D/Generation, but Triple H and Shawn Michaels are nowhere in sight.
A first modern console release for a 1991 Mindscape title that was originally on the PC, Amiga and Atari ST isn’t the sort of fare you’d usually expect to come across on the Switch eShop. The HD remaster of the game is already on the Switch’s eShop, but now the original D/Generation is on the system in all of its glory.
Played out across a series of isometric lab-like rooms, D/Generation is set in a futuristic Singapore environment of 2021. After parachuting onto the roof of the building, you might fight your way through rooms and floors filled with enemies from balloon-like bouncing balls which swallow you whole before exploding and twisting gun turrets which can be flicked on and off if you manage to make it past them to their operating switch.
As you progress through the tower, the aim of the game is to take out each of the enemies, either by having them erroneously shoot each other or to shoot them yourself. Fortunately, the gun is rather effective, but players will do well not to be caught out by the enemies’ regeneration – you need to close the vents they enter the room through to ensure they are no longer a problem. D/Generation is a difficult experience thanks to the enemies’ one-hit kills, which apply not only to the player but also to the workers of the overawed laboratory, each of whom you must reach and guide safely to their room’s exit in order to complete their rescue. It’s a right pain trying to get them to follow you as you want them to, though – they seem to have an aversion to avoiding obvious danger points like electrified flooring squares, for example. The payoff for not just killing them off is extra lives and sometimes a few words of wisdom.
There’s a definite sense of fear instilled here as you move into a room and see the enemies bouncing about the place. Each room is separated into compartments by walls which the enemies can’t pass through, and you’ll need to take some time to plan your route through. But often, the gameplay experience consists of dashing around the first wall only to see an enemy turn and begin bearing down on you, leaving you to about turn and leg it back to where you started.
Fortunately, where D/Generation excels is in the layout of its puzzles. Each is different enough to present a unique challenge, while design and colour scheme amendments take away the feeling of repetition as you make your way through the laboratories and get closer to the end. But, despite the updating of the visuals to a higher definition – making D/Generation look as good as it’s likely ever going to – the feel is still very much one of a game of 1991. That’s by no means a bad thing – there are a lot of people out there who reckon that was gaming’s greatest ever era, after all. But younger players may not ‘get’ D/Generation as the older nostalgia heads will.