Saturday, January 15, 2005

Cyberpunk and the Art of Deconstruction

Recently I've been playing Anarchy Online and a lot of those freeware japanese shoot-em-ups (shmups). 

My AO game is progressing very slowly due to only having a couple hours a night to play anything. Stupid life! This is my very first MMORPG to speak of and I must say, it's terribly boring. The combat is automatic on the "barbarian" classes and the Nanotechnicians (mages) are pretty much just point and click. I'm not sure what I expected but gameplay has gone right out the window on this one, I hear most MMORPGs are played this way, too. That being said it has it's good points. The world is spectacular and the team battles can be kind of fun when battle gets heavy and people start dying. Also, when you get an implant that suits your character it's rather exciting. These sparks of elation are too few and far between and getting more rare as my character progresses, unfortunately.
**It's crack. I can't stop playing except to get in some time with my insane japanese shmups, which are sex.**
Ah, stupidly hard shooters! These misleadingly simple verticle and horizontal scolling shooters are one of the staples of the gaming industry yet are totally underrated. Gradius V was the last big one to be released here and, though I haven't actually played it, I have seen the "perfect" video which was supposedly released the day Gradius V was released. This video is an expose in gameplay and is extremely... how do you say in english.. f****** nuts. If there is anyone who hasn't seen it, seek it out and get it.
I seem to have drifted off topic slightly. The fighters I've been playing recently are japanese freeware and play like showcases for complex patterns, this is not a bad thing. In fact Siroi Danmakukun is can more accurately be described as a dodge-em-up rather than the more traditional title of shmup as there is no fire buttion whatsoever but rather has a "go slowly" button. The game is, basically, you (a dot) vs the enemy (another dot) and an enourmous amount of complexity. My best is nine seconds, but to give myself credit I've only played a couple times, as yet.
Anyone who's anyone should try TUMIKI Fighters. I've heard it described as a "Katamari Damacy shmup" in that you can attach bits of the ships you've destroyed to your own for protection as well as having a Katamari Damacy-esque colour scheme and blocky graphics. This one is definately an innovation in shmup gameplay if not gameplay in general.
Another couple of very good games are by a guy who, I believe, calls himself Hikoza'n-CHI X and are entitled Shooters Solitude and Warning Forever. SS is a traditional shooter and features four different weapons which you power up (as far as I can tell) by killing enemies. The real game to play on this page is Warning Forever, though. It's basically boss battle after increasingly hard boss battle. The aimed cannon is one of the best executed aimed weapons I've seen in a shmup and make the game extremely fun to play.
The game I've been playing the most is called CHO REN SHA 68K. It's a traditional arcade-style shmup and is just insanely fun to play. The colors and music are awesome, the gameplay goes from the simplest style of ship shooting satisfaction to some difficult dodging whilst holding the turbo button down. Also, it has a bomb button, something definately lacking in a lot of modern shmups.
This has been my time alone for the past week or two. If anyone knows of any more of these freeware jaanese shooters i would love to hear about them. I seem to have started a small collection. 

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