Monday, October 19, 2015
By: Matthew Doucette
If you like retro games and have not heard of Racketboy, then acquaint yourself! It is a top retro gaming website with an active forum.
BulletMagnet of Racketboy picked Score Rush (and suggested Decimation X series) as "The Best Shmups to Get Started (Beginner Shmups to Get You Started)"!
I am impressed with BulletMagnet's knowledge of our titles (links added by us):
[Decimation X series]
Suggested Followup [to Jamestown] : Just below here you’ll encounter an entry by indie studio Xona [Games], which just so happens to specialize in multiplayer shooters: before jumping in let’s warm up with another one (or three, actually) by those guys. At first blush their trio of “Decimation X” titles (all available on XBLIG, and the middle entry on Windows phones, with a fourth currently in the oven) immediately register as fan-made tributes to Space Invaders, and they pretty much are, though I suspect that the game’s original designers and programmers would have snapped into foaming conniptions if they’d seen these suckers up and running during Taito’s early arcade days.
The staging is exactly the same as three or more decades ago (move back and forth, aliens descend, shoot them, don’t get shot yourself), but with every single dial, knob and switch set to “illogical conclusion”: hoard enough powerups and your guns will rip through the enemy ranks (and those puny floating shields) like a hot knife through butter, but the merciless scads of bullets the descending hordes volley back will demand very precise dodging to weather on your end. Up to four people (assuming none of you have heart conditions) can get in on the madness, and you only need a buck to get past the velvet rope out front…though said rope should probably have a “you must be THIS insane to ride” sign on it.
(Xona Games – 2010 – XBLA – US)
The ongoing debate as to whether “twin-stick” shooters (a la Robotron) are “technically” shmups is unlikely to abate anytime soon, but either way, while we were all squabbling about it Bizarre Creations’ surprisingly successful minigame Geometry Wars almost single-handedly revitalized the subgenre and got a whole new audience interested in the timeless battle between glowy abstract shapes. Thanks to this bit of developmental audacity there are countless variations on the theme to choose from nowadays, most coming courtesy of small independent outfits, but the XBLA-exclusive Score Rush [coming to PS4 soon] manages to clamber above the rest (and onto the tail end of this list) for a couple of reasons, not least because it serves as a particularly finely-tuned “middle ground” between twin-stick and “traditional” scrolling shooters.
For starters, it’s a snap to get oneself (and one’s pals) right into the thick of it: aside from the requisite pair of sticks for moving and aiming/shooting, you need one measly additional button for last-ditch nukes, and the only pickups are standard-issue lives, bombs, shot upgrades and “option” helpers to give your attacks a bit more “oomph”, so everyone can instinctively grab whatever’s within their reach and stay focused on the fight at hand. There are several distinct levels of challenge to test your mettle, and things can get plenty hectic as you push father in, with enough pyrotechnics present that your eyes may need a little time to adjust, but enemy bullets are mercifully easier to distinguish here than in many similar shooters, and daring to get in close to the game’s well-armored bosses allows your full spread to sink in and bring the beasts down more quickly.
Once you’ve got a second player (and possibly a third and fourth) involved the game doles out color-coded pickups for each of you, so one person can’t accidentally (or “accidentally”) hoard them all for himself. While individual scores for all players are tallied separately, the “main” point total recorded at the end is everyone’s combined take, so the emphasis is definitely on working in tandem towards a shared, brag-worthy goal. When one of you dies that section of the screen is temporarily cleared out, so while more confident teams can split up to draw enemy fire newbies can stick close to a “mentor” and know they’ve got a way out even if sensei loses a step. The game can be played for free in your internet browser or bought for a dollar on XBLA’s Indie store, so there’s not much reason to delay finding out just how much of it you and your compadres can handle.
We are in some distinguished company, including:
- TechnoSoft, of Thunder Force series fame
- Cave, generally considered to be the best shmup developer of all by hardcore fans.
- Konami, of Gradius series fame.
Also read BulletMagnet's "Shmups 101: A Beginner’s Guide to 2D Shooters".
That is all!
About the Author: I am Matthew Doucette of Xona Games, an award-winning indie game studio that I founded with my twin brother. We make intensified arcade-style retro games. Our business, our games, our technology, and we as competitive gamers have won prestigious awards and received worldwide press. Our business has won $190,000 in contests. Our games have ranked from #1 in Canada to #1 in Japan, have become #1 best sellers in multiple countries, have won game contests, and have held 3 of the top 5 rated spots in Japan of all Xbox LIVE indie games. Our game engines have been awarded for technical excellence. And we, the developers, have placed #1 in competitive gaming competitions -- relating to the games we make. Read about our story, our awards, our games, and view our blog.