10th Apr2018

‘D/Generation’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Britt Roberts


The original D/Generation was one of my favourite Amiga games. The combination of a sci-fi puzzle game with such a unique take on the isometric genre moved along by such a minimalist story told in fragmented fashion really appealed to me and I worked my way through the game several times back on my trusty Amiga 500. The pulsing sound track and neon colours were etched into my memory as I wandered the corridors of Genoq, inching my way past its automated defences in search of the enigmatic Dr Derrida.

I remember a few years ago I was reminded of the original when I found a remake by West Coast Games on Steam; I instantly purchased it and was massively disappointed by the shoddy update. Even the run animation looked half-finished and the game was barely playable, much less enjoyable, and so although I was excited when this version for the Switch came out, I was somewhat dubious that it was another port by West Coast games. I must admit that whilst the game is not without its flaws, it is a solid update of the original, clearly designed with love. The question is…does it hold up in the current generation of games for someone who doesn’t have nostalgia for the original?

As touched on above, D/Generation sets you in the character of ‘The Courier’, a man who has been tasked with delivering a parcel to a Dr Derrida at Genoq headquarters. The game starts with the courier landing (via jet-pack) on the roof of Genoq and entering the 80th floor where it quickly becomes apparent that things at Genoq have gone awry…

The game play of D/Generation is isometric; you have to make your way through the floors by traversing the numerous security systems and bio-weapons that block your way. Whilst the game eases you in with simple timed / switch puzzles, it’s not long before you obtain a laser and you are blasting your way through bouncing enemies and lining up geometric blasts to trigger doors and panels in unreachable places. You can pick up items such as grenades that clear the way and can kill enemies unaffected by your laser, although these are in relatively short supply and should be used only in emergencies.

The design of the puzzles holds up even now and moving forward in the game, solving each room and rescuing Genoq staff (each of which grants you an extra life) feels rewarding, keeping you wanting to know more about Genoq and Derrida. The music is as moody as ever and keeps the pace up throughout your journey. Graphically the game is fine but some busier rooms subtly impact the frame-rate on a level that you wouldn’t expect from a relatively simple game. The only serious issue that I had graphically was that some of the security keys needed to move forward are hidden behind walls and objects which feels like a cheap way to make the game slightly more difficult. I also had a couple of troublesome glitches which I’ll discuss below.


Before I go into the real issues I had with D/Generation, it’s worth mentioning that the game is almost a shot-for-shot remake with updated graphics. You could literally run the two games side by side and see how similarly they play, which is perfect for someone who loves the original game, but it also comes with its own problems due to the original games design choices feeling somewhat dated now. As mentioned, some screens have objects and traps hidden due to the locked view point, this can lead to either wandering around having missed something or deaths which feel unjustified. Again, back in 1991, this would have been par for the course but now it comes across as an irritation but one that has to be included due to the faithfulness of the remake.

AI on the Genoq staff that you save along the way is stiff and can result in problems due to how they move. They seem to follow you in random patterns and on a few occasions, they died by getting caught in traps that should have been avoidable if they moved more fluidly. However, this minor piffle is nothing compared to what really affected the game for me. When I first encountered one of the main enemies of the game, he was crouching by the lift to the next floor. As I approached him, the game glitched and he turned into a huge, weird orange blob that took up about 60% of the screen, blocking out everything and killing me upon impact. It took me a while to figure out a way around this (I had to kill myself on a bouncing laser nearby so that I would respawn and the enemy would have disappeared). If I had only one life left, I would have re-started my continue at the beginning of the level (which I did and the same glitch happened again, so I’m not sure how wide-spread it is) this is a large setback for a glitch to have. I also got caught in an infinite death loop at one point as I was working out the path of a laser as it bounced around a room, eventually it worked its way up towards me and I dashed out of the room just as it reached me, this meant that when I walked back into the room, I was instantly killed several times, taking all of my lives and requiring me to restart that floor. Again, this is due to the closeness of the design with the original and so whilst I understand why it’s there, it still feels unfair.

Whilst I enjoyed my time with D/Generation, I can’t say for certain how much of an impact my built-in nostalgia for the original was having. It’s a solid (and quite unique) puzzle game that I’m glad has been brought up to speed for modern audiences and I would say it’s worth a look for the puzzle & sci-fi fans out there, but it’s not an entirely smooth ride and I can imagine that some may be put off by how rigidly the remake sticks to the original games’ idiosyncrasies. Although I had my issues with the game, it’s easy to see how this game once captured the minds of so many gamers in the early 90s. Maybe a sequel next?

Right, I’m off to email Dr Derrida and find out of his Amazon parcel turned up in the end, bloody Parcel Force…

D/Generation is available on the Nintendo eShop now.


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