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Young Ninja Group (ages 3-5)

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Charles Johnson
Charles Johnson

Shoot Em Up REPACK

The film opens in one of those grimy cityscapes where a little graffiti might brighten things up. A man with 10 o'clock shadow (Clive Owen) sits on a bench eating a carrot. A pregnant woman is chased past by men intent on murdering her. "Bloody hell," says the man, a phrase I find so much more elegant than "What the foosball underwater clockmaker kitchen," if you enjoy creating acronyms. He defends the woman in a hail of gunfire, while delivering her baby, ramming the carrot into his victim's cranium, and finding himself on the run with an infant in his arms, which is also how Owen spent much of "Children of Men," also with people shooting at him, so you could say he looks right at home.

Shoot Em Up

Shoot 'Em Up or shmup games are a subset of shooter games where the player continually moves forward while waves of enemies enter the screen. Both shooting and dodging are critical to advancing. See also Bullet Hell.

That is because the answer to anything and everything in here is to shoot it. Door locked? Shoot 'em up. Umbilical cord needs cutting? Shoot 'em up. Paul Giamatti aiming a sniper rectile on your baby's head? Shoot 'em up. (but not the baby!)

Irem created a lot of popular, fantastic games back in the day, but its greatest lasting legacy is surely the R-Type series. The original game remains a favorite of many shoot-em-up veterans even now, and if you want to see why, you need to pick up R-Type Dimensions EX. It contains the first two R-Type games with a wide array of options to make them as easy or tough as you want them to be. You can choose between a more faithful look or spiffy new visuals, even. The often grotesque designs of the stages and enemies combined with the highly versatile Pod power-up give the R-Type games a special place in the history of the genre, and this is a great way to experience where the series started.

Owlboy developers D-Pad Studio are swooping back in time to revisit their very first game, Savant - Ascent, originally released ten years ago. Savant - Ascent Anniversary Edition is remastering the shoot-em-up platformer in which you control Savant - avatar of Norwegian music producer Aleksander Vinter - with new stages, bosses, powerups, and a revamped soundtrack by Vinter himself. The remaster will launch on PC and other platforms later this summer.

Shoot 'em ups, a video game genre that's unfortunately also known by the linguistically repugnant term "shmups," is a category that's graced the industry for decades. Like beat 'em ups, shoot 'em ups were arcade staples that have found new life on home video game consoles when cabinets began vanishing from laundromats, pizza joints, and bodegas. Thankfully, you no longer need to own a console to experience hot shooter action; the PC has become a red-hot platform for wrecking enemies with massive firepower.

The biggest difference between one shooter and another is its type. At the moment, the most popular shooter sub-genre is bullet hell(Opens in a new window), a style that absolutely destroys novice pilots. Enemies fill the screen with destructive colored firepower that makes pinpoint movement and spatial awareness a must, and relaxing your sphincter impossible. Still, if you're up for a challenge, bullet hell shooters are addicting adrenaline rushes. There are also fixed, rail, tube, and many other shoot 'em up types that you can learn about at Racketboy(Opens in a new window)'s Shmups 101 page.

Fortunately, there's a wide variety of shoot 'em ups available to PC gamers, ranging from bullet hell to traditional. If you're looking to explore what the genre offers, consider this guide a launchpad.

Cave is a shmup developer that has many hits in its catalog, with Deathsmiles being one of the company's finest. Deathsmiles is a supernatural shooter in which you play as one of five gothic lolitas who defend their land from a demon invasion using familiars and intense, enemy-wrecking magic.

The horizontally scrolling, bullet-hell shooter boasts six game modes, nonlinear progression, local co-op play, huge enemies, big explosions, a counter system, and a thrilling goth-rock score. All in all, Deathsmiles is a thoroughly enjoyable PC shooter, despite somewhat cramped environments and sprites that were already considered a bit dated at the time of its original 2007 arcade release.

Yup, Cave strikes again with another classic shooter. In the vertically scrolling DonDonPachi Resurrection, you control one of three time-traveling pilots who seek to repair a past that's been altered by a rogue android seeking freedom from human enslavers. Really, it's a shallow reason to make hulking enemy ships and robots go boom.

This space shooter boasts high-powered offensive and defensive options for annihilating aliens, with three controllable ships, three attack styles, and the bullet-cancelling Hyper Counter System. The game also has eight gameplay modes, multiple endings, and local co-op play.

Top-down arcade shooters have been a video game staple for a long, long time. The 1980s saw Robotron: 2084 popularize the genre with easy to use twin-stick controls, while the 1990s added Arnold Schwarzenegger flair and Paul Verhoeven panache with Smash TV. Recently, the best shooter wasn't newfangled fare like Halo or Gears of War, but a simple gem called Geometry Wars.

True to its title, Lucid Games' Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions takes the addictive shape-shooting action into the third dimension with near-immaculate results. The game is rendered with Tron-like grids, wire-framed objects that explode into kaleidoscopic fireworks as a Daft Punk-ish soundtrack pulses in the background. It's a feast for the senses.

Treasure, the development squad that made its name crafting genre-defining and genre-breaking titles during the 16-bit and 32-bit console generations, applied its creative chops to the shoot-'em-up category in 2001 and released the renowned Ikaruga. It wasn't until 15 years later that the game received a PC port, but the wait was worth it.

Ikaruga blends shoot 'em up and puzzle play by utilizing a unique color-switching mechanic that lets you absorb black bullets when your ship is black and white bullets when your ship is white. Those absorbed bullets fill a gauge that lets you unleash a massive attack that lets you dish big damage to the mechanical monstrosities. The only downside is that some areas exchange the game's flying freedom for maze-like obstacle courses that slow the pace.

If you hate bugs, Mushihimesama isn't for you. Unless, of course, you have wild fantasies of obliterating as many as possible. Cave's insect-themed, fantasy shooter casts you as a princess who battles giant creepy crawlies across five vertically scrolling stages.

The tone is established in the very first scene of the film, when Owen actually delivers the child while shooting henchmen, urging the unknown mother to push while empty shell casings fall on her still-heaving stomach.

Despite Davis' assertion, the Looney Toons aspect of the movie needed no additional enhancement, so pervasive is it in every scene we saw. During the 20-plus minutes of screened footage, Owen shoots an oil can, then uses the dripping grease to slide across an entire warehouse floor, shooting bad guys; throws a rope down a stairwell and acrobatically twirls 10 stories, shooting bad guys; breaks his windshield, hits an enemy's truck, flies through both windshields, spins and, yes, shoots bad guys. And oh yeah, he does all of this while holding the baby.

"It seemed to make sense that he needed his eyes to be sharp for shooting," Davis joked about the quirk he gave Mr. Smith. "In the movie, they actually say carrots are good for the eyes. It plays into it."

Psyvariar Delta is an arcade shoot 'em up from the year 2000 and features an intriguing mechanic which rewards you for living dangerously. While you'll still have to avoid incoming projectiles (and there are a lot of them), your strength and score increase the closer you fly to the bullets. This Switch version truly is a comprehensive package that combines all the features from both Medium Unit and Revision, giving the player the chance to customise the experience in a way that has never been possible in prior releases. Add in the graphical upgrade, Tate support (which is perfect for the Flip Grip, by the way), an exclusive level, a new optional character to use and smooth performance either docked or portable, and this becomes a must-have for any Switch-owning shooter fan; however, casual players or those who simply aren't fans of the genre may find the focus on high scores and short length off-putting. Still, it's a fine shooter, and we can but hope the Sega Naomi-powered Psyvariar 2: The Will to Fabricate will eventually receive a similar deluxe treatment in the future.

Dragon Blaze is Japanese developer Psikyo on top form. You might be a little disappointed that this strays so very close to bullet hell instead of the more traditional games that made its name famous in this industry. However, the game remains a beautifully executed vertical-scrolling shoot 'em up with a unique gameplay gimmick that goes beyond having the titular dragons as eye candy, effectively making them a core part of the high score chasing experience. You may be able to clear the whole game loop in under 30 minutes, but we very much doubt you will play it once and never touch it again. It's quite simply brilliant, addictive and another must-have addition to your growing digital arcade Switch collection.

Graceful Explosion Machine is a masterful example of a modern arcade shooter done right. Eye-catching visuals and extremely fine-tuned gameplay combine to make this a memorable and compelling experience for anybody looking to get into a faster paced, action focused game. That being said, there is a minor element of repetitiveness which never goes away entirely; the selling point comes not from the amount of levels, but from how many times you'll be playing each one. We still give it a very strong recommendation, though; considering the amount of polish and replayability on offer, this is quite the bang for your shmup buck. 041b061a72


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