Tag Archive: shoot-em-up

Fraxy – Hellion Draconis by krazykev360


Boss Download
Music: Rockin’ the Yard by prophetik music of OverClocked Remix

Size: 640 x 480
Mode: Free

This is a straightforward, no-frills, single-phase fight and that’s just fine. As much as I enjoy the more intricate bullet hell-style bosses, fights like this one against Hellion Draconis allow the more unique aspects of Fraxy‘s engine to really shine. Hellion Draconis hits the ground running, immediately barraging the player with a nonstop spray of mostly harmless bullets alongside lock-on targeting, homing missiles, a front-mounted laser which packs a rather nasty punch, and even more bullets. With no additional phases and no destructible parts, you can see everything this fight has to offer within the first ten seconds, but the fight as a whole also only lasts about a minute and provides an exhilarating rush from start to finish as Hellion Draconis never eases up on bombarding the player with an onslaught of deadly attacks. In terms of aesthetic design, Hellion Draconis has a simple yet economically stylish appearance with a main body resembling a fighter jet alongside laser swords for wings and a flamethrower tail to make it live up to the ‘dragon’ part of its name. In virtually every way, Hellion Draconis stands as a shining example of how to make a Fraxy boss which is simple without being trivial and it definitely was a welcome surprise to fight against.

Fraxy – Pressure by matteste


Boss Download
Music: Boiling Point by ectogemia of OverClocked Remix

Size: 360 x 480
Mode: Fixed

As a small, glowing red box with rapidly spinning ‘arms’, erratic movements, and fast attacks which force players to keep moving, Pressure has certainly earned its name in both aesthetics and attack design. Pressure has three distinct phases and in turn every phase consists of three attacks which it will cycle through. Though it is fast, most of this boss’s attack patterns fall into one of two types. The first, and most common, type of attack pattern present here is an arcing fan of several rows of bullets which may sometimes have a slight slant, but which otherwise allow for plenty of room while dodging. The second attack type consists of tracking attacks, such as in the form of a homing bullet barrage or a tracking laser and these patterns pose far more danger than the bullet waves. The main source of difficulty in this fight comes from trying to actually hit the boss in the first place as it is a small target and its movements become wider and more erratic with each phase to the point that it constantly bobs in and out of the arena in the final phase. Otherwise, this is a somewhat challenging yet surprisingly manageable fight which remains at about the same level of difficulty from start to finish, though the third phase is the easiest overall due to the lack of homing attacks while an attack pattern during the second phase where two streams of bullets create a double helix shape is by far the most dangerous part of the fight.

Fraxy – Sky Leopard 42k by Metarex Master


Boss Download
Music: Aerobotics by Just Coffee of OverClocked Remix

Size: 360 x 480
Mode: Fixed

Starting off the fight with a deadly rush across the screen, this boss provides a consistently fun and fast-paced challenge. One of the first things players are bound to notice is the addition of two twining frontal turrets for the player’s own ship, which serves as a an early sign of the flashy aesthetics at play here. While most small, fixed arena fights have fairly static bosses, the Sky Leopard 42k is rather dynamic, launching attacks from the top, middle, and bottom of the screen, which adds to both the challenge and the aesthetic appeal of the fight. Most of this boss’s attack patterns consist of either bombarding the player with aimed shots or using lasers and lines of bullets to limit mobility, though it is generally easy to find safe spots. This boss doesn’t have an excessive amount of health and, between the additional turrets and the fact that damage is dealt to the boss regardless of which piece of its body is hit, this fight definitely doesn’t overstay its welcome, but the first phase does last a bit too long and the boss doesn’t really gain any new attacks until it is down to about a third of its initial health bar.

Defeating the ship leads to a second, humanoid form which moves around frequently while staying near the top of the screen. This second form has the opposite issue of the first phase as it goes down so quickly that it may not get a chance to use all of its attacks, but it otherwise feels like a nice continuation of the first part of the fight with aesthetically-pleasing attacks which are challenging without being quite as dangerous as they may initially appear to be. Overall, this fight feels like it falls into a sweet spot in terms of balance, offering up a good challenge with plenty of visual flair and nothing in the way of frustration or tedium.

Pyromancer

Freem Page

Pyromancer is the newest shmup from the creator of Giant Cutter and it certainly shows in more ways than one. Utterly bizarre and profoundly alien environments and enemies are found in nearly all of the games developed by Minami* and this game certainly doesn’t disappoint as the designs and the unique artstyle make it immediately stand out from other shmups. The freeroaming sections from Giant Cutter are gone, making this a more pure, and certainly more polished, shmup experience spread across four levels, which are each in turn divided into three distinct segments. While the freeroaming sections may be a thing of the past, the unusual emphasis on close-range combat remains as, in addition to a standard forward-facing gun, your ship is armed with two small flamethrowers on its top and bottom as well as an enormous jet of fire directly behind it.

*The developer’s name on Freem is 南カラス, which can be read as Minami Karasu or, in English, South Crow. Since the copyright on the title screen in the game itself is simply attributed to “Minami” I will be referring to the developer by that name for this article.
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Blast Force

Official Site || Vector Download Page

Blast Force is a one-button game to an unusually literal degree and it pulls off this minimalistic control scheme remarkably well. Attacking, charging your laser, moving, and even choosing to use a continue are all tied to a single button. This is a short game even by shmup standards, but its polished and creatively unique gameplay make it a great game to play and go back to.
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