shoot-em-up

Decimation X (Video Game Review)

Video Game Review
Decimation X
Xbox 360 (Xbox Live Indie Games)
2010
Developed by: Xona Games
Published by: Xona Games

Space Invaders clones are a dime-a-dozen in the gaming sphere although they’re less prevalent in today’s age than during the golden age of the arcades. To simply dismiss Xona Games’s Decimation X as a clone of one of the originators of the shoot-em-up genre is selling the game short. That being said, it’s not much different from Space Invaders. The graphics are not much better and the action is very similar (think of the original game but as if it were on steroids). Decimation X is a pretty good game at a great price that will easily suck away much of your spare time.

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Centipede (Video Game Review)

Video Game Review
Centipede
Arcade
1980
Developer: Atari
Publisher: Atari

During the golden age of the arcades, you couldn’t throw a stone in an arcade and not hit at least a dozen shoot-em-up games. Centipede was one of the top games of its generation and still holds up reasonably well despite not being all that flashy. For those who like classic arcade action, Centipede is a solid bet. However, for those who have grown up with games that have things like a background and a decent soundtrack, it might be a bit problematic.

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Space Invaders (Video Game Review)

Video Game Review
Space Invaders
Arcade
1978
Developed by: Taito
Published by: Midway (North America)

It’s hard to evaluate a game that was published in 1978 by today’s standards (and it will probably be even more so for people in the future). When Space Invaders came out, it was seen as a revolutionary game that dominated the video game industry. It was so popular yet so simple a game that when the sequel came out a year later, the only thing Taito/Midway did was include colour; and that was more a trick than actual software/hardware engineering as they simply put colour filters over certain parts of the screen. Still, playing Space Invaders today is still quite a bit of fun. Graphically and technically it has been surpassed by modern games but, due to a strong foundation, it is still provides for a good time.

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A Space Shooter for Two Bucks! (Video Game Review)

Video Game Review
A Space Shooter for Two Bucks!
Playstation Portable (PSP Mini)
2010
Developer: Frima Studio
Publisher: Frima Studio

Few cheap games are actually worth their low price tag. The PSP Minis have been more miss than hit but there are still plenty of gems to be found. Frima Studio’s A Space Shooter for Two Bucks! is an incredibly fun game at its price point…which just so happens to be two bucks. It’s fun, enjoyable, and provides a cheap thrill that’s well worth it’s cost.

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Gradius (Video Game Review)

Video Game Review
Gradius
Nintendo Entertainment System
1986
Developed by: Konami
Published by: Konami

If it weren’t for one special thing about Gradius for the NES, the game would be an average shoot-em-up for the system. The power-up selector made Gradius a worthwhile game. Not only does it make it better than most of the games in its genre on the NES but also makes it a standout game compared to titles of the same genre on more powerful systems. Konami got lucky with Gradius because aside from this major part of gameplay, the game at its core feels very generic. Still, Gradius is still an enjoyable game.

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Galaga (Video Game Review)

 

Video Game Review
Galaga
Arcade
1981
Developed by: Namco
Published by: Midway

It would be unfair to point at Namco’s Galaga and say that it’s nothing more than a sequel (of Galaxian) of a rip-off (of Space Invaders). Truth be told, such a lame assessment holds quite a bit of truth. However, not only is Galaga much better than either Galaxian or Space Invaders but it is one of the best arcade games of its era. It’s fun, exciting, and keeps you hungry for more. It’s only drawback—and it’s a big one—is that it will eventually be less fun and exciting after each playthrough and eventually you’ll finally have had your fill. As a diversion though, it is definitely worth playing…one quarter at a time.

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Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2 (Video Game Review)

Video Game Review
Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2
Microsoft Xbox 360 (Xbox Live)
2008
Developer: Bizarre Creations
Publisher: Activision

It’s hard to imagine what Bizarre Creations and Activision could do to the Geometry Wars formula to make a sequel worth buying but Retro Evolved 2 is probably as interesting an evolution to the formula as we’re going to get short of the fantastic Geometry Wars: Galaxies. The game that basically defined the twin-stick shooter genre is at its downloadable best here although it does suffer from a few shortcomings.

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1942 (MB Hall of Fame Inductee)

1942
Hall of Fame Inductee
1942
Original Release: 1984 (Arcade)
Designed by: Yoshiki Okamoto
Developed by: Capcom
Published by: Capcom

The fact that 1942 was the first successful shoot-em-up for the start-up Capcom back in 1984 is something that could not have been predicted by most. 1942 was not Capcom’s first game in the genre. Nor was it its best-looking or complex at the time. However, 1942 still managed to be a huge success for the company and took away many quarters from much more impressive looking games. Its simple charm was seen by most as a good thing. Even today, with the game looking like an antique even compared to other 2D shoot-em-ups, it still can entice gamers to lose hours in trying to fight off enemy ships while flying loop-de-loops.

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Vulgus (Video Game Review)

Video Game Review
Vulgus
Arcade
1984
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom, SNK

Capcom isn’t notorious for having great shoot-em-ups but their first video game ever was a vertical shooter. Vulgus, co-published with SNK, was a solid arcade game that took in quite a bit of quarters back in the day. While there are more sophisticated shooters now, it still is an enjoyable diversion that provides a formidable challenge.

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