Rez, developed under the codename K-Project, Project Eden, and Vibes, is a rail shooter video game released by Sega in Japan in 2001 for the Dreamcast and PlayStation 2, with a European Dreamcast release and United States PlayStation 2 release in 2002. The game was developed by Sega's United Game Artists division, which contained several former members of the disbanded Team Andromeda, the Sega development team behind the Panzer Dragoon series. It was conceptualized and produced by Tetsuya Mizuguchi. Mizuguchi is now well-known for more his more recent games, including Lumines, Every Extend Extra and Meteos. His company, Q Entertainment released a high definition version, Rez HD to the Xbox Live Arcade in 2008.
The game is notable for replacing the typical sound effects found in most rail shooter games with trance music, with sounds and melodies created by the player as they target and destroy foes in the game, leading to a form of synesthesia, enhanced by an optional Trance Vibrator peripheral. Although Rez was critically acclaimed, it did not get much commercial attention in the United States.
Some enemies drop power-up items when destroyed. Two different items enhance the player's avatar by increasing his/her "evolution bar" by one and three points respectively. Another item enables the player to trigger an "Overdrive", which releases a continuous shower of shots at all enemies on the screen for a short period of time. In some game modes, score bonus items also appear periodically.
The game consists of five main areas. The first four are divided into ten sub-sections and conclude with a boss battle. The final area contains a larger number of sections and a boss rush, in which the player must fight variations of the bosses from the first four areas. The player then goes on to the network's core to restart Eden in a final boss battle.
The final area features a variable difficulty scale, depending on the player's performance in the first four areas. According to Sega, this system was employed to make the game more accessible to casual players, while also making it more challenging for experienced players, thus potentially increasing its replay value. In addition, completing all five levels unlocks alternate gameplay modes, color schemes and secret areas.
Unlike most games, Rez contains almost no sound effects or spoken dialogue. Instead, the game is set to trance music, which plays in the background and gradually evolves as the player moves among sections. The music is enhanced by musical effects (such as trills and drums) generated by the player's actions, enemies and surroundings. Player actions are usually locked to the rhythm of the music, such that shots and hits against enemies occur exactly on each beat (as opposed to occurring in real time). Graphical elements such as the polygons that make up the player's avatar, as well as background elements, also "beat" in time with the music. In reference to these coordinated effects, Sega focused its marketing of Rez primarily on the game's qualities of "synesthesia", the association of different senses and stimuli with one another.
A "Special Package" version of the PlayStation 2 release of the game was sold in Japan only, including a USB device called a Trance Vibrator, which pulses in time with the music. The intended use of the device would be to hold it, put it in a pocket, or sit on it while playing (a pouch was provided to protect the device); similar to the DualShock, it would vibrate in time with the music, but stronger than the DualShock's own feedback, helping to extend the synesthesia to the player's feeling of touch. While not explicitly marketed as a sex toy or masturbatory aid, it has reportedly been used as such. The devices are available from various aftermarket retailers for (as of 2006) approximately $35 USD. The trance vibrator is also compatible with Space Channel 5: Part 2 and the Japanese version of Disaster Report.
Reverse-engineering efforts to allow the Trance Vibrator to attach to and be controlled by a PC have been successfully executed in Japan, resulting in a device driver for Microsoft Windows XP and Windows 2000. Drivers are also available for Unix-based operating systems such as Linux.
The Xbox 360 version, Rez HD utilizes up to three additional controllers for the trance vibration functionality in the game.
* Though this song is titled as Fear in the game, its real name is Mind Killer.
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Regarding releases on other systems, Mizuguchi has noted that there is "no reason" not to provide Rez HD on platforms other than the Xbox 360.