Tag Archives: STG

Atari ST A to Z: Z-Out

Although X-Out is considered to be one of the best shoot ’em ups on the Atari ST, I didn’t rate it all that much from a modern perspective; I think console-style shoot ’em ups have spoiled me!

Its sequel Z-Out is another matter, however; despite being a pretty shameless clone of R-Type, this is a much more enjoyable horizontally scrolling shoot ’em up when played today — it even has R-Type’s iconic monstrous difficulty!

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

Atari A to Z

Retro Select: Tyrian 2000

The all-time classic shoot ’em ups of days gone by can typically be found in the arcades and on home consoles — devices with specialist hardware than can handle speedy scrolling and flinging masses of sprites around the screen at once.

But don’t for one second think that there aren’t great shoot ’em ups designed for classic home computers, too. Because there are some fabulous ones out there — and Tyrian is one of the very best, particularly if you crave something with a little more depth and long-term appeal than a standard arcade-style affair. Best of all, it’s free these days, too.

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

Atari ST A to Z: X-Out

The games that people consider to be “the best of all time” vary considerably according to what platforms they’ve spent the most time with — and nowhere is that more apparent than in the shoot ’em up genre.

X-Out (pronounced “cross out”) is supposedly one of the best ever shoot ’em ups for 8- and 16-bit home computers — and for sure, it has its impressive elements. But can it stand up to the heavy hitters of the console sector? You already know the answer to that, but let’s give it a go anyway.

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

Atari A to Z

Atari ST A to Z: Wanted

Can you smell the Gun.Smoke? Infogrames certainly can in this vertically scrolling blastathon for Atari ST.

Wanted is actually a very competent shoot ’em up that does some interesting things that are a bit different from other, similar games on the ST. Perhaps most notably, it’s cowboy-themed, which was a rather unusual sight at the time — and still is today, to a certain extent.

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

Atari A to Z

Atari ST A to Z: Screaming Wings

Screaming Wings for Atari 8-bit was an excellent clone of Capcom’s arcade classic 1942, complete with loop-the-loops, a Lockheed Lightning under the player’s control and some satisfying gameplay.

Screaming Wings for Atari ST, meanwhile, is probably one of the worst shoot ’em ups on the system, since it abandoned almost everything that made the 8-bit version good and instead produced a steaming pile of pap whose only real redeeming feature is its use of digitised sound effects.

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

Atari A to Z

Retro Select: Soldier Blade

Opinions vary greatly as to which PC Engine shoot ’em up is the best — largely because there are so many of the damn things. I most certainly am not complaining.

Most people can agree that Hudson Soft’s excellent Soldier Blade is near the top of the rankings, though, thanks to its high-speed action, its satisfying power-up systems and its excellent music. It’s also highly accessible to shoot ’em up newcomers, so if you suck at the more intense titles — like I do — then this is a great title to cut your teeth on.

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

Atari A to Z: The Extirpator

Shoot ’em ups arguably didn’t really enjoy their golden age until the 16-bit home consoles, but that didn’t stop game developers for home computer platforms having a damn good crack at the genre.

The Extirpator for Atari 8-bit is an impressive example, featuring some slick parallax scrolling, some interesting enemy formations and a decent sense of structure. While there are areas that the genre refined considerably as the years went on, this is definitely a valiant effort for 1988.

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

Atari A to Z

Evercade A to Z: Galaxian

Do you like to shoot, but also to think? Then you should give Namco’s Galaxian a shot (no pun intended) — it’s a game where attempting to go in all guns blazing will quickly end in failure.

The Famicom version, seen here as part of the Namco Museum Collection 1 cartridge for the Evercade, is a great adaptation of the arcade classic with pretty authentic sound and visuals — and a very authentic challenge factor!

Witness my intergalactic incompetence in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari A to Z: River Raid

River Raid is probably my favourite game on the Atari 8-bit. The Atari 2600 version is arguably more well-known, but the Atari 2600 version — which also appeared on the ill-fated Atari 5200 — is superior in pretty much every way.

For the unfamiliar, River Raid is one of the original vertically scrolling shoot ’em ups, and made use of some clever programming techniques to squeeze the entire game into a tiny amount of space. It’s one of Activision’s finest games of the 8-bit era, and a game I still enjoy on a regular basis today.

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

Atari A to Z

Galaxian: The Thinking Man’s Fixed Shooter

For quite some time — particularly during the crossover from the 8-bit to 16-bit home computer and console eras — shoot ’em ups were regarded as the “dumb” side of gaming; critics often thought we could “do better”.

These days, of course, the more discerning gamers among us will, of course, be able to recognise that 1) there are a wide variety of different types of shoot ’em up out there, many of which are intricately designed works of mechanical artistry, and 2) they’re absolutely not as mindless as some people might like to make them out to be. And, moreover, they haven’t been for a long time.

Not sure about that? Look back on Namco’s Galaxian, originally released to arcades in 1979 and ported to a wide variety of platforms over the following years. The version we’re primarily concerned with today is the Famicom version from 1984, which you can now enjoy worldwide as part of the Namco Museum Collection 1 cartridge for the Evercade retro gaming system.

Continue reading Galaxian: The Thinking Man’s Fixed Shooter