Reckon you’re good at shoot ’em ups? I certainly don’t, but sometimes it’s nice to be able to quantify exactly how bad you are at something.
Enter Shmups Skill Test by Triangle Service, then, a game that attempts to analyse your performance in a selection of common shoot ’em up skill areas, including avoiding bullets, avoiding obstacles, shooting things and TANK TANK TANK TANK TANK.
It’s an unusual one for sure, and a great title to bust out for an impromptu tournament, particularly if you’re all as bad as each other!
While there’s much to be said for a traditional shoot ’em up in which you simply blast everything while trying not to get blasted in return, sometimes it’s nice to enjoy something a bit different.
Triangle Service’s Minus Zero, part of the Shooting Love. 200X collection, is a great example. Consisting entirely of “lock-on” shooting and a nifty invincibility gimmick, it’s a highly enjoyable game that is great for a quick fix of making things explode should you feel the need — a single game is done and dusted in a matter of minutes, even if you can clear the whole thing!
Today, you can enjoy it either as part of the Shooting Love. 200X compilation on Xbox 360 (which is not region-free in its physical incarnation, but is available via the Games On Demand download platform in North America and Europe) or on PC via its Steam release.
Triangle Service is not exactly what you’d call a household name in the shoot ’em up sector, but over the years they’ve been quietly beavering away to produce some enjoyable, addictive games.
Probably their most well-known output is their Zeal series, which consists of XIIZeal (actually a port of a PS2-era shoot ’em up called XII Stag), ΔZeal (pronounced “Deltazeal”, not “Trianglezeal”, as I referred to it for a long time), Trizeal and Exzeal — but you may also have stumbled across their more unusual titles such as Shmups Skills Test and Minus Zero at some point in the past.
Today we’re going to take a look at Exzeal, released for Xbox 360 as part of the Shooting Love. 200X compilation (which, pro-tip, is not region-free in its physical incarnation, unlike many other Xbox 360 shmups — including its stablemate Shooting Love. 10-shuunen) and subsequently for PC via Steam.
Continue reading Shmup Essentials: Exzeal
Shoot ’em ups are one of the oldest types of video game, having been around pretty much since the birth of the medium. So in order to stand out in this modern era, a new shmup needs to either do what it does really well… or do something unusual.
Triangle Service’s Minus Zero, originally released as part of the Xbox 360 compilation Shooting Love 200X in 2009, opts for the latter approach. It’s one of the most unusual shoot ’em ups out there — and one of the most addictive.
It’s a completely abstract game, consisting entirely of geometric shapes accompanied by a background and soundtrack that increase in complexity as you progress, but its main twist on the usual formula is that the only weapon you can use is a “lock-on” similar to that used in Sega’s Rez.
Continue reading Shmup Essentials: Minus Zero