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Coin-Op Shooter hysteria in your living room

Review: V-Scroll-Shoot’em’ups with MAME

Nothing rocks more for a spontaneous minute fun than playing a session of arcade shoot’em’ups! They always kicked up the limit of graphic power in the eighties and nineties that home computers couldn’t provide! Nowadays someone who collects and eventually owns a room full of arcade machines could count himself to the happy ones owning these oversized piggy banks! But with a PC or Mac and a recent version of MAME (Multi Arcade Machine Emulator) there’s nothing in the way for some fast paced fun!For this reason I’m going to introduce some of my favorite Shoot’em’ups here …

Gunbird

This game is definitely one of the more popular ones and that not without reason! You can choose from five characters, Ash, Marion, Valnus, Yuan Nang and Tetsu who will fire their way through the enemy packed levels! Everyone of them has their own set of weapons and extra weapons and their own transportation method. So comes that Marion flies on a witch broom and Testu in his wooden helicopter. That’s right, the game theme is somewhat set into a fantasy world but still with high powered hi-tech weaponry included.

The character has to find various parts of an ancient mirror to get access to a secret realm in the later parts of the game. That’s nothing to worry about as this is just part of the story and happens automatically.

The content of the game is just firing against enemies and firing again, just how it belongs for a stable shoot’em’up! The villains are a troop that appears at the end of each level as the boss fight in huge machinery.

The graphics are upper average for a game from 94 and the sprites can become very plenty and screen filling at times. The gameplay stays fair in terms of bullet count on the screen compared to other shooters and the music adds the right arcade feel to the game which means it puts a good pastime atmosphere on top of it. The japanese version of the game is somewhat harder than the world release as it always starts from the level beginning again when a credit was used after a demise while the world version continues right at the last location in the level.

I can recommend this game to anyone who wants to take a closer look on arcade shoot’em’ups!

Armed Police Batrider

APB is one of these games I call shooter orgy! There’s hardly ever one moment where the screen isn’t filled with enemies and bullets. That makes this game one of the nore hectic ones. Overall the game isn’t very long but rather difficult because of the heavy hostile fire. But luckily your fighter can take several hits before it blasts him into oblivion.

The graphics are very good again and the sound is more a heavy metal theme mixed with typical arcade style music. Weapon powerups can be collected all over the time and the weapons get very huge power after a short while which makes the gameplay more addicting.

You can select a player team at the beginning depending on the mode that you choose and each pilot has it’s own weapons style.

Overall this game offers a nice and fast paced action for a short while with three difficulty degrees.

Arcade feel with screen flip

All of these v-scrollers make an extra fun with vertically turned monitor screen! MAME supports to flip the screen to vertical so if you flip your monitor also you will get a larger screen field for the game, just like on arcade machines.

I’ve tried it several times and this feature adds alot of arcade feel to your computer in your living room! However if you don’t own a second screen it can get bothersome soon to turn the screen always upright and back again. I suggest you should try it at least once to get a taste of the big difference that it makes. Useful here if your screen got a degauss function.

DoDonPachi

This game offers the highest firepower I’ve seen so far in a shoot’em’up! Mostly the screen is full of yellowish red explosions accompanied by huge explosion sound fx. The sound fx in this shooter are actually the fattest ones I’ve heard so far as well … maybe not if you’re playing with pc multimedia speakers but on a stereo it sound simply blasting!

As mentioned the screen is full of fire! Your main weapon fires like the hell and if you hold the fire key you’ll get a laser which gets fatter and fatter the more power-ups you collect. With your smart bomb you summon an explosion and turn all current bullets on the screen into bonus points. This is especially useful when fighting against one of these nasty bosses who will fill up the screen!

This game will keep you seriously at the screen for some time with it’s massive sound fx and explosions!

… These were three of my favorite shooters though there are more which I like to play, for example Cyvern, Change Air Blade, Final Star Force or Lethal Thunder. But I’m hoenstly too lazy now to write about all of them! … Maybe I will on a second part!

If you know any other thrilling shoot’em’ups that are not mentioned here just let me know and drop a short line here and I will have a look on them!

  1. April 18th, 2009 at 00:45 | #1

    cool! Nice to see Flash Designers/Developers interested in old school shootem’ups. Try stuff like: Mars Matrix, ProGear( No Arashi), Blazing Star etc. If you’re looking for decent shootem ups look for games by these guys: Treasure, Cave, Psikyo. Capcom has the nifty 19xx series, Taito has some old niceties, Raiden is still produced and I remember some nice ones for Sega Saturn as well.

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