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Video Game / Mars Matrix

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Mars Matrix: Hyper Solid Shooting is a Vertical Scrolling Shooter developed by Takumi, the same developers behind the Giga Wing series. It was released in arcades in 2000, and later ported to the Dreamcast in 2000 in Japan and 2001 in North America.

One notable aspect of Mars Matrix is its control scheme. You only have one fire button, but this one button is used to fire all of your weapons. The weapon you fire depends on how you press the button:

  • Tap once: Piercing Cannon, a short-range laser that inflicts massive damage.
  • Tap repeatedly: Normal Shot, your typical shmup shots. This is the only weapon affected by your Character Level.
  • Hold down: Mosquito, a barrier that absorbs bullets and shoots them back, similar to Giga Wing's Reflect Barrier. Unlike the Reflect Barrier, however, you can aim your absorbed shots before releasing them. Enemies hit with reflected shots turn into experience cubes.
  • Hold down until the "GHB" meter empties: Gravity Hole Bomb, a powerful Smart Bomb that heavily damages enemies. However, activating the GHB will cancel any reflected bullets you have.

Tropes present in this work:

  • Arrange Mode: The Dreamcast port contains an Elite mode that allows you to adjust several ship options such as combo time, ship speed, and GHB charge time. Choosing Elite A also rearranges the enemy types and formations. There is also a score attack mode that adds in small stardust cubes when an enemy is killed using the piercing cannon.
  • Artifact of Doom: The Infinity Chip.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The GHB does a lot of damage, but also negates bullets that you've caught, and using the GHB empties out the entire GHB gauge rather than parts of it, making you wait a long while before you can use the GHB or the Mosquito again.
  • Battleship Raid: Stage 5, "Red Sky Project", involves you taking down the enemy's battleship Exodus. The escape pod serves as the stage's boss.
  • Bullet Hell: Like Giga Wing, the game is fond of dishing out massive patterns of pink and blue at you.
  • Cap: The arcade version maxes out at 9999,9999,9990note  points, and it is very possible to do this if you are quite proficient. The Dreamcast port adds an extra digit so you can keep scoring higher.
  • Character Level: You collect gold cubes (either dropped from enemies or generated from reflecting bullets at enemies) to increase your EXP. You first level up at 1,000 EXP, then level up again at 10,000 and then 100,000 and after that, every time the amount is doubled until level 8 (the maximum). Each time you level up, your ship transforms into a different form and gains a more powerful Normal Shot.
  • Charged Attack: The Piercing Cannon, which is fired by waiting until the orb in front of your ship fully grows to tap the fire button.
  • Collision Damage: Averted. Touching other enemies (or the rocks in Stage 1) do not harm your ship. The only thing that can kill you is bullets.
  • Combo: The amount of EXP given by gold cubes increases if they are collected in succession. A meter shows how much time is left in the combo.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Mastering the Mosquito is tricky as it works in a manner dissimilar to Giga Wing's Reflect Barrier, but proper use of it results in a strong defensive measure, many chances to inflict massive damage, and countless opportunities to prolong your cube chain.
  • Flower Motifs: The Sorceress resides in a machine shaped like a rose.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: The Final Boss. Lampshaded in the epilogue where no one really knows why it was there or why it caused the rebellion in the first place. Although there were a few possibilities, the case was reported cold indefinitely.
  • Minimalism: The control scheme employs this. Rather than having a separate button for each of the four weapons, you only have one button that fires different weapons based on how you press it.
  • Nintendo Hard: Learn how the one-button setup works or you will lose lives faster than a human without a spacesuit runs out of air on Mars.
  • 1-Up:
    • Obtained by leveling up to Level 4, and again at Level 8.
    • You also get one in item form from defeating the mid-boss in stage 4.
  • Pinball Scoring: While not to the same effect as the Giga Wing series, 12 digits (or 13 in the Dreamcast port) is still a lot.
  • RPG Elements: See Character Level above.
  • Score Multiplier: All scoring is multiplied by your EXP.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Sorceress contained in the Infinity Chip caused the Precursors on Mars to go extinct, and causes the Martian Rebellion.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Giga Wing, until Giga Wing 2 got released.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Villified: Averted; the player is sent to crush a Martian rebellion.
    • The revolution is actually caused by the Infinity Chip.
  • Unreadably Fast Text: The arcade opening movie is full of scenes that flash a paragraph of backstory for less than a second. The stage result screens also give you your next mission in a very fast marquee.