Tag Archives: shoot ’em up

Assault Android Cactus: Shooting for the S+

I remember coming across Assault Android Cactus for the first time: it was back in 2013, when I was still working on USgamer, and I was headed for EGX, or the Eurogamer Expo as it used to be known.

My boss Jaz Rignall suggested that I might want to check out this game he’d heard a bit about, and put me in contact with the developer. I wasn’t sure what to expect going into it; if I’m perfectly honest, I was expecting some sort of fairly forgettable indie fare, but I trusted Jaz’s judgement. He’d been around in the games industry even longer than me, after all, so he knew his stuff.

I was right to trust his judgement. Assault Android Cactus ended up being my favourite thing I saw at EGX that year, and it’s remained a consistent favourite of mine ever since.

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Donkey Kong 3: Shot Up The Arse, And You’re To Blame

When you’ve developed a successful franchise, the natural thing to do with a sequel is to throw everything that made the previous games good out the window and try something completely different.

I’m being facetious, but this is actually something Nintendo has done more than once over the course of several of its classic series’ lifetimes. Sometimes it works indisputably well — few people would consider the reskinned Doki Doki Panic that we Westerners know as Super Mario Bros. 2 to be a “bad” game, for example, despite how different it was from its predecessor.

Sometimes, though, we get something like Donkey Kong 3, and no-one is quite sure what to make of it. And that’s kind of why I really, really like it.

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Atari A to Z: Zone Ranger

We’ve made it to Z again, folks! And today’s a real stonker of a game that I used to really love playing back in the day. And still do today, in fact.

Zone Ranger was released in 1984 by Activision, back when they still made good games, and was the work of one Dan Thompson. Drawing loose inspiration from Asteroids and Sinistar, two favourite games of Thompson, Zone Ranger tasks you with shooting down a bunch of space junk because… why not?

It’s the quintessential mid-’80s arcade blaster in many ways: easy to learn, hard to master and very, very addictive.

Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official site.

Atari A to Z Flashback: Tempest

Dave Theurer, creator of the beloved Missile Command, is back once again with another all-time classic: “tube shooter” Tempest.

Tempest featured Atari’s then-new multi-coloured Quadrascan vector graphics display, plus an interesting feature whereby you could start later in the game based on how far you (or the previous player) had managed to progress on the previous credit. This later became a standard fixture in many Atari Games releases.

I’ll level with you, Tempest is one of those games I’ve always respected greatly but never really liked all that much… can spending a bit of time with it this weekend change my mind?

Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official site.

Atari ST A to Z: Revenge II

When is a Jeff Minter game not a Jeff Minter game? When it’s ported to Atari ST by a different team.

Such is the case with Revenge II, also known as Revenge of the Mutant Camels II or Return of the Mutant Camels. While Minter was responsible for the original versions of this game, the ST port was handled by a separate team and the game was published via Mastertronic.

Just because Minter wasn’t directly involved doesn’t mean that this isn’t a ridiculous, psychedelic trip of a game, however…

Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official site.

Atari A to Z: X:8

It’s really cool that enthusiasts are still developing new games for old platforms such as the Atari 8-bit.

Today’s game is one such example; it won a competition hosted by German user group ABBUC back in 2013, and is quite well-regarded as a result.

While its blasting action does get a little repetitive after a while, there’s little denying that X:8 is a technically impressive release that pushes the humble Atari 8-bit hard to pull off some smooth, slick arcade action.

Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official website.

Atari A to Z: Wavy Navy

I’ve always kind of been fascinated by games that get “bad” reviews. And my gaming experience over the last few years has demonstrated that it’s always best to make up your own mind about things rather than going purely by one person’s rant — as amusing as those rants can be sometimes.

Today’s Atari 8-bit title, Wavy Navy from Sirius Software, is a great example of this. Poorly received by at least one reviewer for its similarities to the system’s excellent port of Galaxian, it’s actually a rather fun fixed shooter with an interesting twist.

Sometimes it pays to go back and revisit those “bad” games… in many instances they’re actually nowhere near as bad as you might think!

Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official site.