Tag Archives: shmup

Shmup Essentials: Murasaki

As we’ve discussed on numerous previous occasions, the shoot ’em up genre is a lot more diverse than you might think.

Over the years, we’ve seen this initially straightforward genre blossom into something that encompasses a wide variety of distinct mechanics: the precise navigation of danmaku games, the pattern recognition and twitch reflexes of twin-stick shooters, the emphasis on memorisation and “risk versus reward” of Gradius-style games and plenty more besides.

One of the most interesting ways in which developers have experimented with the genre as a whole is through combining it with other genres. To date we’ve seen attempts to blend it with fighting games (such as the Suguri series), platform games (such as Rabi-Ribi) and even puzzle games. Murasaki, a 2014 release from Japanese doujin circle Katatema, falls into the latter category.

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Atari A to Z: Caverns of Mars

Happy Tuesday! While I prepare something more substantial for your reading pleasure later this evening, I invite you to enjoy the latest installment in my retro gaming side project.

The Atari 8-Bit is the first computer I used growing up, and it’s a platform I still very much enjoy busting out today. It’s somewhat lesser known than its contemporaries, the Commodore 64 and the ZX Spectrum, but it has a great library of games and software.

Today we take a look at a classic (and influential) vertically scrolling shoot ’em up, Caverns of Mars. Enjoy!

Wii Essentials: Gradius ReBirth

Regrettably no longer available for purchase due to Nintendo’s closing of the original Wii Shop Channel’s payment processing, Konami’s ReBirth series consists of several wonderful “modern retro” takes on classic Konami properties, including Castlevania, Contra and Gradius.

It’s the latter we’re concerned with today, as it really is an absolutely fantastic shoot ’em up, and an absolute crying shame that it can no longer be legitimately acquired via normal means.

Still, if you want to know what you missed out on — or perhaps spend some of those Wii Points you’ve been hoarding before the Shop Channel closes down completely — then read on.

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Shmup Essentials: Riddled Corpses EX

You know sometimes you just see a game and think “I’m going to enjoy this?” That was very much me and Riddled Corpses EX.

There was something about the game’s excellent use of convincing 16-bit style pixel art and the suggestion that it would incorporate two of my favourite shmup subgenres — bullet hell and twin-stick — that made me pretty sure I was going to have a good time with it. And I most certainly did.

If you’re yet to check out this enjoyable blastathon, either in its original PC incarnation on Steam or its all-new “EX” version on PlayStation 4/Vita cross-buy and Xbox One, then grab yourself a sturdy controller, strap yourself in and get ready to perforate some cadavers.

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Namco Essentials: Sky Kid

While I was familiar with most of the other games in the Namco Museum collection for Switch, one that I hadn’t come across before was Sky Kid.

First released in 1985, Sky Kid is a horizontally scrolling shoot ’em up based on the company’s Pac-Land hardware introduced the previous year. Indeed, this fact is fairly obvious, as the two games have a similar aesthetic, and in a later mission there is even a billboard where Pac-Man in his Pac-Land incarnation (sporting arms and legs) makes a cameo appearance.

It’s the first of Namco’s games to support two players simultaneously, and aside from all that, it’s an entertaining, interesting take on the arcade shoot ’em up.

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Namco Essentials: Galaga

Some games are utterly timeless, remaining just as fun today as they were back on their original release.

Namco’s Galaga is definitely one of those games, though it’s also a title the company has taken great pains to keep “relevant” over the years with numerous re-releases, the most recent at the time of writing being as part of the Nintendo Switch version of Namco Museum. It even showed up as one of the company’s “loading screen games” in the PS1 era, putting in an appearance during the initial load time for the original Tekken.

It’s had a number of sequels and remakes since it first showed up in 1981, but there’s an endearing purity to the original that is hard to beat, making it a true classic from gaming’s early days.

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The MoeGamer Awards: The Traffic Magnet

The MoeGamer Awards are a series of made-up prizes that give me an excuse to celebrate games, concepts and communities I’ve particularly appreciated over the course of 2017. Find out more and suggest some categories here!

This year, there’s been one game I’ve covered that has indisputably drawn more traffic to this site than any other. The article (singular — yes, it wasn’t even a Cover Game feature) about it gets an impressive number of hits every day and shows no signs of slowing down; likewise my YouTube video of its gameplay remains one of my most popular videos.

It’s interesting how this works. The game in question is a solid and enjoyable game, of course, it just seems like a strange one to be so popular. And yet people keep coming here to find out about it. Maybe I’m the only reliable source of information about it on the Web? Who knows. Either way, there’s only one clear winner of this award for 2017…

And the winner is…

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