MMT, doujin game review

MMT or the oddly translated full name (deep breath) incredibly bad relationship where there once upon a time Thanks for coming for the princess and the twin tail. Which as you can guess I wont be saying again, is a cutesy platformer that uses the pick up and throw mechanic of Doki doki panic or Super Mario Bros 2 in the west. But where as before we had a fat plumer and his crew or a family of turbin wearers in MMT, doujin been doujin, you will control a cute girl who fights lots of other cute girls by pulling even more cute girls out of the ground and like in Doki Doki Mario throw said cute girl and enemy cute girl. As I said this is doujin and males in these games are an endangered species.

 Since the game has a intro and generic before boss battle cut scenes there must also be a story and a plot but since its all in Japanese I cant read squat. From what I can gather you are a princess or witch that lives in a land where people have planted themselves into the ground (weird I know), and you’re fighting against your twin sister and later on another magical girl. As to why your fighting your guess is as good as mine. Luckly for us the story is unimportant and you not knowing how to read kanji has no bearing on you playing the game as normal.


 Gameplay is quite simple you walk from left to right jumping on to differing platforms or using a second button to pick up plant people or enemies and lob them at other enemies. If you hold down the pick up/ throw button you can throw a charged shot which depending on what you’re throwing will make various attacks. The different types of girls you can pull out of the ground all have special charge attacks: Green girls are normal striaght shots, red girls will propel you forwards destroying most things you attack with that single hit, blue girls will make a simlar attack but propel you upwards. There are more plant girls but they’re pritty rare until the later stages so you will mostly be using those 3 basic charged attacks. The later 2 been great for getting to platforms you otherwise could’nt reach.

 The game has 5 long stages that are ok to play though but for me the best parts of MMT are the end of stage boss battles. The bosses on your 1st attempt are quite hard to beat, I found I had to continue the game once or twice to get past them, with the last boss by far the hardest nut to crack imo.

 Another good aspect of MMT is there are lots of secrets to find, with many hearts and lives hidden behind false walls or seemingly out of reach platforms. MMT does have a lot of replay value if you’re into finding secrets. The best items to find are keys. Each stage has a key that is hidden, if you manage to find one the game will always remember how many you’ve collected in total, plus will show you in the main menu. I havn’t collected every key but I’m guessing that if you collect all of them, the hidden option in the main menu will be unlocked. What that option does is a mistery, although I’ve seen a video called Neo MMT, a demo that is in hard mode. Since there is no option available to change difficulty then the hidden option may have something to do with it.

Negative Aspects

 Playing on Win XP with the Japanese Language Pack installed I came across only 1 bug, that is when you’re fighting the bosses and you keep on dieing, for some strange reason the timer isn’t reset. So that for every 3 or 4 lives lost fighting a boss you’ll lose a life to time out. After which you will restart with a imo lowly 150 seconds. Its not a too big a pain in the arse though since you can amass lots of lives and you do get unlimted continues aswell.

 Compared to other platformers the game is a little too simple especially playing the earlly stages. Things definatly pick up half way through the game when you reach the castle, stage 1 on the other hand is very boreing and you’ll find yourself racing to get to the end of level boss and the fun. Although ive seen many worse examples then this, a major design flaw many bedroom game makers do is to have the stage 1 gameplay way to simple and boring and expect the player to be still playing the game when the good parts starts. This might have been ok 10 years ago but todays gamers including me are less willing to put up with shit game design.

 As I said the stages do pick up when you reach the castle but this is mostly to do with the host of stronger enemies that you face and generally not because the platforming aspects of the game are done better. Infact if you were expecting jumping / platforming to be on par with Doki Doki Mario you will be disapointed. MMT more of a beat em up with some platforming added on. Treating the game as such makes for a much more enjoyable game.


 For what it is, MMT isn't a bad game just not a great game either. Many people will only complete it once (or possibly give up at the last boss) and never pick it up again. Still if you want to try to collect all the hidden keys and unlock that option, then MMT looks a much better prospect. The game was released by the doujin circle Daisessen at C72. If you look around you might be able to grab hold of a copy. 3.1 out of 5


Arcanacra ver 0.4.3 Black Label

I dont usually play that many flash games and if I do they rarely hold my intrest longer then a hour. Arcanacra Black Label is an exeption, made by Keim the chap who made Nomltest, so if you've played that game you'll know that he knows how to make an addictive shmup. Basically he has made the impossible possible, that is to make a flash shmup play just aswell as a normal shmup that you keep on your hard drive. Personally I think Keim is a master at programming to be able to make such a thing. Ok graphics with no jerkiness, no good awfull mouse control scieme (keyboard only like all flash games so Xpadder is a must to use a pad). No kindergarden level gameplay with no pointless achievements to make up for the lack of good gameplay. Keim has managed the unthinkable and actually made a flash shmup that is fit to be called a shoot 'em up and he did this in 2007. Personally i think he will be going to hell when he dies because he has sold his soul to the devil. How else could there be a game such as this?

Jokes aside, Arcanacra is a fun game and unlike other flash offerings is made for a gamer who plays alot of shmups and has some skills in playing them. Aside from the graphics been abit on the plain side and there been no joystick support (I wouldn't know were I would be without the trusty Xpadder), Keim's game is a hell of alot of fun if I would say alittle hard in places. I think this might have more to do with just finishing playing Recca and Kairuga which are have completely different styles of play to a normal shmup of which Arcanacra is. Keim says his insperations for the game were Cho Ren Sha 68K, Warning Forever and Kenta Cho's P47. The simalarites are there especially Cho Ren Sha, which is what first came to mind when I played it well before I read Keim's comments.


 You control a spaceship with the usual small (cockpit only) bullet hell sized hit box through 6 stages where you will battle a mixture of popcorn enemies and larger ships that depending on the type will eather throw out a spray of bullets in a simple pattern or shoot aimed shots at you. The weapons at your desposable come under 4 categories: A standard forward faced shot which is paired with a side shot that increases the arc of your firepower, A stack of 3 bombs per life of which you can have 5 at maximum, they damage everything on the screen including wiping out the enemies bullets making them both offensive and good for defence. Although I find the bombs to be abit on the weak side with just one bomb not enough to destroy some of the larger enemies out right so expierienced gamers will be using bombs for last ditch defence only and will otherwise hoard them for points at the end of the level score tally. Arcanacra's fourth weapon is a Rayforce-eske lock on weapon. If you hold shift a target infront of your ship will apear and any ship under its cross-hair will automatically get hit by missiles and the longer you hold a ship over the crosshair will be hit by more and more missiles up to a certain maxiumum. As long as shift is held down you can then move the crosshair off the enemy and the missiles will continue to fire, this makes the lock on the first choice of many a gamer when tackling the end of level boss since it allows you to dodge while still lay down fire. Lock on will also slow your ship down which is handy for dodging tight spaces like in stage 2 where you have walls and blocks to crash into. Using the lock on will also stop your side shot from firing so that you will only have your forward fire to rely on.

 This creates an extra twist to the strategy since on many on the stages you can't be focused on destroying those large ships for too long as soon the screen will be full of popcorn enemies making the game harder if you arn't selective in what you destroy first to get the enemies back to a managable level. Do you go for the groups of popcorn baddies or takle the larger ships that shoot out waves of screen filling shots that make dodging the smaller ships that shoot aimed shots. Just Like Cho Ren Sha there are bonuses for you to shoot which will then desplay 3 or 4 power ups aranged in a circle that spins[, and as a joke to CRS if you manage to stay in the middle for a length of time you will instead of get all 3 power ups the screen will say Item Break and you'll get nothing hehe. You are able to power up each of you weapons to 3 with one weapon of choice to 4. What do you charge up is a matter of choice but its imo best to charge your forward facing weapon up to full asap as that weapon will allways be firing. After thats at full you can choose to power up your side weapon (great for stage 2 and killling waves of popcorn. Or your lock on (for large ships and boss fights). On those item spheres you can pick up a shield of which you can only have one at a time. Extra bombs or if you have scored enough, extra lives are awarded on the next item sphere you come across aswell.

 The game has another mode for you to play which is simler to normal mode but with lots more bullets. Skilled shmuppers only need apply. A pratice mode is also included so you can pratice a single stage as long as youve reached it in main game. There is also an online leaderboard with has a few familier names (from the shmups.com forum) at the top. You can also watch replays of your last play or your highest scoring run also you can watch replays of the top 10 players on the leaderboard. (MrMonkeyMan as always is at the top and watching hes replays hes a damn good gamer) It is good to note that everything is saved and when you return all the settings are as they were last time you played.


 The score mechanics are nothing too out of the ordenary. During play every thing is simple with the added bonus of double points for quickly destroying the largest ship types plus text will flash upon the screen to let you know you got a 'fast break'. Other then the fast break it is the end of stage score tally that awards you with extra points for each ship and bomb you have left. Points are awarded for what percentage of enemies you kill. Get a 100% kill rate and you will get a bonus of 40k making a total of 50,000. There is also a extra award of 20k for what the game describes as a secret. Im pritty sure that you have to keep shift held down for the lock on but make sure that your missiles dont fire, only use the forward fixed gun to destroy the enemies. You'll need to do this non stop for most or all of the stage, depending on the stage it can be very hard to keep this up, Imo stage 4 is the easiest since ive only maged to do it on that level.

 Other points are awarded for how much damage you layed upon the boss. Since unlike any other game ive played the boss will always blowup after a set about of time, how much you damaged it doesn't matter for progressing to the level only score. But if you manage to damage the boss alot, the warning text will flash on the screen again plus the boss will go into a frenzy shooting alot more bullets at you and if you arn't on top of your game you wont last long under the amount of hurt its sending your way. You will also be awarded an extra 20k for achieving this. In total if you play well the end of stage score arward screen will give you about as much as you can get during normal play. So like all the best shmups if you play like a pro ie hoard bombs, dont die and most of all get a 100% kill rate, your score will be alot higher then an average run where you don't manage this.

Negetive Aspects

 Onto Arcanacra Black Labels faults which are as usual for a freeware game based on the usual things that is partly to do with the limitations of the program it is programmed and run on instead of faulty game design. Like I said before there is no joystick support, making Xpadder your best friend yet again. If you like me and use an utility like Logitech Profiller you will find it wont support the game due to it been browser based and having no .exe file that the utility needs to beable to work. By far the worst aspects of Arcanacra is the fact it is slightly old and Keim hasnt been upgrading the game to work with the latest versions of the browsers. The latest vesion of Internet Explorer wont work with the game, for some reason the main menu wont show on screen. The other browser I have on my PC is Mozilla Firefox which does work. But even thats without its own hick ups. For everytime I get a new highscore and it's worthy of been on the leaderboard, the game will ask for my name and a comment. If I enter anything in and select ok the game freezes, forcing me to reload the page. All records of my highscore are lost, no saved replay and worse of all no name on the online leader board. The best solution is to select decline and no send any info to the leaderboard. Atleast this way your replay and highscore are saved for you alone. Wether this happens in a different browser I cant say but this is a really big shame as the main reason many people will play a flash shmup even one as good as Arcanacra is to see if you can beat your fellow shmuppers on the online leaderboards. Still me and a couple of others have left comments on the games comments section so that Keim will read them and hopefully fix the problem, fingers crossed.

 There are in my opinon a couple of gameplay aspects which some may find unsavory. First is that the the difficult curve of the bosses is off. The stage 2 boss is lot more harder then stages 3 and 4 bosses. This is negated to some extent for gamers just playing for suvival, because with the boss will blowing up after a certain time it's possible to just bomb your way through the boss and use the invunalbilty you get from picking up power ups to cheese your way through it. Wether you see this as a good or bad thing will depend on how good a player you are since a gamer who is finding the game too difficult may see this as a blessing.

 If you like Cho Ren Sha 68K or any other normal average shmup that doesn't try to be too different then you will enjoy this game. Sure there are alot of other doujin and commercial shmups that are better then this game. But the main thing Arcanacra has going for it is that its totally online so you can play it when you're not on your home PC but somewhere else like at work. Even though it hasnt many bells and whistles its still a solid game that is hard enough to challenge anyone, especially those playing for score who dont bomb their way past a boss. For those wanting to achieve a score worthy of the leader board he will probably need to get to atleast the last stage with decent scores in each of the stages. Even if you find you can't put your scores on the online leader board there's always the highscoring shmuppers best friend You Tube. And the game having replays makes this so much easier to make a video.

 If you find the Black Label too easy there is a slightly harder version of the game which raises the score threshold for extends and only allows 3 bombs max. If there are other differences between versions it's unknown since i've not spent any time with the game. The same bugs evident in version 0.4.3 Black Label are apparent in version 0.4.1 including the leaderboard bug. Which is a shame because the scores on the older version arn't as high as the later game, thus allowing unskilled plebs like me more of a chance of greatness. Ah well. Both version can be accessed at keim's website. But why dont you just visit here instead. If you scroll to the bottom of the page you will see Black Label there for you to play. You can play the game in between reading articles ive posted, Ive given you true bliss :-).


 For a freeware flash shmup Arcanacra Black Label is the best example there is on the web today that's even despite it's bugs, If Keim ever sorts out the bugs it would be a 4.4 out of 5. As it is now I give it a slightly lower 4.1 out of 5.


Kairuga Freeware Review

You've probably heard of the shmup Ikaruga, to some the greatest vertical shooter ever made, to others a game which over relies on memorisation to such a degree that it’s no fun. If you are of the former then you'll love this game as it's homage to it. Kairuga is an almost perfect copy of the first level of Ikaruga, while it does miss parts of the level out, the main aspects including the end of level boss are there, and so people who have played the original will feel right at home. For those of you who don’t know how Ikaruga works ill explain since the game mechanics are quite different to the average shmup. The game has a polarity system where you will meet red or white enemies (red and blue in Kairuga's case) you're ship can switch between having a red or white shield so if you’re ship was red bullets wont harm you only the white bullets do, also you're shot changes colour and a red shot will do twice the damage to a white ship. Also as you are hit by the same colour bullets as you’re ship you will 'eat' the bullets that fills up a meter that allows you to fire off homing missiles, the missiles are also coloured so they will also massively damage ships of the opposite colour.

With such game mechanics Ikaruga is as much thinking mans game and a memorizer as it is a twitch / manic mans game. If you played Ikaruga as a normal shmup you wouldn't last very long since you won't be so much dodging all the bullets, quite the opposite you’ll be trying to eat as many as possible. Something which can put some shmup gamers off, but if you perceiver you'll find yourself wanting more and more since the object of Ikaruga isn’t to survive but to try to get as many points as possible in a perfect run. And to facilitate this is the scoring system that awards you for bullets eaten as well as shooting the enemy. Ikaruga / Kairuga has a chaining system where for every three ships of the same colour you destroy, the chain counter increases by one, chains don't have a time limit like most other games and can only be cancelled by destroying a wrong coloured ship, this will reset the chain counter back to zero. For high scoring, chaining means everything as for the 1st chain you are awarded 100 points that is doubled for every other chain on the counter. This makes devising a way to get the most consecutive chains the main challenge of this type of game. In Kairuga you can get a maximum counter of 85 if you chain everything, (no chaining during the boss fight).

Kairuga's graphical style as you can see uses the minimalist and abstract neon style used by Kento Cho (aka ABA Games) and has been copied by everyman and his dog especially for arena shooters like Geometry Wars and its clones. This style used in Kairuga is actually a good thing as the red and blue ships are easy to see without there been no distractions enabling you to concentrate squarely on the action and getting as many chains as possible. The sounds are ripped straight from Ikaruga which imo is no bad thing as it gets the player even more into the spirit of things.

While Kairuga is homage to the original it doesn't copy it totally. I’ve never played Ikaruga but ive read comments on other gamers who say that the enemies in Kairuga shoot more bullets, are allot harder to kill and you can't destroy most of them by ramming them with your ship, and that your ship moves abit slower as well, making for a harder game of a game thought to be very hard by many gamers. While this might be a gripe for some Ikaruga players, I think that considering the shortness of Kairuga it is a good thing. I do have a couple of gripes of my own and that is that I wish the game maker who is Kairos btw would have added an online leaderboard like the original. Also while I realise this is supposed to be a 1 level mini game, the level could have been just a tad longer with a few more waves of enemies included. The biggest gripe I have is that there is no gamepad support which for a shooter as complex as this is unforgivable. So out comes Xpadder yet again to save the day.

Kairuga is a great little piece of freeware. While I can't see seasoned shmuppers who have commercial games including Ikaruga in their collections spending much time with this game. Gamers like me who are relative newcomers to the genre, don’t have Ikaruga or any other commercial shmup and want to try playing a harder game for a change but don’t want to commit to a full length hard shmup with 5 plus stages. Kairuga allows us noobs this taste of what a pro level game would be. We can really get into it and try our hardest to master it and get the best score. And then when we’ve had enough quickly move on to the type of shmups we usually do play. The shmup in my case a game that I would be able to 1cc in 2-4 weeks depending on how committed I was at that time and not a 6 months to a lifetime game like Ikaruga. Another great thing about Kairuga is that it gave me a taste to see if I could stand the real game, and I can truth ally say thanks to this great little game i'm a Ikaruga convert, All bow down to Ikaruga!!!  3.3 out of 5

Here is my current highscore, what's yours?

 P.S. Thanks to having to redo several runs of Kairuga due to Camstudio ghosting, the video i've posted is by far not my best run so why don't you check out the creators video at the game download link thats here
He will show you a method of getting a full 85 chain combo, but I do recomend you dont watch that video or any other super play video posted as it takes away alot of the fun from the game. Kinda like using a FAQ to play a RPG game. Anyway why dont you post your highscores in the comments of my You Tube video and get a little highscore board going. At this moment in time my best is 2036170 and a chain of 44/85 plus a rank of average this is all in normal difficulty. BTW playing in hard mode gives you an advantage since the more bullets the enemies shoot the better your score will be. So there you have it, get playing and show us your high score!

 Sorry for the delay in my posting, i genrally like to only have an handfull of shmups (among some other types of games) that i'm playing at one time, so i like to try to 1CC or finish a game before moving onto a new one. This and the fact that Camstudio and my video editor don't seem to like me and are always throwing spanners in the works makes the job so much harder. I intend to make another couple of posts very soon so you guys are not waiting too long.


Chalk Review

Here is another one of Konjak's most well known freeware games called Chalk, a sort of a mash-up between a shmup and simple mouse controlled game like those you find two a penny on any flash game website. The result of these colliding game designs is something not found any where else and is allot of fun. You control with the mouse and keyboard as she ventures along the stage either destroying or dodging the many obstacles that get in your way. To destroy something depends what it is; an normal object all you need to do is while L-clicking with your mouse draw a line which connects all the green circles in the object. While a baddie will require you to wait until it fires a bullet at you so you can quickly make a line from the bullet to the enemy. This does sound easier said then done as objects are usually moving fast or spinning and most baddies need 2 bullets to destroy them, On top of that you only have a limited amount of 'chalk' (time) to make a line. This forces you to draw lines faster then you would normally or you will find yourself running out of 'chalk' and having a line shorter then it needs to be.

This is the core gameplay of Chalk and you will find extra gameplay mechanics later in the game aswell, like blue boxes which stop you from drawing a line over them so you need to pick them up and either throw them away or drop it onto another blue box to destroy them. Also you can rebound white bullets with a line which is always useful for killing the baddies. Like in all of Konjak's games its the boss fights which are the best parts of the game. While I wouldn't say the bosses in Chalk are on par with those of the Noitu Love games, they still are fun while easy to fight, each requiring you to think of how to damage him, usually this will entail using the objects in the screen to exploit the bosses weakness, Just like in Noitu Love.

The stage one boss has two forms this is his first

Onto the game's presentation. While this is a freeware title and the graphics are all basic, in that you are supposed to be playing on a chalk board, the simple graphics add to the look and feel of the game. The idea you are in a black board is further reinfored with the sound effect of chalk on the black board every time you draw a line. The sound effects are accompanied by a pleasing blip tune which is instantly recognisable as been make by Konjak if you have played a Noitu Love game before. Konjak is really good at giving his games a sense of polish that is his own, making his games instantly recognisable as his. This is one of the reasons he is one of my favorite indie game developers.

To get a high rank you need to chain several object in one stroke

Back to Chalk, there are 6 stages in total the last stage just been a boss rush of all the other stage's bosses before going up against the last boss. I found him to be pretty easy to defeat, although comaired to the other bosses he is a step up in difficulty. Infact Chalk as a whole is quite easy to complete on a single credit. Chalk gives you 3 credits on top which should let even low skilled gamers complete all stages. While Chalk may be easy if it's just played casually like most people will do, Chalk has borrowed gameplay from the shoot'em up genre, where if you wish to can scratch a little deeper and get a much greater challenge from it than what a Joe blogs casual gamer will do. To facilitate this Chalk has a rank system where at the end of each level you are graded on how well you played, From a rank D to an S. To the delight of hardcore gamers to get a rank S or even a A is no easy feat. To improve your score getting overkills etc by killing more then one enemy per chalk line is an absolute must. And soon you will be thinking of ingenious ways of getting overkills.

Those blue boxes can be a pain as you cant draw over them. Pick them up
and throw them away

While I do like Chalk and find it allot of fun, I really do wish Konjak would of added more to the game. More stages, more baddies, more gameplay elements that allow you to use your chalk line to affect the game in different ways, for example different types of bullets with different properties then just the standard purple and white ones. Chalk maybe just a freeware game. But it is so unique in what it does that I can't help wanting Konjak to develop Chalk into something more then what it is now. What I find surprising is that Chalk hasn't been developed into something worthy of a commercial release, as this game screams out like a banshee to be ported over to the DS with it's stylus controls. And while I'm on that train of thought, those of you who have a tablet and pen controller should really try it out with this game. I don't own a tablet but after Chalk on the DS, I bet a tablet comes in as the 2ND best way to play Chalk.

Even though I wish Chalk was so much more then what it is, I can't take away what Chalk really is, A game that although very short is allot of fun (and this is from someone who generally hates action games to be mouse controlled). And even though a freeware title does have good presentation to it. 3.9 out of 5


Noitu Love Review

Here is a game that many indie gamers will have played or at least known of, but since I plan of featuring some of Konjak's games Noitu Love (Evolution spelt backwards) is the best place to start. Although Joakim Sandberg aka Konjak is not as well known outside the hardcore indie gamer circles as say Cave Story's Pixel or Cactus the man behind Clean Asia, he has more then earned his place among the kings of indie freeware developers with his the novel mouse based shooter Chalk and of cause Noitu Love 1 and 2 (NL2 is commercial). What really makes his games stand out is that although they are fun to play.Similer to Pixel, Konjak's games have the same level of polish as commercial indie games which is different from most freeware developers who will just create a rough diamond with simple graphics and game play, Once they have the core of the game made they will then quickly move onto creating another game. Because of this Konjak doesn't have that many titles under his belt compared to Cactus and Kento Cho.

Now onto the game, Noitu Love is a fun title that fans of the old Mega Man NES games will instantly recognise. Instead of shooting though Noitu uses short range attacks that makes at more akin to a 2D beat'em up instead of a run 'n gunner. Noitu makes his way across the stage beating up waves of enemies. To mix up the gameplay, you can change into different forms at special 'evomatic machines'. The forms are a monkey who can jump high but has no attack, advanced human who can blast objects with is mind and lately a bird who like the monkey has no attacks but can fly to inaccessible places the other forms cant. Thia gameplay mechanic is no just a gimmick but is very well implemented due to the good level design that need you to use the different forms to progress.

There are 6 stages in total although the last stage is only the boss battle. With each stage quite unique from the other stages especially stage 4 which has you riding a rocket in a vertical shoot em up eske style. I found the game to be of medium difficulty, where I needed a couple of play throughs to complete where I had difficulty getting passed certain bosses. There are higher levels of difficulty to make the game harder but all it does is add more heath to the baddies so they need more hits to kill. The hardest settings (hardest mode has to be unlocked) I found the baddies needing so many hits to kill that the game became too tedious for my tastes. While I'm on the subject of negative points, thee game is keyboard only which I found to be a pain when I played the game over a year ago. Since then I've discovered the brilliant keyboard to joystick profiller that is Xpadder (it's really quick and easy to setup) Another basic thing NL is lacking is a in game way to change the game from the default small windowed mode to fullscreen. Luckily all you need to press is alt and enter but allot of people don't know that trick and will be annoyed due to the window been in such a small resolution.

The things I do like which putting the game into context, that of it been a freeware is a heck of allot more then points I hate about Noitu Love. The first is the graphics which maybe basic have that lovely retro NES look and charm to them. The sprites are all small which is what I prefer as that enhances the gameplay in my opinion (just think of more playable megaman on the NES compaired to the larger SNES sprites). The music is all nicely done and very fitting with the retro graphics although the volume is very loud (I have to go into control panels volume control and turn down the wave balance since the lowest master volume setting is still to loud). The controls are ok with the normal form noitu having 3 attacks; a fire punch, a uppercut (that sends enemies flying into the air) and a sort of a spinning jump kick (useful for crowd control).By far the best aspect of NL is the boss fights that you will have mid stage and at the end of each level. The bosses are very nicely designed in that you have to find out a certain method to kill them. For example the end of level 2 boss where you have to change into the monkey form unable the jump on a button situated at the top of the boss, then change back into your normal form so you can damage him. These boss fights are what makes NL such a polished game that harks back to the 8/16 bit era of boss fights like Sonic and Sparkstar.

Noitu Love been freeware is a gift to us all and would be a shame not to play as it is by far one of the best freeware games out there. Just make sure you download Xpadder aswell. 4.2 out of 5.


Summer Carnival 92 Recca - Famicon

I thought I would make a slight change to just writing about PC shmups as there are a hell of allot of great console and arcade titles that can be played on the PC using an emulator. Although I will only consider featuring a game on the site if the emulation is as good as the original or near enough to not matter. There are so many games out there which are full of glitches that in my opinion it's better to stay well away from and wait until it is sorted out or risk ruining the experience of playing a game that should be fun to play. Many of the recent shmups on Mame fall into this category and like I said you should not play them since there are so many other playable shmups for the PC or older emulated console systems like this game for the Japanese NES, Summer Carnival 92 Recca.

Here is a quick history; Back in the early nineties shoot'em up tournaments were all the rage in Japan with games created specially for it, these shmups where called the Caravan Shooter, where players had to score as much points within a certain time limit. Caravan games had this time attack feature and the game would automatically stop after a set amount of time. Hudson had their own tournament held every year with the ever popular Star Soldier series. Among other companies competing with their own tournaments was Nexat Soft with their Summer Carnival Tournament. In 91 they used Spriggan on the 16bit PC Engine. For 92 they choose a game for the much slower 8bit Famicom system. For those of you who don’t know the Famicom is the Japanese NES which was the most popular console in Japan until the 16bit PC Engine aka the Turbo Grafix 16 by NEC and Hudson Soft. Back to Recca, with the game been released at the end of the Famicom’s life not that many copies of it were ever produced and the idea of a NES version for the west totally out of the question. With only a small number of cartridges in circulation Recca is one of the most costly Famicom games to buy, with prices on EBay ranging from £100 and up for just the cart alone and no box most people will experience the game through a emulator.

If you thought Recca is a slow game because it’s on an 8bit console you are so wrong. Recca is almost too fast with the screen filled with enemies all quickly flying past your screen. The graphics while not the best on the Famicom/NES are still very good and if you take into consideration the speed it runs at it’s a minor miracle that the games programmers have achieved to make a game to run almost perfectly with no slow down or major clipping of the graphics. There are very small amounts of clipping usually fighting the large bosses but it in no way spoils the game due to how little it happens. Complimenting Recca’s fast pace is an equally fast music score to boot. These are pumping techno tunes which fill you with a sense of urgency when playing the game. Composed by Nobuyuki Shioda Recca’s music is the closest to real techno I've ever heard on an 8bit system, more so then what the 8bit chip-tune demo scene is able to make, True masterpieces. Other people must of thought so aswell, as in 2005 a soundtrack CD was released with Recca’s music along with a few remixes which are all really good to listen to. And to compliment the game’s high price in the 2nd hand market the soundtrack CD also sells for silly amounts on EBay £60 to £100. There is no way in hell I'm paying that kind on money for a OST CD, i'll just listen to it on certain sites on the net like You Tube for free.

The music is so good a OST CD was released 13 years later

Recca has 3 modes of play, plus 2 modes that are hidden and only accessed through a cheat, The standard 3 modes are:-
Normal Mode; The meat and potatoes of the game, 4 standard levels once that has been completed an extra 4 arranged levels that are allot harder and manic can be played by a soft reset.
Score Attack Mode; In the special caravan stage try to get the highest possible score in 2 minutes.
Time Attack Mode; Again you are in the special caravan stage, here you must score 1,000,000 in the shortest time possible, if you go over 5 minutes it is automatically game over.
The other 2 hidden mode that can be accessed from the cheat menu are:-
Hard Mode; A harder version of normal, I haven't played it myself but I gather that you have to play through the first 4 stages along with the much harder arranged stages aswell, no soft reset required.
Zanki Mode; Play through the standard 4 stages with 50 lives to begin with. For every small enemy destroyed 4 bullets are sprayed out in random directions, larger enemies spray more bullets. A extremely manic mode.

Most people will stick to normal mode most of the time in hopes of a 1CC so that what ill mainly write about. As I've said normal has 4 stages, the first 3 stages are all standard with 1 or 2 mid level bosses and a end of level boss to fight. Stage 4 is different where you will face all the bosses you fought previously with a couple of bosses to fight that are special to stage 4 including the last boss. Through stage 4 you will also fight a small amount of normal enemies just to provide the player with a power-up or two. If you managed to finish stage 4 you will be rewarded with a end of game cut-scene along with credit roll and lastly a screen showing a boss that you haven’t seen before telling you ‘to be continued’ whether this boss was meant to be in a sequel or a last true boss (both of which were never made) is unknown but you won’t face him if you play through the arranged stages which can be accessed if you do a soft reset when the ‘to be continued’ end screen shows.

Most of the bosses are very large for a 8bit game.

If you thought the first 4 stages were hard then you’ll be in for a beating when you play the extra 4 stages. The stages are extremely hard bordering on the Masochist for any gamer wanting to complete it. Remember Recca does’t let the player use continues, once you run out of lives its game over play again. It is because of this that I find 4 stages (excluding the extra arranged stages) just right when trying to 1CC/ beat the game. A feat which is hard especially for a relatively new shmupper as myself but not impossible if I perciveir and replay over and over again remembering each stages little quirks. I find Stage 4 Tobe a biatch and I need to amass as many lives as possible in stages 1 to 3 just to get through it. (you can have 8 lives maximum.

The gameplay mechanics in Recca are some of the best if not the best I’ve ever come across in a shmup, which if you remember I am talking about a game released in 1992 and you see why Recca remains as a favorite of many hardcore shmuppers who frequent the shmups11.org forum. You have a main weapon and a secondary weapon for both of which there are 5 different weapon types. My favorites are the laser and five-way which are both good for clearing the screen of enemies. Also for each of the main weapons there are 3 levels of power with added strength, bullets or formations for every level added. The laser at level 3 even has a homing ability that makes it my favorite weapon of choice in most situations. On to the secondary weapon, which I will be calling pods of which you can have 2 of them, both of the same type and there are no levels like the main weapon. Same as the primary weapon there are 5 different pod types ranging from the pretty useless rotating pod which rotates around your ship randomly shooting bullets that you have no control over. The other pod types are all useful with the Smart Pods been the best to use 99% of the time as these weapons will automatically shoot at enemies like homing missiles in other shmups. All these weapon upgrades are activated by shooting enemies for every 16 baddies you kill a power up or score medal is awarded with some enemies automatically giving power ups when shot. What type of power up will be dropped will cycle between the differing types. A 1up is also rarely awarded this way aswell. This mechanic makes shooting as many enemies as possible not just a good thing for score but a necessity for quickly powering up your ship. That makes some parts of stages that don’t have that many small enemies very hard if you die and need to quickly power up. I recommend the five-way shot useful for quickly getting back on your feet until you get 2 smart pods and then you can power up you main to the level 3 homing laser.

There is another weapon at the players desposol that I havn’t mentioned yet and that is the charge bomb a feature that was unique to Recca until Cave’s Shooter Pink Sweets was released in 2006 in the arcades. Unlike the bombs of other shooters where you get a small number of them to use, Recca charge bomb can be used as many times as you like as long as you can survive the onslaught while it powers up as you can use your main weapons, this is where your smart pods come in handy as protection while you charge up. To use your charge bomb just stop firing you main weapon and it will start charging up in front of your ship getting bigger and bigger. If you press fire before its fully charged the bomb will be waisted. (there is a energy meter at the bottom of the screen to tell you along with a sound that raises in pitch.) If fully charged you can let the bomb off whenever you want and it will destroy all the enemies and their bullets in the immediate area. The bomb is not as powerful as other shmups but given its unlimited usage it more then makes up for it. Another added bonus of the charge bomb is the the ball in front of the player ship absorbs bullets making it a great defencive weapon especially useful while fighting bosses, although it will stop bullets the charge bomb wont stop everything shot towards you like laser beams so you will still have to use your dodging skills to stay alive.

It is this combination of weapons that make for such a enjoyable game because you will be thinking which main weapon will be best for the boss your currently fighting or in which situation you will need to fire your main weapons or can you just rely on your smart pods and use your charge bomb for added defence only firing off the bomb when the need arises. And there will be plenty of places where you will be thinking like this due to how cunningly the design of the stages are along with the bosses which all have strategies you can use to defeat them. Another great addition to Recca is that by pressing select you can alter your ships speed. A very useful if you need a lot of accuracy to dodge a bosses laser beams, or go super fast while shooting lots of small enemies. Whoever said shoot’em ups whern’t a thinking mans game have obviously never played Recca. The score mechanic enforces this playstyle aswell due to the fact you will attain points for absorbing bullets and keeping the charge bomb active. Although playing for score is severely broken in the normal and hard modes due to the fact that many of the bosses can be milked almost indefinitely by using the charge bomb to absorb bullets. The worst offender of this is the stage 1 mid boss where you can place your ship at a bottom corner and leave the game running by itself while you stack up the points. Another spoiler for scorers is the low maximum score easily attainable in Hard mode.

Many gamers don't realise how usefull the charge bomb is

Considering the other 2 caravan modes especially made for scorers then many scorers wont be really bothered that the other modes are broken. Although the fact that each of the modes only last less then a few minutes. Some will wish they could of played competitively in a full length game. But still there's no stopping someone from playing the normal mode and not bother to do and milking. For those scorers playing the caravan modes there is a high score table at the shmups11.org forums. It’s listed along with other caravan shooters under the heading Caravan Games. Also at the same forum the ever talented Shiftace who is at the top of many a highscore table has kindly created a totally excellent strategy guide / faq, I highly recommend anybody whose playing Recca to have a look at it. I made the game for me allot easier to play without getting my arse handed to me all the time. Also on the same page there are the cheats you will need to use to play in Hard or Zanki modes along with the level select for the normal game. For those you hate entering cheat codes Silver X has hacked the game and created a patch which makes it so you no longer need to enter the code and the extra modes are on the title screen. This can also be found through the faq page.

Here is the start screen of the hacked version

Recca is a fantastic game considering how old it is and the fact it is on a 8bit console! The programmer should have statues made out of gold for the achievement they made. The games designer Shinobu Yagawa is well known in shmupping circles as the man responsible for some of the greatest shmups ever made: Armed Police Batrider, Battle Bakraid, Ibara, Ibara Pink Sweets and his greatest game Battle Garegga which is the grand daddy of the danmaku / bullet hell games later made popular by Cave. Even though Pink Sweets does take some aspects of the game it is a shame that no true sequel was ever made, one that fixes Recca’s shortcomings with it’s scoring system and stays faithful to the look and feel of the game. No bloody cute lolis aswell, While I like Touhou and many other cute’em ups as the next man. They do seem to be on way to many games nowadays. Sometimes I just wanna play a shmup with proper space ships while listening to a pumping electro soundtrack without no high pitched Japanese girl voice actress screaming out of my speakers that make my ears bleed. Even though it’s an old game Recca does that.

4.9/5 It would of made a 5/5 if it did’t have a broken scoring system in normal/hard mode. Its as close to perfection as any 8bit game can get.


My new love of Shoot'em ups

When I rediscovered shmups (shoot 'em ups) I was totally amazed by how playable they are, I downloaded the freeware Blue Wish Resurrection by X.X Games (I have it linked on this site). BWR is a bullet hell shmup that is inspired by the professional shmup developer Cave who are considered the best makers of shooters along with the famous Treasure who have created many well known games through the years including Gunstar Heroes and Dynamite Heady for the Mega Drive. Playing shmups I rediscovered something that I had lost when I was a kid was that I really revelled in the difficulty of these Japanese shooters. Having to work hard to slightly improve my gameplay and feeling very rewarded when I reached a goal. Many of these self imposed goals are totally exclusive to the shooters and partly the arcade genre. That is that to be consider to of beated (clocked) a game you must of used only 1 credit. Known as the 1CC (1 credit clear) and to proper 1CC a shmup it must be done using the default settings, so no going into the options menu and selecting 8 lives per credit and easy unless that is the default setting. What default setting a game is can be sometimes confusing due to many shmups arcade and console shmups made in Japan (where all the best shooters are made) are then localised for USA and Europe have the difficulty turned down from normal in Japan to easy settings for us in the west.

Other goals to try for is to no miss a whole stage which means not to lose a life during a stage and usually you’ll be awarded with extra points by the game as well. This is usually the easiest and first goal a player will aim for. No miss is not to be confused with finishing the game without losing a life, this is known as 1LC or 1 life clear in shmup circles. The difficulty can be raised even high by getting a 1CC etc in harder difficulty settings but not many ppl will ever achieve a 1LC on hardest with a challenging Jap shmup. The best of the best can even play a 2 player game alone like this guy who has released a vid on You Tube playing Ikaruga widely thought of as one of the most complex and challenging shmups to play perfectly. Ikaruga superplay

As you might of guessed the whole ethos is to challenge yourself no mater how good you are just set those goals in whatever difficulty level you can play at and as time goes by your skills will improve and hopefully you will be able to complete this Cave game Mushihimesama Futai Black Label in god mode, here is a vid of someone up against the last true boss The hardest boss ever And no he isn't cheating bullet hell games have very small hit boxes on the players ships and bullets. My current favourite freeware game Blue Wish Resurrection is a bullet hell game as well, just nowhere as hard, in fact it's very noob friendly especially the plus version remake. Once you have hit some of those goals (most ppl just aim for 1CC) allot of ppl will then start to play for score. This is where a good Japanese shmup really shines over many shmups made in the west which are usually given the term euro shmup, usually thought of as having a really poor scoring system or design. Many Jap shmups will have intricate scoring systems with many routes through a level without dieing. The goal then is to try out different routes and ways of playing to try and get the best score possible. You can watch vids on the net called super plays and get tips from them if you can’t be bothered working out a system yourself.

Before I go I’ll leave you with a link for the Shmups.com forums where there is a glossary detailing the multitude of shmup speak you'll notice ill start to use in my blogs (at least the more common terms). Shmups.system11.org Glossary This is the main forum for the English speaking shmup community and well worth joining if you intend to play shmups especially games from Japan doujin or commercial. There is also a highscore section if you fancy going up against other ppl or atleast get a idea of how much of a high score is achievable in a game, you’ll probably be shocked.


Demolition Gunner: In Seek And Destroy

My Next review is another freeware shmup called Demolition Gunner: In Seek and Destroy by the doujin circle Dark Hell Company. They later transformed into Astro Port one of the most well known doujin shmup circles. This version of the game is a black label (update) of the normal Demolition Gunner with a remix mode added. As you can see it has a helicopter for the players craft instead of a spaceship or some cutesy character, of which in a doujin game it’s not seen often compared to euro shmups which tend to use the helicopter a lot more. Rather then been fixed forward facing the helicopter rotates slightly when moving left or right which makes a change from the norm plus makes play easier as due to the large amount the screen scrolls left and right, that forces the player to make long left/right sweeping movement to destroy all the enemies that are off the screen.

The graphics are ok for a 2d doujin shooter, although I do which there was a little bit more variety in the enemies you fight as they all look similar. Even the bosses just looked like larger versions of the normal popcorn enemies. I would have like to see the bosses at least look better. But in the bigger scheme of things this is just a minor gripe I have as the main aspect of any shmup is the playability and bullet patterns. While DG is not a bullet hell in the same sense of Cave, there are plenty of bullets thrown towards you rather then a maze of bullets to navigate through. With this DG is fun to play and will always keep you on your toes. From what I’m able to gather the scoring system is simple. Kill as many baddies as possible and don’t die, plus there are stars for you to collect which increase the score multiplier so collecting these is very important. The other main scoring aspect is the usual end of level tally. You only have the scatter gun for you’re primary weapon which you are able to collect power ups to boost its strength. There is also a secondary weapon in the form of a napalm bomb, which only has a small blast radius and weak power, it won’t cancel any bullets so it’s an offensive weapon only. To balance out its weakness you do get a lot to use in the course of the game. The helicopter has a shield which you are able to upgrade 3 levels by collecting items, each upgrade allows for 1 hit.

This system makes DG a hell of a lot easier then other shmups of its ilk, in the same way Blue Wish Resurrection uses the auto-bomb to make the game easier. Due to this 1CC the game is pretty easy infact to beat the game is to 1CC due to the game giving you no continues. Many will want to play the game on hard mode to get a real challenge. There is also an even harder mode for those pro shmuppers. For those of you who want a chance there is also a remix mode. Which changes the bullets patterns more like a Cave game? Instead of a napalm bomb you have the standard beam attack that also slows the ship down to allow you to weave through the bullets. Playing this in normal I found it to be even easier then the normal mode, finishing the game only on my 2nd attempt. So even novices will find themselves playing remix in a harder mode most of the time.


Even for its short comings Demolition Gunner ISAD is a lot of fun to play and just like the Blue Wish games suit a gamer who is relatively new to shmups before they move onto more complex and challenging titles. Given that this game is freeware it is good quality and not a game to be missed if you like PC shmups. 3.7/5


A Tribute To Dead Bubble Bobble Designer

I've only just read about this but Fukio MTJ Mitsuji the man who designed some great games for Taito including the two best Taito platformers Bubble Bobble, Rainbow Islands and the shooters Storming Party, Syvalion and Volfied has died. Hes death on the EDIT; December 08 was I believe caused by heart attack plus kidney failure and he entered a coma before he died

It is a great shame to lose such a giant in classic video gaming the cutesy platformer Bubble Bobble is own of the best co-op games anyone can play and for you guys who haven't played Bubble Bobble and Rainbow Islands should check them out imeadiatly! And while you are there play the other great Taito cutesy arcade platformer The Newzealand Story (Of which my avatar is a picture of), another great classic game of which with the other 2 titles I think of the 3 games as almost a trilogy. If you have the 2 great compliation games called Taito Legends 1 (2 is great for classic shmups) for the PC among other platforms you can play all three platforms platformers plus the Qix remake by MTJ, Volfied. Just do yourself a favor and experience these great classic titles and when doing so think of the brilliant design that was in these games and spare a thought for Fukio MTJ Mitsuji.


Well this is a superb example of not believing what you read on the net as fact as it turns out Fukio Mitsuji died in December 08 not August DOH!. But rather then remove this post I thought it better to just leave it up as a testament to a great man in the world of video games. All I can say is live and learn :-/


Blue Wish Resurrection Series

I thought I would quickly get out of the way the review for the shooter that I'm currently spending most of my time playing and that is Blue Wish Resurrection it's a freeware vertical scroller with the shmups of Cave been a big influence. Infact all of X.X Games of which there are 6 titles are all heavily influenced by the manic shooter giant Cave with Eden's Edge been X.X's title which has copied most from one game (Espgaluda) and not just the broader style of Cave that been the high amount of bullets from the enemy and their patterns, the lifebar for the bosses and minibosses and also the fact that the players ship slows down when the shoot button is held down which makes dodging a hell of allot easier. Obviously X.X games have nowhere the same amount of graphic quality and presentation as Cave's but all the important parts are there to make anyone who's a fan of Cave to feel right at home. Blue Wish Resurrection and it's blue label follow-up Blue Wish Resurrection Plus are X.X most popular titles, infact they are one of the most well known and played PC shmups out there atleast in the west anyway. and many gamers who are new to modern shmups will play as they are very noob friendly in their design.
Stage 3 boss fight in BWR, Plus is identical in graphics
BWR has 5 stages all with an end of level boss and some stages have a mid-level boss aswell. 4 difficulty levels of play; easy, original, hell and accel which is hidden (just press up once when easy is selected to play in accel mode). Easy is too easy for most players, original should be the difficulty newcomers should start with. And even hell mode if you're a seasoned vet shmupper. Accel mode imo is sort-of a novelty and not something most games will want to spend great amounts of time playing, As even though the amount of bullets is small compared to the other modes, the speed is just abit too fast to be able to 1CC (1 credit used to finish). Especially as the players ship is still the normal speed which is just no good when the ship slows in concentrated fire. So as I’ve said before most players will want to play the seriously in original or hell and only bother with the lower difficulties for unlocking ships. A player will have just 2 buttons to press shot and bomb, with shot having two modes, tap fire for the normal shot and hold down the fire button for a narrow concentrated shot, slower ship speed and the craft's hitbox tobe visible aswell. Very handy for weaving between bullet hell patterns when fighting the bosses. Bombs are very useful to use just before you die or just to clear the screen of enemies if you're overwhelmed after dieing in the later stages and you need extra time to collect your power-ups. BWR also has an auto-bomb feature which for those who don’t know is a feature which instead of dieing when hit by a bullet (enemy crafts don’t harm you) the game will automatically use a bomb if you have any in stock; although you're score will suffer. It is this feature and the fact that its turn on in the options menu by default thereby allowing for an easier then normal 1cc that many shmup noobs love this title. And many PC shmuppers will make this game one of the first they play seriously if they're trying to play for a 1cc. Me personally am nearly there for a 1cc I just need to improve in the last stage especially against the boss to nail it.
During play there are no collect-em ups to change your weapon but there are bullet power collect-em ups and the occasional bomb pick-up aswell. If you die you don’t lose you're powerups you only need to collect them back up as they move across the screen. BWR has 4 ship types 2 of which are unlockable by 1cc easy mode for the 3rd ship blue peace and 1cc original to unlock the 4th ship Eden’s edge with its characteristics taken from X.X's Eden Edge game. Infact the character model from the game is unlockable aswell. Each of the ships are very different. The 1st ship Blue Wish has a wide angled shot making it a popular choice for quickly killing off waves of weak enemies, with the concentrated shot used for more powerful enemies. the 2nd ship Blue Hope has a more powerful but very narrower shot making it not a good choice for gamers who are scorers as the player has to move allover the screen to kill off all the enemies, with many been missed in the later stages. The 3rd ship Blue Peace is a bit more unique due to its bullets automatically homing into their targets if shot button is pressed down. The homing system even splits up aswell if there is more then 1 enemy onscreen and will allocate more bullets to stronger foes. The power of this weapon is weak too much for me especially fighting bosses but many people like to use it. For its normal shot it does have slightly more power and a bullet spread like Blue Hope. This can be used to fight the bosses but this does make the game harder as the ship will be at full speed. The last ship Eden's Edge is different from the others in the fact that it has 4 options instead of 2 which in normal shot will follow the player in a trail around the screen like in Gradius which group together around the player ship when shot button is pressed instead of tapped. I have not spent much time with this ship but I do think it could be a good choice for scorers who have memorized the enemy ship placement. Although each ship has the same speed having 4 very different shot types can make for very different gameplay and greatly increases the games longitivity.

BWR scoring system has you collecting items which are the bullets of a bigger sized enemy converted into items when it's destroyed. So it's a good idea to kill off a enemy when lots of bullets fill the screen. Also there are hidden chests of items for you to find. Here's a secret, on stage 3 if you find all 10 chests, you can uncover a hidden 1up just before the boss if you hold down fire in the middle of the screen. Back to the scoring system, there is a counter of all the items you have collected. At the end of every level all the items will be converted into points. The challenge is to not lose any items during the level, as if you use a bomb, auto bomb or lose a life you will be penalized. Also if you have auto bomb turned off in the options you will earn slightly more points at the end of level score tally then if you had auto bomb turned on. Another aspect of the score system is the distance you are when you destroy the enemy, the closer the better. Touching a enemy will not kill you but do remember in BWR they will still fire as normal so you will have to be careful. Some might consider this a cheap way to die but it is a minor thing imo.

All in all BWR and BWR+ are great games at will challenge any gamer who wants to take it seriously. It is the fact that it's packed with noob friendly options and the leaning curve of the stages is good for beginners aswell due to levels 1 and maybe 2 been easy to no-miss on original (not get hit during the whole stage) that no matter how skilled a gamer is they should be able to succeed in a goal that many shmuppers set for themselves. That been no-miss a single stage, 1CC and even 1LC (1 life complete). Been able to practice individual stages and end of level boss's is really handy aswell. While I might have been talking about how great this game is for beginners, there are lots to challenge a pro shmupper. As the last two stages are a hell of allot harder then earlier stages. Due to the sheer amount of enemies on screen shooting bullets you will be hard pressed to clear a level without not having to bomb. The stage 4 and 5 bosses are allot harder then earlier bosses aswell, with many different patterns and mazes of bullets sent at you. Another great challenge for the top tier shmupper is a True Last Boss to tackle in hard mode if you managed to 1cc the game. This boss from what i've seen in vids is very very hard and reminds me of boss vids from Cave's Mushihimesama for just how tough it is.
Looking alot simpler, Blue Wish
So far i’ve been talking only about Blue Wish Resurrection but what about the other two games Blue Wish and Blue Wish Resurrection Plus. I will start with Blue Wish. BW is X.X's 2nd game and the difference in BW and his other game Green Wind to his more recent titles is quite allot. For starters they play in windowed mode only and the graphics are a hell of allot simpler. But even though they are (very) rough around the edges the core gameplay is still of the standard of his later games. BW's enemy bullet patterns are very different to the other two games. I found apart from boss fights the levels to be easier then the other two games, with only the last level feeling like the later Blue Wish games. Things are very different when you reach the end of level boss (no mid bosses) the patterns are hard even in original mode with lots of bullet hell patterns needed to be quickly dodged with the player's ship at full speed. Compared to the later games there are allot less touhou type bullet mazes in BW though. There is a TLB in hard mode which you will get to fight no matter how many continues you used. This is the only TLB ive fought out of all 3 games and I can tell you he is stupidly hard. Way too hard for me and I found myself using 8 or 9 credits just on him hehe, even with the bombs his health bar moved down very slowly. The game only has 3 ships, Wish, Hope and Peace although if you use Peace you can’t use bombs making it not so much a choice for noobs. Although Blue Wish is a OK game and would pose more then a challenge if I took it seriously, it doesn't hold a candle to the other two games.
Moving onto Blue Wish Resurrection Plus you will find as opposed to BW, Plus is the same as BWR graphically with only the colours of the ships and background altered. The music has been changed aswell, even though BWR had thumping dance music which did match the gameplay in some aspects, BWR+ does a better job at it. Even the intro and stage select music has been remixed and improved upon. Over then graphical and music Plus just has some tweaks to the bullet patterns with a little bit more bullets been shot out by the enemy. To counter this Plus has a slow down feature which kicks in when a large amount off bullets are onscreen, Usually in boss fights does it kick in but ive noticed in one or two places the slow down finishes in a awkward spot and you're lucky not to get hit, slowdown can be turned off mind you. Other changes to the older version is there are now two bombs a strong powered bomb with limited invulnerability and a weaker bomb with longer invulnerability. You can select between the two by having the shot button held down or not. Other changes are there are allot more chests to pick-up making Plus a better game for score hounds (tip open chests as far to the top of the screen as possible for more items), with highscores allot higher then the normal version. Rather then in BWR accel been a separate mode, accel is a option you can turn on in the options to make the normal 3 modes faster which is a nice feature for the advanced player. BWR+ also has a True Last Boss which you get in hard mode but I believe you need to have accel turned on aswell. I've heard he is easier then BWR TLB due to the slowdown but I’ve never seen it tbh. Another what I believe to be a major difference in Plus is that all four ships are available at the start giving less incentives to those gamers who like to set themselves goals to reach when they play a shmup.

Apart from the original Blue Wish game (which is abit to plain) BWR and BWR+ are some of the best PC games out there that follows the style of Cave. Even though they are freeware they are of great quality maybe not so much graphically but in every other way especially in design. And they should be one of the first games a new PC shmupper sinks his teeth into. I suppose the biggest question would be which of the two to play. While you can try both out I do recommend that Plus is more suitable for the noob due to the slowdown which makes boss fights a hell of allot easier. The fact that Plus has all the player ships unlocked and that BWR is more of a challenge on default I would recommend those shmuppers who like to set goals like no-miss, 1CC etc to pick BWR. While those gamers who prefer to score would be best served playing BWR+ due to it's slightly upgraded score mechanics of two types of bombs, more bullets onscreen to convert to items with bombs or destroyed enemies. And the larger amount of chests to find which all together equals a much larger highscore in Plus over its sibling.
With 3 different games to rate it does scoring alittle bit more difficult but apart from BW which I give a 2 out of 5 for been below average from what to expect for a PC shooter. The other two due to been so simlier and both brilliant to play depending on what you want out of a shoot 'em up I will give a equal score of 4 out of 5. All 3 games can be found at X.X's Game Room and for those who like to score here are the highscore threads for BWR and BWR+ at shmups.system11.org, why dont you join the forum and start posting highscores to this and other shmups and while you're there start to socialize with the english speaking shmupping comunity. There you will find out alot of tips and facts about shmups which will develop your passion for playing them.