for itself. However, that presented a bit of a problem to Earth’s government which is unable to control it and keep the peace. That’s why some of its parts are overrun with various space gangs and other interstellar criminal scum. Among them, there’s one group that’s especially dangerous – an unruly, defiling, godless bunch that call themselves Hellraisers. This gang consists of the most dangerous and filthiest dirtballs the galaxy has ever seen and is led by an imposing criminal mastermind called Quantum Black and his six lieutenants, each a family head of the Hellraisers gang. You’ll take the role of titular Black Paradox, a space bounty hunter who cruises the galaxy in his sleek ship Star Phoenix which looks like a mirror image of iconic DeLorean. This allusion to Back to the Future isn’t accidental, because, Black Paradox can travel through time harnessing the most potent and dangerous energy in the whole universe – the power of black holes.
Now, just as all games of this kind, the basic premise is exceedingly simple – just fly around trying to survive waves upon waves of the enemies which are choking the screen of your computer worse than vehicles in a Manhattan rush hour traffic jam. However, that’s made more difficult by the fact that all levels are procedurally generated, so you won’t be able to memorize their layout, the type of the enemies and the way they’ll attack you, nor potential boosters and powerups that appear occasionally behind them. This considerably raises the difficulty of the game, because you’ll literally never know what’ll come next, and everything that moves from space debris to juggernaut cruisers is a deadly hazard to you. Of course, besides dodging you’ll have other ways for dealing with them, starting with an impressive arsenal of different weapons that comes in several types and classes. And when all other things fail, you can always count on your secret weapon to help you survive in the tight spot. Back to the future had taught us that if the same person occupies a similar place in the space-time continuum that it’ll come to the paradox which will tear the very fabric of reality. However, when you’re already a dude called Paradox, the dull laws of physics won’t apply to you. Thanks to the special powers of his ship, Black Paradox is able to summon the helper from an alternate dimension and enlist the help from his double from another plane called Orange Paradox. This is actually a great way to introduce an in-game explanation for the co-op mode and the presence of the other player which controls Orange Paradox. At the end of each level, Black Paradox will face one of the leaders of Hellraisers gang and collect the bounty for them. That money that can be invested in chips used to upgrade the stats of your ship and acquire some type of special power such as the ability to heal over time.
The retro concept is one thing, but if you want a game which allows a full retro immersion, it has to feature retro-styled graphics. Black Paradox boasts excellent retro pixelated visuals which will at times remind you on splendid fireworks of psychedelic colors matched with rocking synthwave soundtrack. So, if all this seems appealing to you, don’t hesitate to jump into this space DeLorean and allow Black Paradox to take you on his bounty hunting crusade.