Tag Archives: Bullet Hell

Phobia, Commodore 64

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…

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Fernandez Must Die, Commodore 64

Tony Crowther‘s 1988 tribute to Commando and Ikari Warriors, Fernandez Must Die is a scrolling shooter with military overtones.

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POD: Proof of Destruction, Commodore 16/Plus4

POD: Proof Of Destruction is another decent bullet hell shooter on the C16, and another game designed and programmed by the prolific Shaun Southern.

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Santa’s Christmas Caper, Commodore 64

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.

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H.A.T.E., ZX Spectrum

Costa Panayi‘s final game on the ZX Spectrum was published by Gremlin Graphics in 1989. It is an isometric shoot ’em up in the mould of Zaxxon, and it is technically very impressive.

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Millipede, Arcade

Millipede is a direct sequel to Atari‘s Centipede and was first distributed into video game arcades in 1982.

It’s basically the same trackball-controlled gameplay as before, but with a few changes and enhancements.

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Xenon 2 Megablast, Amiga

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.

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Trevor McFur in the Crescent Galaxy, Atari Jaguar

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.

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Rotox, Atari ST

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 Rotoxand I’m taking an educated guess here – actually comes from the rotating control method in the game. Not rotoscoping.

More: Rotox on Moby Games