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Ok, to kick off my shooter playing, I'm going to start with the rather nice Parsec47. A somewhat minimal yet addictive shooter by Kenta Cho, who's created quite a few good freeware games (and I'll be doing at least one more of his games later).

Parsec47 is pretty by-the-numbers at first glance - you've got a relativly small 'ship' and a constant stream of enemies and bullets appearing at you from the top of the screen. Fight your way though and after a while you'll come across a boss enemy, then wash, rinse and repeat. The whole thing is very polished though, not only with the abstract vector graphics but there's a good variety of enemy bullet types and patterns to dodge, all gradually introduced as you progress. Bosses don't actually move much, but spit out interesting patterns of bullets, and theres always a constant supply of bonus points scattered across the screen when you've killed a few enemies. Bullets themselves tend to be rather nippy (especially on later levels) so the screen isn't nearly as full as you might expect from a japanease shooter.

Weapons for yourself are minimal, you've only got a basic spread shot and a choice of either homing missiles or a super shot you have to charge up. One handy feature is that this secondary fire will slow your ship down, allowing you greater precision to dodge though tight gaps or release it for a frantic dash for freedom. Surprisingly though theres no sort of smart bomb or other 'panic button'. Your own bullets move blindingly fast, so it's a good thing they're rather blured and don't distract from what you're trying to dodge.

It's not exactly a complex game, but theres lots of fun to be had. Later waves and difficultly become insanely fast - this is most definatly a shooter where you're relying on fast reactions rather than careful memorisation. Definatly recommended. [grin]
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