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Cover art of Apidya
|Genre(s)||Shoot 'em up|
The story revolves around Ikuro, whose wife Yuri has been poisoned by Hexaae, an evil lord of black magic. Ikuro uses magic to transform into a deadly bee and vows to find an antidote for Yuri and reek revenge on Hexaae.
The game is a horizontally scrolling shooter, with some elements borrowed from early, classic shoot 'em ups. The player controls a bee capable of launching a number of projectiles which can damage or destroy enemy targets. The game uses the power-up bar system pioneered by Gradius. Destroyed enemies sometimes leave a power-up in the form of a red-and-yellow flower. The player may collect these flowers and activate new weapons and enhancements. A 'build-up' weapon, similar to the 'beam' weapon in R-Type, also features. If the fire button is held down for a second or two, the bee produces a hissing noise and releasing the fire button will then cause the bee to fire a large, organic projectile which can wipe out waves of small enemies, or damage larger ones. If the player's bee is hit by enemy fire or crashes into the terrain, a life may be lost and the current stage is restarted. Once all lives are lost the game ends. A co-operative two-player mode is possible, in which the second player controls a smaller companion drone, which can launch small projectiles and shield the first player. An alternating two player mode is also possible.
The game consists of five themed levels: a meadow, a pond, a sewer filled with mutated enemies, a bio-technological machine, and a final level where the player must battle five final bosses. Each level is divided up into a number of stages (usually three). There are also a number of hidden bonus levels. In the first two levels, nearly all the enemies are real creatures which may be found in a meadow or pond. The later levels feature mutant and inorganic creations. During "Techno Party", the bee morphs into a more mechanized form for the duration of that level. There are four difficultly settings. When the difficulty is set to "easy", it is not possible to play the last level, the ending sequence is skipped and the player is directed straight to the end credits.
The musical soundtrack to the game was composed by game musician Chris Hülsbeck. A high-quality arrangement of the soundtrack was released as a CD album in 1992. The soundtrack of level 4 features several samples from L.A. Style's James Brown Is Dead.
There have also been live performances of the game's music:
- An Apidya suite was performed live by a full symphonic orchestra in 2003 at the Symphonic Game Music Concert-series in Leipzig, Germany.
- Music from Apidya was part of the 2006 PLAY! A Video Game Symphony concert in Stockholm, Sweden.
- Music from Apidya (as well as many of Hülsbeck's other works) was played by a symphonic orchestra at the Symphonic Shades concert in 2008.
The game was largely praised as a fine example of the shoot 'em up genre. Amiga Power magazine described the game as offering "more playability than any other shoot 'em up" and awarded the game 89% in 1992. Amiga Format magazine awarded the game 90%.
The name Apidya appears to be romanized Japanese, as evidenced by four katakana characters on the title screen (アビヂャ) which appear behind the English title. These would be pronounced "abidja" but romanized "abidya" under the Nihon-shiki system and "abidja" under the Hebon-shiki system. This might be an attempted transliteration of the Latin Apidae, the name of the taxonomic family to which the honey bee belongs.