Tag Archives: shoot ’em up

Atari ST A to Z: Zoltar

Mandarin Software’s STOS marketed itself as “The Game Creator”, but really it was a lot more than that — it was a whole programming language based on the conventions of BASIC, meaning you could do a wide variety of things with it.

One of the showcase titles included with the STOS package was Zoltar, a simple shoot ’em up that tasked you with taking down pre-scripted waves of aliens as they swooped, bobbed and weaved around the screen. As a game, it’s not great, but it’s a good showcase of what STOS is capable of — particularly as it includes a fully functional built-in level editor!

Check it out — and hear about my lost ST game ZAPP — in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari A to Z

Dragon Spirit: The New Legend – In Case of Emergency, Use Dragon

The shoot ’em up genre is, it’s fair to say, fairly dominated by spaceships. It makes sense — a sci-fi tale allows for pretty much unbridled creativity, taking the player on a journey through the stars into the great unknown, battling off hordes of unimaginable horrors from many light years away.

But the fantasy genre is ripe for exploiting in this way, too; much like the more outlandish side of sci-fi, a lot of fantasy has never seemed too concerned with respecting the usual laws of physics, time and space. And as such there’s no good reason why we couldn’t have just as satisfying a time blasting our way through a fantasy tale as we could if we were behind the controls of some sort of comically overpowered spaceship.

Namco evidently felt this way back in 1987 when they released the fantasy-themed vertically scrolling shoot ’em up Dragon Spirit to the arcades. And then they remembered it was still a very good idea a couple of years later when they released quasi-sequel Dragon Spirit: The New Legend for Famicom in 1989, with a North American NES version following in 1990. And this 8-bit home console version can now be enjoyed by a whole new audience today, thanks to its inclusion on the Namco Museum Collection 2 cartridge for the Evercade retro gaming system. So let’s take a closer look!

Continue reading Dragon Spirit: The New Legend – In Case of Emergency, Use Dragon

Atari A to Z Flashback: Missile Command

It’s time for another one of those games that shows up on Atari Flashback Classics several times! This time around, it’s Missile Command putting in its second appearance.

The 2600 version of Missile Command is actually a really solid port of the game, albeit lacking some of the features like the satellites and planes. Most importantly, though, it plays well, looks authentic and is monstrously addictive.

Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari A to Z

Solaris: The 2600’s Finest Hour

The humble Atari 2600 had an astonishingly long lifespan, being officially produced between 1977 and 1992. As you might expect, this means there’s an equally astonishing difference between the very first games for it and those which came out later in its lifespan.

Solaris by Doug Neubauer came out in 1986, putting it towards the latter end of that lifespan. To date it remains one of the very finest games on the Atari 2600 from technological, gameplay and design standpoints — although not one that gets talked about all that much. And all this makes it a title well worth checking out even if you don’t normally “do” Atari games.

Thankfully, it’s now easier than ever to try it for yourself, since it appears on the Atari Collection 2 cartridge for the Evercade retro gaming system. So let’s take a closer look!

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short;Play: Satazius Next

Who doesn’t love a good shoot ’em up? And if you’re after some top-notch modern shoot ’em ups, you can’t go far wrong with Astro Port’s work.

Satazius Next is an update to the company’s popular Gradius homage Satazius, and features improved visuals, a new soundtrack and the same solid horizontal shooter action that the studio has become so known and loved for.

Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari A to Z Flashback: Millipede

Millipede may look like Centipede, but it’s considerably more chaotic and frantic than its predecessor.

Rather impressively, the Atari 2600 version, while not quite capturing the visual style of the arcade original, manages to keep pace with the game’s iconic chaos, providing a challenging and enormously addictive arcade blaster for the platform. In fact, some consider Millipede to be among the 2600’s finest games.

Want to see what it’s all about? Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari A to Z

Warpman: Another Lost Namco Treasure

Probably the best thing about Blaze’s Evercade retro gaming platform is the fact that the releases so far have specifically eschewed hugely well-known retro titles in favour of hidden gems, lost treasures and just plain previously unlocalised titles.

A great example of this can be seen on the Namco Museum Collection 2 cartridge. Have you ever heard of Warpman? Chances are, unless you collect Famicom games, probably not; it’s a 1985 Japan-only sequel to a fairly obscure 1981 Namco arcade game called Warp & Warp, also known as Warp Warp for its North American release.

Warpman (and, by extension, Warp & Warp, which it closely resembles in gameplay terms) is a particularly interesting game, because it introduces a specific mechanic that, today, is more commonly associated with a later game from a completely different company. But Namco did it first! So let’s take a closer look.

Continue reading Warpman: Another Lost Namco Treasure

short;Play: Neptunia Shooter

Don’t you love it when an April Fool escalates into something that is actually rather excellent?

That’s what happened with Neptunia Shooter, a game that started as a joke by Idea Factory International — a joke that people responded particularly positively to, resulting in it becoming a real, actual thing.

And it’s good! Paying homage to a variety of classic shooters while maintaining its own unique identity, this is a challenging blastathon for Nep fans and shmup enthusiasts alike. Now howsabout a Switch version, Iffy?

Asteroids 7800: Besteroids?

I was never a huge fan of Asteroids back in the day; I always found the “turn and thrust” controls to be a bit of a challenge to deal with.

That hasn’t stopped me from playing numerous versions of this arcade classic over the years, though, including the Atari 2600 version, the Atari 8-bit version (which was subsequently ported to the 5200), the Atari ST version and two versions of the arcade game. And over time, I’ve come to appreciate this game a lot more than I did as a kid.

One version I’d never had the opportunity to play with, though, was the Atari 7800 incarnation. Now, thanks to the Atari Collection 2 cartridge for the Evercade retro gaming system, I can enjoy this version — which has quickly become my favourite! — any time I want. Hooray!

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Xevious: Are You Devious Enough?

Namco really were trailblazers back in the early days of gaming; so many of their titles were true pioneers.

Much of the vertically scrolling shoot ’em up genre as it exists today owes a lot to 1983’s Xevious, for example. Xevious established or at least popularised genre conventions such as making use of different weapons for different targets, regular confrontations with powerful enemies and dynamic difficulty scaling.

Namco’s port to the Famicom became one of the system’s first “killer apps”, selling a mighty 1.26 million copies — and it still plays great today. And wouldn’t you know it? You can play that 8-bit console version on the Evercade retro gaming system thanks to the Namco Museum Collection 1 cartridge. Let’s take a closer look!

Continue reading Xevious: Are You Devious Enough?