Hydorah is a glorious reminder of old-school shoot’em ups. There’s an incredibly polish to the game, everything works perfectly, especially the controls. The variety of enemies is high, there are countless bosses for example. Each level looks and feels different and introduces a new gameplay element. Sure, some stuff feels like you’ve seen it in one or another form in games from the 8bit or 16bit console generation, but if you have no problem with a trip down memory lane, Hydorah will push all the right buttons.
That said, I don’t care for some design aspects of the game. Sometimes it too closely emulates old-school games. Contact to any kind of wall kills you. I always hated that in shoot’em ups. Limited saves. Either you allow saving or not, but this half-assed way is annoying. And that you have to play the whole level section again when you die, instead of starting from where you were killed. Ggrr.
As much fun as the game is, replaying the same section again and again really becomes taxing after some time. I just don’t have the same tolerance to repetition I once had (probably eroded by relying too much on save stats in most emulators). Still, even if I can’t see myself finishing the game, it’s one of the most polished and best looking games I’ve seen this year.