|Platform(s)||Arcade, Dreamcast, GameCube, PlayStation 2|
|Genre(s)||Shoot 'em up|
|Arcade system||Sega NAOMI|
Chaos Field[a] is a shoot 'em up video game developed by MileStone Inc. and released in arcades in 2004. The game consists entirely of boss battles, featuring five stages with three bosses each. It is the first game from MileStone, a company founded by former Compile employees looking to develop high quality shooters similar to those Compile was known for in the past. After its release in Japanese arcades, it was ported to the Dreamcast, PlayStation 2, and GameCube in Japan. The GameCube version was also released in North America. Critics found the game to be overwhelmingly average, a generic shooter lacking in polish and execution.
Chaos Field is a vertically scrolling shoot 'em up with consecutive boss battles. The game features five stages, each with three bosses to defeat. The player can choose to play as one of three characters, each with their own ship that has a unique primary weapon: a spread shot, lasers that lock onto enemies, or bolts of lightning. Each ship is equipped with a short-range sword that can destroy bullets and inflict damage on enemy ships. Each player ship also has two special weapons, one being a type of homing weapon that locks onto enemies and the other being a deployable shield that absorbs bullets. The player can flip the environment at will between two parallel worlds, the "order field" and the "chaos field". In the chaos field, the player's weapons are more powerful and their special homing weapon can also destroy enemy bullets, but enemies are more ruthless and will fire more bullets. The player only gets one life per credit, but can take several hits before losing a life.
Development and release
Chaos Field was the first game developed by MileStone Inc.. The company was founded by former Compile employees in 2003 after Compile went bankrupt. Most of the staff originally joined Compile because of the company's good reputation with shooting games like the Aleste series, but were left unsatisfied from Compile's growing focus on other franchises like Puyo Puyo. Desiring to make a shooter of their own, development on Chaos Field began with the founding of MileStone in April 2003. Development was funded by their publisher and from doing subcontract work on other games. According to sound and art designer Daisuke Nagata, the game experienced a troublesome development because too many people were involved and the team lacked organization. The team had a working prototype by September 2003, but scrapped this iteration and started anew when they determined it did not feel right. This version of the game had the player controlling a giant robot flying through stages set in real Japanese cities.
Chaos Field was first released in Japanese arcades on May 25, 2004. The team decided to develop Chaos Field for Sega's NAOMI arcade platform since they were experienced with it and had a working relationship with Sega. It received a Dreamcast port in December that year, after the console was already discontinued by Sega. The team also had experience with developing for the GameCube and PlayStation 2, and so created ports for those platforms as well. The GameCube version, Chaos Field Expanded, was released in February 2005 in Japan by Sega, with a North American version published by O~3 Entertainment in December that year. This version features an exclusive mode that adds small waves of enemies between the bosses. Also in December, the PlayStation 2 version titled Chaos Field New Order was released in Japan. The game was re-released in two Wii compilations of MileStone shooters, Ultimate Shooting Collection and MileStone Shooting Collection 2.
Critics found Chaos Field to be a generic shooter. IGN wrote that "the entire effort screams cookie-cutter design" but that it "manages to deliver an entertaining dose of gameplay within a completely average looking shooter." Gamezilla and GamesRadar also described the game as "standard". Several critics compared the game unfavorably to other shoot 'em up, particularly another GameCube shooter, Ikaruga (2001). Some only recommended Chaos Field to hardcore fans of the genre.
Some journalists criticized the poor execution and lack of features. GamesRadar and GameSpot wrote that the collision detection did not feel right, with GameSpot saying the game "lacks the ultra precise action and feel that's crucial to any truly great shoot-'em-up." Nintendo World Report wrote that the game felt unbalanced, and along the same lines, Edge and GamesTM wrote that the game felt rushed and lacked polish. The graphics were criticized as generic and the sound effects on the GameCube version were described as almost nonexistent. GamesTM wrote that the game lacks the "refinement and accessibility" of other shooters. Some criticized the lack of a two-player mode and online ranking system.
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