blahness's Space Giraffe (Xbox 360 Games Store) review

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Underappreciated Gem

Like many people who saw the first screenshots of Space Giraffe laden with profanity, I thought 'WTF is this?' and 'What is going on?'.  Needless to say, I was intrigued by both the visuals and the "shooter" aspect of the game and when I finally purchased it, I found it sort of confusing.  The confusion was short lived after a run in the tutorial (that's not to say that I knew every aspect of playing) and over the next few days, I was hooked. 

Space Giraffe is not for everyone and it is really one of those games that you either get or think is utter trash.  What at first looks like a mess of colors, sounds and flashing lights becomes more and more coherent and that is when it all clicks.  This game is half of what you see and half of what you hear.  It is an audio-visual assault that becomes increasingly more and more difficult as new enemies appear, at which time you must figure out how they attack and how to defeat them.  There is no in-game help with this information, it is just like an older arcade game where you put the quarter in and there is very minimal help in game.  Each enemy can be identifed before it starts crawiling on the grid by a color coded streak that appears in the distant background.  Each enemy also makes a distinct sound when you either hit or destroy it as well as a separate distinct sound when you die from them.  Picking up on these audio cues is crucial to surviving as you advance in the game.  For example, on a level where the visuals distort the grid, you can sweep with the hoof shot to determine if there are any flowers advancing up the grid.  You can also tell how many enemies are left on each level by looking at the swarm of dots buzzing around in the distance.  

There is plenty of unfounded hate for this game on gaming message boards and official reviews.  I like to think that this is due to the players or reviewers not seeing the game in the proper light (again its half what you see and half what you hear).  Space Giraffe does have a steep learning curve and may seem incoherent at the start, but don't let that detract you from trying to experience this breath of fresh air in the gaming world.  At 400 MS points, Space Giraffe is a great value with 100 unique levels to experience and I can guarantee that you will find more in this game than most lower priced XBLA offerings, especially Frogger.  

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