January 27, 2024

38. Screaming chicken Shm’ups

We're back with a whopper! Today, we're diving into Shoot 'em Up territory with special guest Mark.

Before we jump into our game picks – GG Aleste 3 (Game Gear), The Last Defender (Commodore 64), Inviyya (Amiga) and Satazius Next (Dreamcast) – we chat about game cosmetics and cool retro discoveries like the Nirvana engine, KeeperFX, and the Ayaneo Retro Mini.

Plus, we'll share some favorite shoot 'em up memories and food talk. Get some popcorns, headphones and relax!

0:00:00 2:58:24
  • NGOF Award winner GG Aleste 3
    |
    6,800.00 JPY
    | Get it here

    Our first entry presents players with intricate mechanics and diverse landscapes in a vertical shoot ’em up style. Developed by M2, the game emphasizes intense bullet-dodging while highlighting the importance of pickups for upgrading weapons. Various secondary weapons and big P chips enhance the experience, providing depth to the gameplay.

    As players progress through GG Aleste 3, they face a significant increase in difficulty, especially in later stages featuring creatively designed bosses with unique mechanics. However, the Gradius problem of downgrading upon death can pose challenges, particularly in bullet-filled screens.

    The game boasts stunning graphics and music, pushing the Game Gear’s limits while occasionally causing slowdowns and flicker, integrated into the gameplay for bullet-dodging purposes. Limited availability, primarily in Japan through the Aleste Collection on Switch and PS4, along with its high cost and regional restrictions, may deter some players.
    Nonetheless, for enthusiasts, GG Aleste 3 remains a title worth exploring due to its quality and legacy.

  • The Last Defender
    |
    Name your own price
    | Get it here

    Developed by LC Games (Luca Carminati), this game emerges as a noteworthy alternative title in the shoot ’em up genre. The Last Defender, a vertical shooter without scrolling, features a hero fending off an alien invasion with a laser gun. Players navigate at ground level, moving sideways and shooting upwards.

    Challenging yet not overly frustrating, The Last Defender balances difficulty adeptly. The game has a visual cue system, indicating impending alien attacks and showing the number of hits needed to clear a level. This aspect, coupled with varying enemy resilience, demands strategic shooting. Additionally, the game’s laser gun features a recharge speed mechanic, emphasizing conservative use of ammunition. This design choice, along with bonus points for accuracy, differentiates it from traditional shoot ’em ups where indiscriminate shooting is common.

    Despite its impressive gameplay, this title has its drawbacks. The lack of background music, only featuring noise effects, might be due to technical limitations or time constraints. The game’s visuals, while adequate, seem a bit repetitive, with backgrounds appearing “samey”, however, what it presents is polished, including a pulsating horizontal line whose purpose remains unclear.
    Overall, The Last Defender stands out as a unique and enjoyable entry in the Commodore 64 library.

  • Inviyya
    |
    12.00 USD
    | Get it here

    Created by Tiger Skunk, this is a visually stunning shoot ’em up that pays homage to classic titles while incorporating modern elements. The game features horizontal scrolling with intricate level designs, demanding precise navigation and shooting. Players control a spaceship, progressing through levels with increasing complexity and enemy variety. In our opinion the game’s art style is heavily influenced by Bitmap Brothers and Agony, with well-drawn levels and enemies that showcase the Amiga’s graphical capabilities.

    Despite its visual appeal, Inviyya presents a small learning curve, especially at the beginning due to the slow speed of the spaceship. This aspect can make initial survival challenging, but as players collect speed upgrades, control becomes more manageable. The game lacks a variety of power-ups, focusing instead on a few key upgrades that change the dynamics of gameplay. The absence of bombs or charge beams simplifies the mechanics, making it accessible yet challenging.

    The soundtrack is a mix of techno and disco tunes, with the first level’s music standing out for its adrenaline-inducing quality. Sound effects, particularly the explosions, add to the game’s immersive experience, although some may find the shooting sounds a bit tinny. Overall Inviyya is a commendable effort by Tiger Skunk, showcasing what can be achieved on the Amiga platform. It’s a game that appeals to both fans of retro shooters and those seeking a fresh challenge on a classic system.

  • Satazius Next
    |
    44.49 USD
    | Get it here

    Delivering an engaging shoot ’em up experience with intricate gameplay mechanics and diverse level designs, Satazius Next for the Dreamcast embodies the classic horizontal scrolling shooter style. Players navigate through various levels filled with unique challenges and enemy patterns. The game offers a wide array of weapons and power-ups, allowing for strategic choices and gameplay variation. As players progress, the difficulty ramps up, demanding skill and precision to overcome each level’s obstacles.

    Visually stunning the game impresses with its detailed sprite work and smooth animations, showcasing the Dreamcast’s graphical capabilities. The game’s visuals evoke a retro charm while incorporating modern design elements, creating an immersive gaming experience. Complementing the visuals, the game’s soundtrack adds to the overall atmosphere, enhancing the excitement and intensity of the gameplay.

    The game has received positive reception from both fans and critics alike, praised for its challenging gameplay and captivating visuals. While the game’s difficulty may present a challenge for some players, its fair balance ensures an enjoyable experience for shoot ’em up enthusiasts. As a quality title for the Dreamcast, Satazius Next contributes to the console’s legacy of hosting exceptional shoot ’em up games. For fans of the genre, it’s a must-have addition to their gaming collection, offering a blend of nostalgia and contemporary game design.