Super NES Works reminds us: Not every old game is a classic game
D-Force certainly is an oldie, but definitely not a goodie.
In my ongoing journey through the chronological releases of various Nintendo platforms, I have encountered a great many games I had never before played or even heard of until now. Sometimes, these discoveries turn out to be pleasant surprises: Well-crafted works that simply failed to gain a foothold on the collective conscious and vanished into historic anonymity. Sometimes, though, the surprise is less pleasant. There have been quite a few lousy games barely worth remembering—technical or creative failures (or both) that somehow managed not to attract the ire of tastemakers and YouTube personalities and have faded into obscurity rather than being publicly scored or reviled.
That's D-Force in a nutshell. It might be the worst shooter on Super NES. But you never hear people talk about it. Perhaps that's because no one cares enough about Super NES shooters to get heated up about it. Or maybe it's just so forgettable no one remembers to be mad.
I don't know that I'd buy the argument that it's forgettable. D-Force is fairly unique, if nothing else. "Unique" doesn't always equate to "good," though. The things that make D-Force stand out aren't precisely bragging points. The devs on this game certainly did seize on a unique technical feature of the Super NES hardware to base their game around... but good lord, did they do a terrible job of it. D-Force makes use of the Super NES's Mode 7 scaling feature to allow you to zoom into and out of the ground as you battle through top-down shooting stages... and the execution is lackluster, to say the least. It doesn't help that the console launched with Pilotwings, which did this same thing in a far more interesting and cohesive way. Combine that with choppy animation, weird hit detection, a limited power-up scheme, and wretched sound effects, and you have a shooter that does nothing anyone wants from a shooter. It really is one to avoid and, in turn, forget about for another few decades.