I hate this game so much! 🙂 Phobia is one of the most difficult and unfair side-scrolling shooters ever made, and the surprising thing is: it’s a Tony Crowther game. I expected more from such a talented coder…
POD: Proof Of Destruction is another decent bullet hell shooter on the C16, and another game designed and programmed by the prolific Shaun Southern.
Jeff Minter‘s Voidrunner is about as a good as a bullet hell shooter gets on the Commodore 16. It was published alongside Hellgate (as a double pack) by Llamasoft in 1987.
Developed and published by Zeppelin in 1990, Santa’s Christmas Caper is a rarity: it is a Christmas-themed “Bullet Hell” shooter that is actually not too bad.
This 1989 shooter was designed by The Bitmap Brothers but programmed by The Assembly Line – a collaboration that resulted in one of the best-remembered Bitmap Brothers‘ games.
Trevor McFur in the Crescent Galaxy was released for the Atari Jaguar in 1993. It is a side-scrolling, ‘bullet hell’ shooter, and it is awful.
Rotox was published by U.S. Gold in 1990. It is an obscure-but-interesting overhead robot shooter, with flat, polygonal platforms suspended over an infinite drop. Which you must of course avoid falling into.
Your robot stays positioned in the same place on-screen as you move, with the landscape moving around it. This does restrict your view, but it doesn’t seem to hamper the game at all. Some platforms rotate, or move in other patterns, so you have to carefully time your advances to avoid falling off the edge to your doom.
Each large level is divided into nine segments and you have to explore each segment individually, blasting away at pesky enemies, and picking up power-ups and upgrades as you go. At first the segments are all visibly connected and you can attempt each one at your leisure, but later levels restrict access to some segments and force you to attempt them in a certain order, which makes the game more challenging. The platform configurations become quite complex from the second level onwards, and by the third level you’ll have to deal with crazily-animated platforms to stay in the game.
Rotox is challenging and reasonably fun for a while. It’s not a patch on something like the overhead sections in Contra on the SNES, which are very similar to this in gameplay terms, but it is a decent ‘hidden gem’ on the humble ST nonetheless.
Rotox was also released for the Amiga and PC DOS.
Final note: I read a review of this online that said the name Rotox came from the use of ‘rotoscoping’ in the game, which is complete and utter BS. There is no rotoscoping in this game. None. Whatsoever. The name Rotox – and I’m taking an educated guess here – actually comes from the rotating control method in the game. Not rotoscoping.
More: Rotox on Moby Games