Final Boss is a retro, indie shooter. It's a little heavier on the memorization than I like my shooters to be, but it's a a solid game which has a lot of awesome homages to older games. The current version is a demo, containing only two stages; at the end of each stage, you're given the choice between one of two additional weapons which will change your ship's loadout.
The game itself doesn't seem to have a website, so I've linked above to a blog post on it including a lot of screenshots and the game's two preview videos.
ETA: One of these days I will get this URL tag thing right.
One of these days.
Last Edit: Dec 18, 2009 18:08:48 GMT -5 by Strider
Just as the title says, a 3D update of Scorched Earth - stationary artillery pieces trying to blow each other up by regulating the height and power of the shot, and then firing in a turn-based gameplay, all in a destructible environment. The third dimension makes things less intuitive but the "core" is stll there, and obviously gives its best when played against other human opponents. One fun trick to pull, is making the projectiles bounce on the invisibile barrier surrounding the islands, then hit the opponent. The game was frequently updated over the years to enhance its graphics and add new weapons and play modes, and comes with some mods too.
Started rather humbly with a short first games in early 2004, this series of adventures counts seven episodes now. Despite the really amateurish graphics of the early instalments (character portraits were horrible), and a rather varying quality of puzzles and dialogues, the series has steadily grown over time, also featuring an overarching (if not terribly developed) plot. Episodes 3 and 6 are the best IMO. The third episode has two possibile endings, but only the "best" one is considered canon with the sequels. The first episode has an expanded remake (which is canonical over the first version) and even a fangame called Sven Gordan: Paranormal Parody, same puzzles and basic storyline but new graphics and different dialogue. The seventh episode, released in summer 2008, ends on a cliffhanger; the development of the eight and final episode seems stalled for now, in favor of a remake of the second episode.
What a coincidence, just played it yesterday! I already liked the older version but the latest is even better. For who doesn't know, Genetos starts as a Space Invaders clone but, gaining levels through collected bonuses, the ship and levels evolve to later generations of shooting games, with according movement ability, weapons and graphics, down to the awesome, surreal final level. I second Strider's recommendation. So let's keep in the genre with my next...
The title must have been created with some random generator, since there's not a single piece of metal in the game: even the player's "ship" is an organic monstrosity, moving in one of the most bloody environments I've ever seen in a shmup. The second level, with damned people on rocks and crosses that you can accidentally mutilate, is particularly disturbing. There are only five levels, but the extreme difficulty will make them seem longer - this is a true bullet hell, even at the lowest difficulty. Not surprisingly, in place of the bombs, we find slow motion charges lasting about 15 seconds each. Up to two bars can be charged by bullet grazing, and a short but devastating burst (it even cancels bullets) is activated when you voluntarily let the "ship" be hit. Graphics are good and creepy, but the palette is a study on the dark tonalities of red.
Due to this first game, the developer called itself "Dark Hell Company", but following games never went back to such a theme, following a more classic sci-fi/mecha theme: Urban Uprising and Urban Uprising: Dark New World (same game with a different weapons system) are top-down while Warmachine Overload is side-scrolling. Sonic Ironstorm, Demolition Gunner and Tank Domination were originally made for a 3-minute games contest and later expanded, but are still games with short levels and timed boss fights. At this point, the developer changed name to Astro Port and apprently "disowned" Psyche Metal, since it's the only game not listed on the site anymore. Its latest games (like Armed 7, Meglilo, and the brand-new Adventum) are doujin and more anime-inspired, although there'a still a couple freewares released in the meantime. Not to be missed by fans of the genre.
A Space Harrier clone featuring the Giko-neko & Co. Little more to say, it's practically the same game with more humorous and cartoonish graphics, and simple, unadulterated, fun retro gameplay. There's also a version for Mac OsX, seems exactly the same as the Windows one but I can't verify.
I admit I'm quite fond of this game because I played it when my interest for freeware games was blooming, and it hasn't aged very well: graphics are very simple, the movement engine is badly programmed (you can hang on platforms with the tip of the shotgun), the scropting of a couple of action sequences is weird, and it's short, with long cutscenes. Still, it predates the "stylish graphics" habit of recent productions, offers some neat details (animations are nicely done, especially the "death" of the main character), and the cutscenes are hilarious, the game never takes itself seriously, right from the premise of Switzerland sending a battle droid to investigate a secret base in Egypt. It's worth completing just for unlocking the "out-takes".
The titular droid also appears in a minigame called Penguin Dash 2, a hopeless fight against a horde of penguins; he'll drag as many as possibile with himself to hell, shooting them down with style, as he can perform Matrix-style jumps and somersaults, worth extra points. Nice perspective: the character is on the background and the penguins on the foreground.
The first episode, released in 2003, was one of the most impressive Clicktools productions at the time, thanks to excellent pixel graphics and music. It's a strange side-scrolling RPG, built around battles blending turn-based and real-time gameplay: the characters perform their actions automatically when it's their turn, so they must be carefully programmed, but the sequence can be changed anytime during the battle; the characters stand still but their position (front, middle or back) can be changed anytime. While not accessible to anyone (the gameplay is a love-or-hate affair IMO), it's a game that stands out for quality and originality. An improved sequel was released in 2008 and it's commercially sold (recently the price dropped to $10).
vvvvvv is an indie platformer made in flash by Terry Cavanagh. The game features retro style graphics and gameplay where the only challenge is navigating the environment. However, rather than jumping, you flip gravity to move around the levels. You can only flip when you are standing on a floor or ceiling and it's more challenging than it first appears. The full game is $15 and there is also a soundtrack for $4. I've linked the demo version hosted on Kongregate so you can try the game out. The demo is only 15 minutes and is missing story scenes, but the full game seems to be pretty lengthy along with a few bonuses.
Debt is another retro style platformer, this time made for TIGSource'sAssemblee game competition. The basic plot of the game is that you're a space pilot that has run up a huge debt and now the intergalactic debt agency is looking to repossess all your stuff. You have fifteen minutes to pay off as much of your debt as possible by collecting treasure hidden on various planets. The game plays in two parts: the first part has you navigating your ship and dodging asteroids before landing on a planet. When planetside, the game turns into a standard platformer where you must collect treasure scattered around. If you die, you lose one minute off your time limit. Each planet promises different challenges and possibly boss fights with naked golden men and other assorted baddies.
Last Edit: Jan 11, 2010 12:47:04 GMT -5 by Snarboo
Post by Gendo Ikari on Jan 17, 2010 15:24:02 GMT -5
Merry Gear Solid: Secret Santa by Arhur Lee (the man behind the eternally-in-development The Underside) is, as the title implies, a parody of Hideo Kojima's series, starring Santa Claus on a mission to deliver presents in a house infested by naughty kids. Short and with some limits due to the movement being grid-based, but fun nonetheless, also thanks to the wacky premise, the absurd twist ending and the awesome sound: complete dubbing, original soundtrack, and even an original song for the ending credits.
The recent sequel Merry Gear Solid 2: Ghosts of Christmas Past takes the parody on a greater level with a plot that not only makes things (needlessly) more complicated, but also takes place after MGS4 - the player controls (C)Old Snake this time. Longer, plenty of new weapons and situations, fourth-wall-breaking bosses, better engine and graphics (but why Snake simply slides on walls?), even more awesome sound, and plenty of humorous references to its inspirer, down to a "Previous Operations" section. Recommended.