Blast 'em. Use swords. Avoid fire. Power up. Those are the four bullet points made on the back of the Chaos Field package, and as a vertically scrolling shoot 'em up, that's all there is to playing the game.
Jam down the fire button, dodge a billion incoming missiles and hope your ability to mentally track all those projectiles is up to snuff. You've got about three seconds from the time you choose your ship to prepare for a screen completely filled with multicolored bullets, and it only gets harder from there.
Straying from the shooter norm, Field skips the waves-of-enemies level design and instead throws boss after boss your way. Blast them outta the sky and it's time for a TV-filling, impractically sized megaboss.
This is as straightforward as gaming gets, but the trick is making any progress at all. Even though the three playable ships have a bullet-absorbing energy sword, purple shots can't be deflected. And wouldn't you know it, there are purple things flying in every direction, always. It's incredibly overwhelming at all times, and this is all in the Order Field, the easiest part of the game.
With the push of a button you're teleported, mid-battle, into the darker, meaner Chaos Field. Your weapons change from meager lasers to planet-searing beams of death, but the same goes for the enemy armada. If you thought there were a crapload of bullets before, the Chaos Field might blow your brain right out the back of your skull.
The benefit of hanging around such a harsh realm is the added opportunity to nab power up tokens for your shields and infinitely-supplied swarming missiles. Sometimes there's almost no empty space on the screen, which makes the questionable collision detection stand out; bullets seem to pick and choose whether they'll make an impact.
Despite its nonstop action and requisite techno soundtrack, Chaos Field never ascends to the level of a shooter classic, like GameCube's beautiful Ikaruga. It's all about finding a sweet spot and plugging away. With no tsunami of enemy ships to keep things evolving, you never get a chance to dip into a sublime shooter trance. If you're hard on for a budget-friendly genocidal space mission, there's plenty of chaos to be found. Just don't expect a lasting impression beyond the busted controller lying on the floor.